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RFA Applauds Administration for Recalling Fuel Economy Rules, Allowing for a More Comprehensive Approach

WASHINGTON—In response to the Trump administration’s decision today recalling EPA’s federal fuel economy and emissions rules, and allowing for a data-driven review of the 2022-2025 standards, Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen had the following statement:

“Today’s actions allow the opportunity for EPA to slow down, remove politics from the process, and take a more comprehensive approach to fuel economy standards. In 2012, EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration promulgated final regulations establishing the CAFE and GHG standards for 2017-2025. Included in the final rule was a requirement that the agencies conduct a midterm evaluation (MTE) for the 2022-2025 standards and determine whether the standards established in 2012 were still appropriate in light of the latest available data. The RFA filed extensive comments focused on the role of fuels in enabling more efficient vehicle technologies. By rushing through a cursory review to finalize a rule before the transition, the agency clearly did not fully consider our comments, or the comments of other stakeholders.

“In its MTE, EPA correctly identified technologies that will effectively improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. But they failed to appropriately consider the fuels that will enable those technologies. High octane, low carbon fuels can play a significant role in helping to meet fuel economy targets in the future. That is an omission that must be addressed moving forward if future vehicles can in fact help us address climate change without backsliding on other critical air quality and public health priorities. We look forward to this opportunity, giving EPA a second chance to conduct a more thorough review of fuel economy rules, vehicle technologies, and the fuels that will be necessary to assure success.”

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New RFA Brochure Outlines 2017 Flex Fuel Vehicle (FFV) Offerings

WASHINGTON — More than 21 million automobiles on U.S. roadways today are flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which can run on fuel blends containing up to 85 percent ethanol (E85). Is your vehicle one of them? Finding out is easy, thanks to a new brochure released today by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). The brochure compiles all of the FFV models available in the current model year (MY2017), as well as previous model years going back as far as MY1999. The RFA brochure lists only those FFV models that are available for purchase by both individual consumers and fleet managers, a key difference from other lists that do not distinguish what models are actually available to consumers.

For MY2017, General Motors leads the pack with 17 FFV model offerings, followed by Ford/Lincoln/Mercury with 12 FFV models available and Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep with nine. Toyota offers two FFV models for MY2017, while Audi and Mercedes-Benz each offer three MY2017 FFVs. All the data used in the brochure was collected directly from the automakers.

“There are more than 3,600 retail stations across the country offering higher ethanol blends. This brochure can help consumers who want to take advantage of higher level ethanol blends in their vehicles, and for retailers to educate their customers about the capabilities of their vehicles,” said RFA Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White. “Ethanol is the cleanest, most affordable, highest octane fuel source on the planet today. Now consumers don’t have to wonder if they can use higher-octane flexible fuels like E20, E30 or E85; they have an easy-to-use guide that makes it clear.”

In addition, every vehicle on the road today is approved to use at least 10 percent ethanol blends (E10), and those built since 2001 are legally approved to use 15 percent blends (E15).

To view a copy of the FFV brochure, click here.

For more information on pricing and availability of E85, other flex fuels, and E15, visit www.E85prices.com.

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RFA Analysis: Automakers Approve E15 in More than 80% of New 2017 Vehicles

WASHINGTON — More than 80 percent of new 2017 model year (MY) vehicles are explicitly approved by the manufacturer to use 15 percent ethanol blends (E15), according to an analysis of warranty statements and owner’s manuals conducted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). That is up from last year, when approximately 70 percent of MY2016 vehicles were approved by automakers for the use of E15.

For the first time, Hyundai Motor Company has approved the use of E15 in MY 2017 Hyundai and Kia vehicles, joining the majority of its auto competitors. Together, Hyundai and Kia represent slightly more than 8 percent of the U.S. light-duty automobile market.

In 2012, EPA approved the use of E15 in vehicles built in MY 2001 or later. However, auto manufacturers did not retroactively endorse the use of E15 in legacy vehicles that were already on the road.

