The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today challenged test results released by the American Petroleum Institute claiming that 15% ethanol-blended gasoline (E15) can harm vehicle engines.
In a post on the Energy.gov blog, DOE Vehicle Technologies Program Manager Patrick Davis said the study done by the Coordinating Research Council (CRC) failed on a number of counts. “We believe the study is significantly flawed,” said Davis. “The CRC failed to establish a proper control group, a standard component of scientific, data-driven testing and a necessity to determine statistical significance for any results.”
Most importantly, Davis noted that no engines in the study were tested with E10 fuel, “the de facto standard gasoline for all grades, which represents more than 90 percent of gasoline available in the U.S. market.” In addition, “only three out of the eight engines were tested with straight gasoline containing no ethanol (E0), and one of those three failed the CRC’s test.”
Ethanol industry organizations were also quick to point out the flaws in the study and note that E15 has been tested more than any other automotive fuel in history. “The reality is they are completely dismissing the fact that E15 is the most tested fuel to date, with extensive testing done by the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, with results showing no significant difference between gasoline without any ethanol and an E15 blend,” said Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis.
Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen noted that the government has tested E15 “the equivalent of 12 round trips to the Moon” and found no problems with the use of E15 in vehicles made since model year 2001. “This study, and continued efforts aimed at confusing rather than informing consumers, impede this progress and do little to address the nation’s need for clean, renewable fuel that lowers the price at the pump and creates jobs here at home,” said Dinneen.