WASHINGTON (Oct. 14, 2010)—Gasoline marketers may now sell fuel containing up to 15-percent ethanol to cars and light trucks from model year 2007 or newer, according to a waiver granted today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The EPA decided to grant the waiver to E15 for newer-model vehicles after reviewing testing data from the U.S. Department of Energy and other sources on the effects of E15 on engine durability and emissions, said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson in a press release.
“Whenever sound science and the law support steps to allow more home-grown fuels in America's vehicles, this administration takes those steps,” Ms. Jackson said. However, the agency won't decide on whether E15 should be allowed in vehicles from model years 2001 to 2006 until after November, when the results of further DOE testing are available, she said. The EPA has no plans this year to allow E15's use in earlier cars, because information is not available on how E15 affects vehicles from model year 2000 or earlier, she said.
Since 1979, the EPA has allowed the use of gasoline with up to 10-percent ethanol in all conventional cars, light trucks and off-road vehicles. Groups such as the Specialty Equipment Market Association, however, insist that even now there is insufficient evidence to show that E15 won't harm engines and auto parts. Earlier this year, SEMA urged its members to write President Obama opposing the approval of E15.
In a prepared statement, SEMA said it will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that it does not harm vehicles of any age. Meanwhile, however, the association is pleased that the EPA has acknowledged there is insufficient information on the effects of E15 on vehicles older than MY 2007.
“For older cars, ethanol may help create formic acid, which corrodes metals, plastics and rubber,” SEMA said.