Other key points from RFA’s analysis include:

  • The Detroit Three (Chrysler, General Motors and Ford), which collectively represent 45 percent of U.S. market share, all clearly allow E15 in their vehicles. GM started approving the use of E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined the following year and Chrysler began E15 approval with its MY 2016 vehicles.
  • Other automakers explicitly offering E15 approval for MY 2017 vehicles include Honda, Toyota, Volkswagen Group, and Tata Motors (maker of Land Rover and Jaguar). Altogether, auto manufacturers with approximately 81 percent of the U.S. market share now approve the use of E15 in their MY 2017 vehicles.
  • With 9 percent of the U.S. market share, Nissan Motor Corporation remains the largest vehicle manufacturer that does not explicitly approve E15 in its vehicles. Despite announcing earlier this year that it is developing a vehicle powered by an ethanol fuel cell, the automaker only approves the use of E10 in its vehicles. Curiously, Nissan approves the use of gasoline containing up to 15 percent MTBE, a toxic additive that is banned in more than two dozen states.
  • Mazda, Subaru and The Daimler Group (maker of Mercedes-Benz) also continue to exclude E15 from fuel approvals and warranty statements. Together, these three manufacturers own about 7.5 percent of the U.S. market share.
  • Of note, BMW Group’s Mini vehicles again allow the use of 25 percent ethanol blends. The manufacturer states, “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25 percent, i.e., E10 or E25, may be used for refueling.”
  • While neither automaker approves the use of E15, both Mercedes-Benz and Nissan produce some flex fuel vehicle models that are capable of operating on up to 85 percent ethanol blends (E85).

RFA estimates that approximately 25–30 percent of the 230 million vehicles on the road today are clearly approved by the automaker to use E15. Meanwhile, roughly 90 percent of vehicles on the road were built in 2001 or later, meaning they are legally approved by EPA to use E15.

“This analysis demonstrates that automaker acceptance and approval of E15 continues to expand rapidly,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “More than four out of every five new vehicles carries the manufacturer’s explicit endorsement of E15, putting to rest the myth propagated by the American Petroleum Institute that automakers don’t allow or warranty the use of this lower-cost, higher-octane fuel blend. We applaud Hyundai for joining the ‘E15 Club’ with its model year 2017 vehicles, and we’re thrilled to see Mini going above and beyond to offer E25-compatible vehicles. At the same time, we encourage Nissan, Mazda, Subaru and Daimler to get with the times and offer their customers greater freedom and flexibility when it comes to making a fuel choice at the pump.”

E15 is sold today at nearly 400 retail stations in 28 states, including major chains such as Sheetz, Thorntons, RaceTrac, Kum & Go and Murphy USA.

The RFA analysis can be found here.

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High Octane, Low Carbon Fuels Can Play Role in Compliance with Fuel Economy and GHG Standards, RFA Says

WASHINGTON — High octane, low carbon (HOLC) fuels can play an important role in helping automakers comply with increasingly stringent fuel economy (CAFE) and greenhouse gas emission standards in the 2022–2025 timeframe, according to comments submitted Monday to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). In order to realize the benefits of HOLC fuels, however, EPA and NHTSA must ensure CAFE and GHG regulations treat fuels and engines as integrated systems, the RFA said.

“This is an important process because it will determine the path forward for future energy efficiency and environmental goals,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “EPA has correctly identified technologies that will effectively improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases. But the agency has failed to appropriately consider the fuels that will enable those technologies. That is an omission that must be addressed moving forward if future vehicles can in fact help us address climate change without backsliding on other critical air quality and public health priorities. We look forward to working with EPA and NHTSA as this process continues,” he added.

In 2012, EPA and NHTSA promulgated final regulations establishing the CAFE and GHG standards for 2017–2025. Included in the final rule was a requirement that the agencies conduct a “midterm evaluation” for the 2022–2025 standards and determine whether the standards established in 2012 are still appropriate in light of the latest available data. The first step in the process was the release this past July of the draft Technical Assessment Report (TAR) for public comment. RFA reviewed the TAR and commissioned a technical analysis by engineering and technical consultancy Ricardo, Inc.

According to RFA and Ricardo, many of the advanced internal combustion technologies examined by the two agencies would experience increased fuel efficiency and generate fewer emissions if operating on fuels with higher octane ratings than today’s regular grade gasoline, which has an octane rating of 87 (anti-knock index). According to the Ricardo analysis, “It is clear that implementing a high octane fuel standard would provide opportunity for increased engine efficiency and hence reduced greenhouse gases, and doing so by blending with ethanol provides an even greater benefit due to ethanol’s high heat of vaporization combined with the inherently low carbon footprint of ethanol. Many of the technologies discussed in the Draft TAR, including ones with the highest expected penetration rates, could produce greater GHG and fuel economy benefits if paired with fuels offering higher octane ratings and an inherently higher charge cooling characteristic.”

