EPA Releases New E15 Label for Late-Model Vehicles

On Tuesday, Environmental Protection Agency approved new labels for gasoline pumps approving the use of E15 in all vehicles made after 2001. E15 is a gasoline/ethanol blend that’s 85 percent gasoline and 15 percent ethanol. Previously, E10 was the highest gas/ethanol blend that was available for use in all cars.

The new orange and black label warns consumers that the gasoline they’re purchasing is an E15 blend that’s only approved for vehicles from 2001 and newer, and flex-fuel vehicles that have the capability of running on E85. The label also warns against E15 use in old vehicles (apparently any non-E85-approved vehicle made prior to 2001), boats and gas-powered equipment like lawnmowers and weed whackers. According to the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which is a trade group that represents General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Volkswagen and six other manufacturers, the EPA’s new E15 label is missing a fairly significant warning.

“We see the final rule fails to require that service station pumps contain a warning label directing consumers to check their owner’s manual to determine the appropriate fuel for specific vehicles,” said Gloria Bergquist, a spokesperson for the alliance to The Detroit News. “This is a significant and unfortunate omission.”

Many automakers oppose the EPA’s ruling to allow E15 to be used in 2001 and newer vehicles and already they have twice challenged it. Automakers have been opposing the EPA’s approval of E15 because they say not all of their vehicles will run properly on the blend and because it potentially can void a vehicles warranty. Also, automakers argue that making an E15 blend available will cause an increase in misfueling, resulting in voided warranties, fuel system damage and additional greenhouse gases. Pro-Ethanol lobbying group Growth Energy argues that E15 is safe in all gasoline-powered vehicles. Currently, E10 is the highest blend that automakers reluctantly approve for use in all vehicles. Currently 10 states, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Washington have mandates that require all gasoline sold in their states be an E10 blend.

According to Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis, the EPA’s approval of the new label is the next step in getting E15 onto the marketplace and reducing American dependence on foreign oil. “This is another step in the process to get E15 into the marketplace later this year,” he told the News. “This will create U.S. jobs, improve the environment and strengthen national security by displacing foreign oil.”

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers hasn’t decided on appealing the label yet.

Source: The Detroit News