The Ethanol Papers - Paperturn manuscript - Flipbook - Page 158
In any event, whatever the reason for the story, the headline, as well as the
negative comments about ethanol, are incorrect; that's why my headline states
that the "figurative wall" is a fictional wall.
The essence of the ethanol blend wall argument posed by Big Oil is that with
the decline in gasoline usage in America (due to improved engine MPG and
less driving) that government regulations calling for increased national ethanol
usage can't be safely met. And the reason that the increased national ethanol
usage can't be safely met - according to the oil lobby - is that the only way to
comply with the Federal regulations is to increase the blend level of ethanol in
every gallon of gasoline, which they claim can damage a vehicle's engine.
The claim is, for all practical applications, false. Using this claim to force the
continued reliance on gasoline as our primary engine fuel is a lie. Every vehicle
manufactured for American roads since the mid-1990s can safely use gasolineethanol blends higher than 10% (E10). In fact, they can use blends that are
substantially higher than 10%; they can use blends as high as E85, without
being flex-fuel certified. And since the overwhelming number of gasoline-powered passenger vehicles on the road today were manufactured after the mid1990s, this means that the blend wall issue is a non-issue.
Government tests have proven that E15 fuel is safe for all vehicles manufactured after 2001. Moreover, the government tested E20 and found that there is
no difference in the results. Ricardo Laboratories, the world's most prestigious
private fuel testing lab, concluded that E15 was safe in automobiles manufactured since 1994. Consequently, we can safely accept and use much, much
more ethanol. To read more about the EPA and Ricardo tests read the chapter
titled “Big Oil's Anti-E15 Campaign Filled with Gross Exaggerations and Misinformation” in Section 3 of this book.
Additionally, as I have written on many occasions, I own a 2002 non-flex Ford
Taurus that I run on high ethanol-gasoline blends without any damage being
done to the engine or fuel pump. I have run the car exclusively on E85, although
I typically run it on an E30 to E40 level. The reason I run the car on this average
blend level is that sometimes I am in areas where I can only purchase E10
regular gasoline so that when combined with the E85 already in the tank, it
tends to average out to the E30 to E40 level. When I do fill up at a service
station that offers E85, I "splash blend" it with E10 to achieve the E30 to E40
level. The reason I do this is that I have found from trial and error that this level
will not cause my check engine light to illuminate. Like most people, I'd prefer