Meanwhile, automotive engineers and executives, Department of Energy researchers, the National Research Council and academia have also called for the introduction of high octane low-carbon fuels in an effort to increase fuel economy and decrease greenhouse gas emissions.

Additionally, growth in turbocharging has already resulted in an increased demand for higher-octane fuels. According to recent analysis from the Energy Information Administration, more stringent fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards caused automakers to increase the market penetration of turbocharging from 3.3 percent in 2009 to 17.6 percent in 2014. The surge in turbocharging was accompanied by an increase in the demand for high octane premium gasoline, according to EIA. In fact, premium gasoline sales rose from 7.8 percent of total gasoline sales in June 2008 to 11.3 percent of total gasoline sales by September 2015.

RFA outlined a handful of recommendations to the agencies:

  • EPA and NHTSA should treat engines and fuels as integrated systems during the midterm evaluation process and beyond;
  • As a sensitivity case to the central compliance demonstrations, the agencies should assess the fuel economy and emissions impacts associated with using HOLC fuels in advanced IC engines with high compression ratios;
  • A comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of various CAFE/GHG compliance pathways including both engine and fuel technologies should be conducted. Such analysis should include a pathway for HOLC fuels in advanced IC engines;
  • EPA and NHTSA should ensure the Proposed Determination fully accounts for the Co-Optima initiative’s recommendations for “candidate fuels” that best enable advanced IC engine technologies and maximize their efficiency; and
  • The agencies should “heed the call” for HOLC fuels. EPA and NHTSA should use the MTE process to establish the roadmap to broad commercial introduction of HOLC fuels in advanced IC engines beginning in 2025.

View RFA’s formal comments here and the Ricardo, Inc., analysis here.

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EPA Should Take Note of New DOE High Octane Fuels Research

For the past several years, the Department of Energy (DOE) has been quietly researching the benefits of ethanol-based High Octane Fuels (HOF), such as E25, E30 and E40. Now, some of DOE’s findings are ready for prime time.

In a recent paper, (“Summary of High-Octane, Mid-Level Ethanol Blends Study”), scientists from DOE’s Oak Ridge, Argonne and the National Renewable Energy Laboratories reviewed the exciting results of their HOF research to date. DOE’s work on HOFs has been comprehensive, and includes topics ranging from marketplace barriers to HOF adoption to fuel efficiency and GHG benefits to economic considerations. Overall, the research found that development of ethanol-based HOFs and co-optimized spark ignition engines would be beneficial to the economy and environment of the United States.

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently evaluating the feasibility and cost of future vehicle fuel economy and GHG emission standards, this report makes a strong case that HOFs should play a central role in fueling our future automobiles.

Key points from the DOE report are summarized below.

Knock Resistance of Ethanol-Gasoline Blends

The study confirmed that Mid-Level Ethanol Blends (MLEB) such as E25 or E30 are beneficial to high efficiency vehicles in several ways. (Vehicles with small, boosted, direct injection engines built with high compression ratios.)

First, ethanol can be used to produce high octane fuels: adding 15% more ethanol to an E10 blend with 87 octane can produce an E25 HOF that is suitable for use in a high efficiency engine.

Second, ethanol has a high heat of vaporization compared to petroleum fuels, which provides further knock resistance that is not measured in the traditional octane tests. A MLEB HOF inherently provides more knock resistance than an E0 fuel of the same octane, and automakers can calibrate their vehicles to take advantage of this additional knock resistance.

Third, and very importantly, an E25 HOF reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 4%, and an E40 HOF reduce greenhouse gases by 9% over an E10 HOF fuel.

Effect of HOF in Legacy Vehicles

Existing FFV vehicles were tested with E30 HOF, and a significant improvement in vehicle performance was noted.

Additional experiments were conducted with a non-FFV 2014 Ford Fiesta equipped with a small, turbocharged direct-injection engine. The vehicle underwent fuel economy testing with an E0 90.7 octane fuel, and an E15 splash blended with that same fuel, resulting in a 97.8 octane fuel. The fuel efficiency was higher for the E15 fuel, significantly exceeding the fuel economy expected based on the fuel energy content. In the highest speed and load test, the engine had a 4.6% improvement in thermal efficiency when using E15, resulting in a nearly equivalent volumetric fuel economy to the E0. This vehicle would see even greater fuel economy improvements with an ethanol-based HOF in the range of 100 octane! The bottom line is that ethanol-based HOFs can achieve the same or better fuel economy in optimized engines as an E0 or E10 fuel in conventional engines.

