Environmental Working Group today welcomed the introduction of legislation to block the use of gasoline containing 15 percent corn ethanol by U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and David Vitter (R-La.), calling it a good first step in addressing concerns about the broader use of higher ethanol blends.
Currently most gasoline contains no more than 10 percent corn ethanol, but the Environmental Protection Agency decided last year to permit the use of the higher blend, known as E15, in cars and trucks made since 2001.
E15 has been found to cause engine damage in tests conducted by the U.S. Department of Energy and manufacturers of boats and cars. Chrysler, Toyota and other auto makers have that said that their warranties will not cover E15-related claims, and others warn that E15 does not meet the fuel requirements detailed in their owners’ manuals.
The American Automobile Association has called on EPA to suspend the sale of E15 due to the likelihood of confusion at the pump and costly vehicle damage. In July 2009, the U.S. Coast Guard told the EPA that it, too, opposed the introduction of E15, citing possible safety risks to recreational boaters.
“E15 is a consumer nightmare waiting to happen,” said EWG Vice President of Government Affairs Scott Faber. “If every major carmaker, AAA and the Coast Guard are all saying the same thing, it’s time for Congress to take notice.”