Newly completed research by the Coordinating Research Council indicates increased ethanol in gasoline could damage the fuel systems in millions of vehicles manufacturing since 2001, the American Petroleum Association said Tuesday. The council is an organization supported by the oil and automotive industries.
Bob Greco, API’s director of downstream and industry operations, said earlier testing showed E15 could harm valve and valve seat engine parts.
“The additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine,” Greco told reporters in a conference call. “Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.”
The American Coalition for Ethanol dismissed the CRC results, maintaining motorists have nothing to fear from ethanol in their fuel.
“This is just another ghost story, told by people who stand to lose market share when consumers finally have access to E15,” said Ron Lamberty, the group’s senior vice president. “We shouldn’t be surprised at Big Oil’s latest attempt to scare consumers — they’ve shown no shame in twisting test results to protect their market share. There is a reason that the oil companies don’t want E15 and it has everything to do with protecting the bottom line and nothing to do with protecting consumers.”
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last year allowed retailers to use a higher blend of ethanol in their gasoline, but E85 is not widely available in Oklahoma.