Congressional Flex Fuel Mandate troubles Auto Industry

Recent pushes in Congress promoting the use of flex-fuel engines has the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers up-in-arms. The Congressional proposal would require 75 percent of new vehicles to be capable of using alternative energy by 2015, and 100 percent by 2020.

The proposal focuses on the use of E85, a mixture consisting of about 85 percent ethanol mixed with 15 percent regular gasoline. The main advantages of E85 is that most conventional gasoline engines can be converted easily to run on ethanol and that corn, the primary source of ethanol in the U.S., is readily available in some parts of the United States.

The auto manufacturers fear that the passing of the bipartisan bill could have unintended negative consequences. Most notably they don’t want to discourage R&D of other alternative fuels or force a technology on the industry that isn’t widely available yet.

Automakers say that the current fueling infrastructure is unable to support the amount of E85 vehicles currently on the market, much-less the amount that this bill would call for in just a handful of years. According to the Alliance of Automotive Manufacturers, less than one percent of all United States fueling stations are now outfitted with E85 pumps.

Source: Automotive News