Several weeks ago, the SEMA Action Network (SAN) requested that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suspend its partial waiver to permit the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E15) for model year 2007 and newer vehicles. Instead, the EPA has taken another step in the wrong direction by expanding the waiver to include MY 2001-2006 vehicles. The decision conflicts with President Obama's Executive Order from earlier this week that requires government agencies to balance social and economic costs.
The EPA agrees with SAN that older cars (pre-MY 2001) should not be fueled with E15. The EPA reached its decision based over concern that ethanol's corrosive qualities could harm the vehicle's engine and other metal, plastic and rubber components. The EPA has proposed that a warning label be posted on the gas pump to prevent misfueling. SAN opposes this solution as incomplete given the significant threat of damage that could arise from misfueling. Even for newer vehicles, the label will cause confusion since most owner's manuals instruct the motorist not to use ethanol blends higher than E10 and warranty coverage may be denied for damage caused by misfueling.
SAN will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities.
Please forward this Alert to your fellow car enthusiasts. Urge them to join the SAN and help defend the hobby!