Market Analysis

The DOE also examined market forces encouraging and opposing the introduction of ethanol-based HOFs.

Specifically, the agency found that regulatory acceptance and support of HOF is necessary to foster broad adoption. RFS2 levels should increase in a predictable fashion so that expected ethanol volumes and RIN prices are understood in the marketplace. Further, fuel economy and greenhouse gas regulations should properly incentivize the production and co-optimization of new cleaner fuels and vehicles.

The success of the HOF is also dependent on the acceptance of the HOF by key stakeholder groups. The groups identified in the study are fuel producers, distributors, retailers, automakers and consumers. The DOE studies show that HOF will be cost competitive with other fuels in the marketplace, especially as cellulosic ethanol production from corn stover reaches broad commercial scale. The study further suggested that incentive and grant programs to upgrade infrastructure will be needed, and should be provided through state and local governments.

Conclusion

The DOE laboratories concluded that ethanol-based HOF will be beneficial to American consumers. HOFs will allow substantial increases in vehicle fuel economy and substantial decreases in greenhouse gas emissions, while requiring only modest upgrades to existing fuel infrastructure. Multiple stakeholders stand to benefit from the development of the HOF and the high efficiency vehicles.

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Ford’s “Fuel of the Future” Still Powering America Forward

This month marks the 120th anniversary of an automotive milestone: Henry Ford’s test drive of his first vehicle, the Quadricycle. The 20-mile-an-hour Quadricycle, which was literally built using two sets of bicycle wheels, would launch the career of an industrial pioneer and push the world into a new era for transportation. The 32-year-old engineer had single-handedly revolutionized the “horseless carriage” with his experiment that ran on an unenviably-small three gallons of … ethanol. Ford was a staunch supporter of using fuel ethanol, which he called the “fuel of the future,” in part because of its effect on engine performance. From the Model T to the Mustang, the performance of these machines’ engines came down to the quality of fuel — or more specifically, octane.

Today, ethanol is the cleanest and cheapest source of octane on the planet. The benefits of ethanol have long been apparent to gasoline blenders and it’s not hard to see why. To describe ethanol as the most multifaceted fuel source in America may seem like embellishment in a 2016 world where sensationalism has become the norm, but for a fuel that dates back to Ford’s days, the liquid that chemists better describe as EtOH truly is amazing when you examine its versatility.

The ethanol industry has grown from a niche sector of the fuel market to become a ubiquitous component of the motor fuel market available at nearly every gas station in the country. With an octane rating of 113, ethanol provides more knock resistance per dollar than any other additive. Ethanol’s benefits aren’t just being felt here in the United States; international markets are also starting to recognize ethanol’s ability to upgrade gasoline octane ratings, which in Europe, for example, are much higher due to their more stringent fuel economy standards. Ethanol increases octane in a much cleaner way than more harmful petroleum-derived octane such as toluene and benzene. Moreover, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 34 percent compared to gasoline, and as a renewable source, ethanol is in the best position to meet the needs of high-octane engines without harming the environment.

Consumers unfamiliar with ethanol will find that they get real bang for their buck. Those that are familiar know that the fuel blend is providing a clean, energy-efficient source of octane for their engine for a low cost at the pump. The Renewable Fuels Foundation and MathPro Inc. intend to educate those still unacquainted with ethanol and octane with a series of webinars this summer. The first session, “All About Octane,” is set to be held on Wednesday.

If the founder of one of Detroit’s Big Three can build his empire upon the earliest of early flex-fuel vehicles running on ethanol, it might be worth taking a second look at what we put in our own tank.

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Renewable Fuels Foundation, MathPro Hosting Webinar Series on Ethanol’s Octane Benefits

WASHINGTON — The Renewable Fuels Foundation, the education and research arm of the Renewable Fuels Association, has teamed up with fuel refining experts at MathPro Inc. to sponsor a five-part webinar series on ethanol’s unique octane properties and its potential role as the octane source of choice in future fuels.

