Study Finds 15 Percent Ethanol Safe for Older Vehicles

Cindy Zimmerman

Landmark research by an internationally recognized engineering firm finds that E15 should be safe for older vehicles.

ricardoAccording to the study, carried out by Ricardo, Inc. on behalf of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), moving from 10 percent ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent will mean little, if any, change on the performance of older cars and light trucks, those manufactured between 1994 and 2000. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently considering a fuel waiver request to allow ethanol to be blended up to 15 percent, but the agency has indicated it may only approve the waiver for 2001 and newer vehicles only.

The study analyzed the vehicles manufactured by six companies and which represent 25% (62.8 million vehicles) of light duty vehicles on the road today, concluded “that the adoption and use of E15 in the motor vehicle fleet from the studied model years should not adversely affect these vehicles or cause them to perform in a sub-optimal manner when compared with their performance using the E10 blend that is currently available.”

Renewable Fuels Association Logo“This analysis provides conclusive evidence for the EPA that there is no reason to limit the availability of E15 to newer vehicles only,” said RFA president and CEO Bob Dinneen. “This analysis together with affirmative results in reports from the Department of Energy and other academic and private testing institutions show that there are no significant issues with the use of E15 in virtually all vehicles on the road today.”

In analyzing the various vehicles, the Ricardo analysis found minimal effects on engine components and materials, emission systems (including catalytic converters) and overall performance of raising the ethanol percentage from 10 percent to 15 percent.

Ethanol, Ethanol News, RFA