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E15 can damage vehicles, should not be sold, AAA says

Winter Park, Fla. (Photo by Todd DeFeo / (c) 2012)

The sale of E15 fuel should be suspended because consumers are not knowledgeable about the fuel, AAA said Friday.

Most people (95 percent) do not know about E15, AAA found in a survey. As a result, the national organization wants the sale of the fuel halted until people learn more about E15.

E15 gas is made with up to 15 percent ethanol, but it is not compatible with older vehicles. Putting the gas in vehicles that aren’t designed for E15 use can result in damage that isn't covered by many manufacturers' warranties, according to AAA.

“It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle,” AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet said in a statement. “Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.

“The sale and use of E15 should be suspended until additional gas pump labeling and consumer education efforts are implemented to mitigate problems for motorists and their vehicles,” continued Darbelnet. “Consumers should carefully read pump labels and know their auto manufacturer’s recommendations to help prevent any problems from E15.”

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) earlier this year approved the sale of E15, but only a handful of stations nationwide apparently sell the fuel. However, most of the gas sold in the country contains up to 10 percent ethanol.

The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) dismissed AAA’s position, saying the automobile organization is protecting “Big Oil’s” interests.

“AAA’s antipathy toward ethanol is well known and tired,” Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the RFA said in a statement. “But when put in contrast to gasoline quality issues AAA continues to ignore, one has to wonder whose interest they’re truly trying to protect, consumers or oil companies? For years, refiners in vast swaths of the country have sold sub-87 octane fuel, which no auto company warranties today. Where’s AAA’s outrage and concern about that?”

Added Dinneen: “American consumers are looking for a choice when it comes to fueling their vehicles, and they now have one more domestic, renewable fuel option with E15. Ethanol has helped reduce our nation’s dependence on foreign oil by 45 percent in 2011 and is supporting more than 400,000 jobs across the country that can’t be outsourced.”

Todd DeFeo
About Todd DeFeo (879 Articles)
Todd DeFeo loves to travel anywhere, anytime, taking pictures and notes. An award-winning reporter, Todd revels in the experience and the fact that every place has a story to tell. He is also editor of Railfanning.org.
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