Why Would People Want E15?
Ethanol is about one dollar a gallon cheaper than Gasoline. If the entire savings were passed along at the point of sale, diluting gasoline with 15% Ethanol would make the resulting blend about five cents per gallon cheaper than the E10 blend of regular gas. With its 15 percent ethanol content, studies show that E15 Fuel will reduce gas mileage by only a bit, not enough to erase the benefit of ethanol’s cheaper price. E15 fuel has only recently been certified for sale in this country.
Acceptance or rejection of fuels with higher ethanol content is up to the consumer. If the biofuels industry overcomes concerns about engine damage and demonstrates that increasing ethanol content meaningfully reduces the retail price of motor-vehicle fuel, E15 might catch on.
Wait…what is E15 fuel?
E15 fuel is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. It has been approved by the U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for use in passenger vehicles from the 2001 model year or later, and it’s promoted in many Corn Belt states where ethanol is a big product.
This might seem like a small thing because much of today’s gasoline has 10% ethanol added to it now (E10). People say E15 fuel will help by reducing gas prices even more but there isdebate over whether any savings at the pump would be offset by more frequent fuel system and engine repairs.
The Corrosion Issue
One of the main complaints by E15 opponents is that ethanol will harm many of the metals, rubber and plastic components used in internal-combustion engines and their fuel units. Today’s vehicles have many design years built into them based on E10 gasoline and there are no issues. So the automobile companies and other E15 doubters cite fuel system corrosion as a reason more study is necessary before the fuel is widely released.
There Are Skeptics
To support E15 fuel, its allies presented the EPA with a study that indicates there’s no statistical evidence that the new blend is more harmful to vehicles built after 2000 than is E10. But opponents countered with their own study that says a number of post-2001 engines run on E15 for a substantial amount of time showed serious damage to fuel pumps and other fuel system components due to the fuel’s corrosiveness.
Other Issues in Adopting E15 Fuel
There are concerns that many service stations would either need to abandon one grade of fuel they presently sell in order to make space for a new E15 grade, or add more pumps and underground storage tanks. While it isn’t a deal-breaker for stations just being constructed, that could be an expensive proposition for existing gas stations.
Thank you to the Internet Sales Manager at Newark Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, a full-service car dealer in Newark, DE, for speaking with us about E15 fuel! This dealership gets more and more questions about E15 fuel each day, and they are prepared to answer questions you may have about it!
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