The webinar series, which begins next month, comes as automakers continue to push for higher octane fuels to enable greater engine efficiency and facilitate compliance with future fuel economy and greenhouse gas standards.

  • Webinar #1: “All About Octane” – June 15 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #2: “Gasoline Refining and Blending 101” – July 7 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #3: “Gasoline Blending 102 (with Ethanol)” – July 28 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #4: “Future CAFE Standards” – Aug. 18 (11am-12pm CDT)
  • Webinar #5:“Economics of High Octane Fuels” – Sept. 8 (11am-12pm CDT)

“Guided by the experts at MathPro, these webinars will provide stakeholders with a better understanding of ethanol’s important role in the fuel supply today, as well as the immense opportunities and challenges that lie ahead for ethanol-based high octane fuels,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “As automakers continue to pursue higher octane fuels, ethanol is well positioned to serve as the lowest-cost, lowest-carbon and cleanest octane source on the market. But there are a number of obstacles that must be overcome in order to solidify an expanded role for ethanol in our future fuels.”

Additional details on the webinars are available here. The webinars are offered to RFA members at no charge. The fee for non-members is $250 per session or $1,000 for all five webinars. To reserve your spot, please contact Missy Ruff at mruff@ethanolrfa.org or 202-446-1944.

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Renewable Fuels Association Welcomes Auto Industry Vet Tracey King to Staff

WASHINGTON — Auto industry veteran Tracey King has joined the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) as the organization’s new Technical Director. King will serve as the RFA’s top liaison to the automakers, and will focus on forging the path to future high octane fuels and optimized spark ignition engines.

King spent 17 years with Chrysler, where she primarily focused on technical issues surrounding fuels and lubricants. Previously, she worked in research and development at both Nissan and General Motors. Most recently, King worked for Haltermann Solutions, a manufacturer of test and reference fuels. She also has extensive experience with ASTM and other standards developing organizations.

“Tracey brings an unrivaled wealth of knowledge and experience to the RFA,” said Bob Dinneen, RFA President and CEO. “Tracey’s background in the automotive industry and experience in developing certification fuels position her well to help chart the course toward an ethanol-based high octane fuel that will improve engine efficiency and reduce emissions. We are thrilled to welcome Tracey to the RFA team.”

King, who holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University, will be based in Detroit and will be part of RFA’s research and technical team.

“I am excited to join the RFA staff and look forward to working closely with the membership, automakers, regulators, and other stakeholders to help define the future for ethanol and optimized engines,” King said. “RFA has always been viewed as an effective science-based advocate for ethanol, and I am eager to contribute to the advancement of the organization’s technical objectives.”

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Raise Your Voice or Lose Your Choice: RFA Launches #FlexMyChoice FFV Awareness Campaign

NEW ORLEANS — Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) President and CEO Bob Dinneen announced today at the National Ethanol Conference (NEC) the launch of the “Flex My Choice” campaign, which is designed to voice consumer support for flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). This effort is aimed directly at automakers, auto dealerships, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Dinneen said the time is ripe for such a campaign because, as the government phases out CAFE credits for producing FFVs, automakers have begun to limit the total number of FFV models that roll off their assembly lines.

“The auto companies claim there has not been meaningful consumer demand for these vehicles and the incremental cost, albeit trivial, cannot be justified in the absence of a more balanced CAFE regime,” said Dinneen. “The ethanol industry needs to demonstrate the continued enthusiasm for FFVs. We want to raise our voices so that E85 and other mid-level ethanol fuels remain viable options for consumers.”

As part of the campaign, RFA intends to distribute 75,000 postcard pamphlets to targeted parties across the country in the hopes of changing the conversation on the future of FFV production. The postcard pamphlets will contain five panels: the first panel is a brief introduction to the issues; panels 2 through 4 are individual postcards to General Motors, Ford Motor Company, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (the “Detroit Three”); and the fifth panel contains a pledge that consumers can drop off at their local auto dealership. Additionally, the campaign launched two petitions on www.Change.org directed at the automakers and the EPA respectively.

FlexMyChoice_Raise Your Voice or Lose Your Choice

“It goes without saying that when consumers’ choices within a given market are limited, everyone loses,” said Robert White, RFA’s vice president of industry relations. “The ‘Flex My Choice’ campaign intends to ensure that consumers have choices when it comes to buying and fueling their vehicles. Thanks to USDA, the ethanol industry, and agriculture, 2016 will mark the largest expansion of E85 stations in history; it is not the time to stop the momentum. This campaign will send a clear signal to the automakers, their auto dealerships, and the EPA that there is a real demand on the part of consumers for more vehicle choices, more choices at the pump and increased access to higher ethanol blends.”

