U.S. regulators announced that gasoline mixed with up to 15 percent ethanol is safe to use in vehicles built during the 2001 to 2006 model years. In October 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved so-called E15 gasoline for cars and trucks built during 2007 and later.
The 50 percent ethanol boost in gasoline in trucks and cars built since the 2001 model year would cover more than half the vehicles that are seen on U.S. highways. The move will certainly be welcomed by the ethanol producers and the U.S. farmers who grow the corn used to make it.
However, service station owners are wary that putting higher ethanol blends in older cars could lead to lawsuits if the fuel damages their engines.
Gasoline for other vehicles can hold up to 10 percent ethanol. U.S. law stipulates the amount of ethanol blended into U.S. gasoline to gradually increase from 12 billion gallons in 2010 to 12.6 billion gallons in 2011 and then to 15 billion gallons by 2015.
Another reason service stations are hesitant to offer E15 is because most fuel pumps have not been certified to sell it, and they worry consumers might inadvertently put it into boats’ engines and yard equipment such as chainsaws that are not approved to use it.
As a way to assist customers, the EPA plans to put E15 labels on gasoline pumps so the fuel would not be with other blends. [via reuters]