The PJ Tatler

AAA Goes After EPA for Risky E15 Fuel Blend

The AAA called for the Environmental Protection Agency to pump the brakes on a controversial ethanol blend of gas until there is more extensive testing and better consumer education on the risks of using E15, including known problems such as engine damage and voided warranties.

“A recent survey by AAA finds a strong likelihood of consumer confusion and the potential for voided warranties and vehicle damage as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent approval of E15 gasoline. An overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not heard of E15, a newly approved gasoline blend that contains up to 15 percent ethanol,” the automobile association said in a statement today. “With little consumer knowledge about E15 and less than five percent of cars on the road approved by automakers to use the fuel, AAA is urging regulators and the industry to stop the sale of E15 until motorists are better protected.”

E15 is better known to many as the gas with a minimum 4-gallon purchase attached, raising protests that the government shouldn’t mandate a minimum fuel purchase.

“Only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today are approved by manufacturers to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey conducted by AAA of auto manufacturers,” the group continued. “AAA automotive engineering experts also have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false ‘check engine’ lights for any vehicle not approved by its manufacturer to use E15.”

A top congressional critic of E15 said AAA’s findings confirm what lawmakers have already heard about the fuel.

“Concerns about E15 are not diminishing, they are increasing. That is telling. When an organization like AAA, a nationally trusted source for motorists, calls out the EPA, you would think the Administration would listen,” said Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.).

“I introduced legislation to do exactly what AAA recommends. My legislation would require the EPA to task the National Academies of Science with conducting an unbiased study of E15,” he added.

That bill passed the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology by a vote of 19-7, and applies to gas blends of more than 10 percent ethanol.