For postcard pamphlets and additional information, go to www.FlexMyChoice.com. Consumers are encouraged to amplify their support for FFVs on social media using the hashtag #FlexMyChoice.

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RFA Analysis Shows Uptick in Number of Automakers Who Have Approved E15 for Use in New Vehicles

WASHINGTON — An analysis of 2016 model year (MY)  warranty statements and owner’s manuals conducted by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) shows that auto manufacturers explicitly approve E15 (15 percent ethanol 85 percent gasoline) use in more than 70 percent of new vehicles. This is up from 2015, when just over 60 percent of MY 2015 automobiles were clearly approved for E15.

RFA’s analysis shows that, for the first time, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA Group) has approved the use of E15 in its MY 2016 Chrysler/Fiat, Jeep, Dodge, and Ram vehicles. FCA’s decision means it joins the other members of the “Detroit Three” (General Motors and Ford) in unequivocally allowing E15. Other key points from RFA’s analysis include:

  • GM started approving the use of E15 with its MY 2012 vehicles, while Ford joined a year later with its MY 2013 vehicles.
  • More than 45 percent of the vehicles sold in the United States this year have been produced by the Detroit Three, according to industry data.
  • Other automakers offering explicit approval of E15 in MY 2016 vehicles include Toyota/Lexus, Audi/Porsche/Volkswagen, Honda/Acura, Jaguar, and Land Rover. Together with the Detroit Three, these manufactures have produced approximately 72 percent of the vehicles sold in 2015.
  • When flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) produced by Nissan and Mercedes-Benz are included, RFA estimates the percentage of MY 2016 automobiles explicitly approved by manufacturers to use E15 is even larger (FFVs are approved to use up to 85 percent ethanol blends).
  • With a U.S. market share of 8.5 percent, Nissan Motor Company is the largest “hold-out” when it comes to approving the use of E15 in its vehicles. Nissan even goes as far as suggesting that “E-15 fuel will adversely affect the emission control devices and systems of the vehicle,” which raises questions about why Nissan is not able to provide the same quality of technology as automakers approving the use of E15. Curiously, Nissan also warns drivers that oxygenates like ethanol “can cause paint damage.”
  • Hyundai, Kia, and Subaru also continue to exclude E15 from their fuel recommendations. Together, these three foreign automakers account for about 11 percent of U.S. auto sales. While Subaru recommends that gasoline used in its vehicles contain “no more than 10% ethanol,” it allows the use of gasoline containing 15% MTBE—a toxic substance banned in dozens of states because of groundwater pollution concerns.
  • Interestingly, BMW’s MINI Hardtop appears to allow the use of 25% ethanol blends. The manufacturer states, “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 25%, i.e., E10 or E25, may be used for refueling.”

“This analysis should open some eyes and finally lay to rest the ridiculous myth that automakers do not allow the use of E15 in their vehicles,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “In fact, 2016 will be the fifth year in a row in which some auto manufacturers have explicitly included E15 in owners’ manuals and warranty statements as an approved fuel. With each passing year, more and more vehicles sold in the U.S. carry the manufacturer’s unequivocal approval for E15; and with each passing year, the auto warranty misinformation campaign undertaken by AAA and Big Oil fades further into irrelevance.”

Dinneen also noted the utter hypocrisy of statements made by AAA and the oil industry that using E15 may void auto warranties. “Ironically, not a single automaker approves the use of 85 octane gasoline, and the Department of Energy (DOE) warns that using such fuel may void warranties,” he said. “Yet, 85 octane gasoline continues to be sold all across the Rocky Mountain region and refiners are fighting tooth and nail to keep this inferior gasoline in the marketplace.”

While automakers began approving the use of E15 in their vehicles in 2012, approximately 6 million miles’ worth of testing by DOE and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shows that the use of E15 is safe in all vehicles built since 2001. E15 waivers issued by EPA in 2010 and 2011 effectively approve  the use of E15 in all vehicles built since 2001; this means more than 85 percent of the total current U.S. vehicle fleet can safely and legally run on E15.

The RFA analysis can be found here.

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