Round 2: AAA vs. Renewable Fuels Association

Some of you may be old enough to remember when the lead was removed from gasoline so that only unleaded gas was available. People were worried that by removing the lead, the top end of the engine would not be lubricated as it should be. I personally do not remember if this turned out to be true, however it does sound very like the issue going on now with the E-15 controversy.

AAA has now come out and said that using E-15 gas on cars older than 2012 is bad for them. Vehicles that are approved for flex fuel are safe to use the E-15 but this leaves well over 200 million cars (plus power equipment) that could potentially have issues from the use of E-15. AAA believes that there are not enough safe guards to prevent people from using the wrong fuel. Back when both leaded and unleaded were available, the nozzle sizes were different to prevent using the wrong fuel in the newer cars. And in today’s time, car manufacturers are not going to change the filler size to accommodate this.

In an article in USA Today, AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet tells USA TODAY, “Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”

On the reverse side of the issue, Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), says E15 is safe for virtually all post-2001 vehicles, based on extensive government-sponsored testing. “We think the (EPA) warning label should be sufficient to notify consumers,” Dinneen says. “There are no corrosive issues with E15. If there’s an issue with E15 (damaging vehicles) we’re going to know about it, and the EPA is going to know about it.” (USA Today article)

So the question now is who is right! AAA does not stand to win or lose in the controversy, however, the RFA has a lot to lose if E-15 is put on hold. A 50% increase (E-10 to E-15) in the ethanol content means a lot more money for the ethanol industry.

There have been some small studies done by Mercury Marine and another by the American Petroleum Institute. Both studies show that the higher ethanol content causes damage. Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner agrees with the AAA and wants the EPA to do some “unbiased” testing. To get the unbiased testing, several studies done outside of the EPA by independent researchers must be completed, and then compare the results. If done properly, all of the researchers should come up with the same results.

What do we do in the mean time to protect our equipment from the harmful effects of ethanol? Ethanol Shield with Combustion Cool Technology (CCT) will prevent ethanol issues, corrosion, phase separation, drying, and cracking to name a few, while reducing heat. Even if E-15 is used, Ethanol Shield CCT will protect the system. Oxidation caused from sunlight exposure or heat is also prevented by using Ethanol Shield CCT. If the unit is going to be stored for a while, use the new award winning Gasoline Tank Snake to prevent water build-up. When used with Ethanol Shield CCT, the fuel will have the gold standard of fuel protection.