December 6, 2012

“EPA’s engine destroying gas may be coming soon”

So help them, they will have us herded into controlled urban centers if it’s the last thing they do.

After all, how else can they keep the riff raff off the prime, secluded real estate?


E15 is a blend of regular gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol.  The pumps are recognized by their black and orange labels.

And that label is not something you want to ignore.

In an effort to curb U.S. dependency on gasoline and oil — foreign and domestic — the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the use of E15 gasoline for vehicle models 2001 and newer.

However controversy surrounds this new blend and whether or not it is safe for your vehicle.

Many automobile companies as well as the American Automobile Association (AAA) warn against the use of this fuel blend for anything but Flexible Fuel Vehicles, 2012 and newer General Motors vehicles, 2013 Fords and 2001 and later model Porsches.

A USA Today article quoted AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet explaining, “It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle.”

He went onto say that, “BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and VW have said their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by E15. Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have said E15 use will void warranties.”

The reasons: potential corrosive damage to fuel lines, gaskets and other engine components.

Nonetheless, the EPA along with a host of ethanol and renewable energy backers say E15 is perfectly safe for your vehicle.

In a CNBC video, Renewable Fuels Association CEO Bob Dinneen said E15 is “absolutely safe” to put in cars.

Taking these competing views into consideration, if you have a vehicle model year 2001 and newer, is the E15 blend a wise choice for you?

A study done the by Coordinating Research Council (CRC) investigated the effects of E20, E15 and E0 ethanol blends on several non-Flexible Fuel Vehicles in use today.  The study concluded that “out of eight different tested engine types, one had a design that was (in retrospect) inappropriate for the test cycle, two failed on E20 and E15, and five passed on E20 and by assumption E15 and E0.”

Therefore, two popular gasoline engines used in vehicle model years 2001 through 2009 had mechanical failures when tested with E15 and E20 blends.  The study also concluded that the “majority of the failures can be linked to issues with valve seats, either related to material or wear/deformation.”

Even more alarming, according to an AAA survey of its members, 95 percent of them don’t know what E15 is or the possible effects it could have on their vehicle.  AAA is asking the EPA to hold off implementing this new blend until more testing can be done and more education given to vehicle owners.


However, there is a push out of D.C. to get these operators to start installing these pumps.  The 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act mandates that 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels be used by 2022.

Last year, about 13.9 billion gallons of ethanol were produced; well on the way to the target number of 36 billion gallons.  For comparison, in 2011, the U.S. consumed about 134 billion gallons of gasoline.  Already, about 10 percent of our gasoline contains ethanol.

Though this is celebrated by renewable energy supporters, ethanol producers and this current administration, this push towards ethanol hasn’t come without a price.

This year has been a dry and hot one for the most the U.S., including the Midwest where much of the corn is produced.  The USDA projects a corn crop of 10.8 billion bushels, or a decline of more than 12 percent from last year’s crop of about 12.4 billion bushels.

Of course this drop in corn production increases the price of corn — and other foods as well.

The UK Guardian reports, “The price of corn, the staple crop of much of the Midwest and the prairies, has risen by a third in the past month and rose again on Wednesday after a US government report said farmers would not yield as much from their parched fields as expected. Higher prices are likely to be passed on in the cost of hamburgers and steak and also affect a range of other foods such as corn flakes and bread.”

Is the use of ethanol as gasoline worth increased food prices in this economy?

Likely no, especially if the use of ethanol doesn’t mix well with your car’s engine.

Though E15 is likely to be sold at a lower price, due to subsidies to ethanol producers and to spur consumers to make the switch, there is a case to be made that most cars on the road today simply aren’t ready.

Beware of the orange and black label.

[my emphasis]

This is a postmodern political moment, where everything is run sub rosa and protected by creating the proper optics.  In this case, we retain the appearance of a free market while in fact what we have is an institution of the idea of “nudge” — setting up false markets through subsidies, etc., in order to coerce people into making the “choices” you have stacked the deck in favor of.

Doesn’t matter that it will damage your vehicle or increase the cost of many staple foods.  Because the appearance is of a successful switch to a Green Energy Economy — which keeps the environmentalists happy and increases the reach and power of the EPA, which is the real goal behind all of this.

Learn their methods.  Then use that knowledge to resist them.  The “lower prices” you’ll be paying for potentially damaging fuel aren’t really lower prices at all:  you are subsidizing the market price, creating the appearance of a lower-priced product, while the burden for that subsidy gets spread to other parts of the economy.  The ones where the left’s enemies try to flourish, unsurprisingly.


Posted by Jeff G. @ 10:49am

Comments (7)

  1. E15 is also 30% more wasteful — it burns cooler, making less energy product. Every gallon of the stuff is the equal of about 2/3 of a gallon of gas.

    Hotrodders running turbos love it for the detonation resistance, provided they can E15-proof the entire fuel system and retune their fuel maps.

    In other words, this is not a small thing.

  2. The two gas stations nearest The Freehold both advertise ethanol-free gas — on one pump. Haven’t looked at the prices yet.

  3. I’m really sympathetic to the distributist idea of smaller communities, enterprises and freeholders. But I don’t want it imposed from above.

    And it seems someone wants to impose a hellishly distorted, “progressive” version of that: the city as managed housing project. Without those irritating rural types one has to drive great distances to properly adminster.

    Energy means mobility. Mobility means liberty. Choke off the first, and you eventually will throttle the third. There is a term for one who is bound to the land, and that term is “serf.” Apparently there’s a good deal of nostalgia for that system.

  4. Apparently there’s a good deal of nostalgia for that system.

    I saw evidence of that nostalgia in Das Kapital.

  5. All this ethanol production is also driving up the price of bourbon!

    That’s the final straw for me.

    Perhaps it’s time for another Whiskey Rebellion???

  6. The ethanol industry is pushing for E30. Amongst other things. Right now they want to convince retailers to install blender pumps, so they can cover everything. They’re even trying to get their subsidy oil company financed transfer payment passed on to retailers to offset the costs of switching over.

    Don’t ask me how I know this.

  7. I saw evidence of that nostalgia in Das Kapital.

    The book, or the Beltway?