The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) finds good news for E15 but bad news for higher blends of ethanol in its review of 2020 model year vehicles.
The RFA analysis of vehicle owner’s manuals and warranty statements reveals that nearly all new 2020 automobiles are explicitly approved by the manufacturer to use gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol (E15). However, RFA’s annual review also shows automakers are offering far fewer model year 2020 flex fuel vehicles (FFVs) capable of running on blends containing up to 85 percent ethanol (E85).
According to the RFA analysis, manufacturers responsible for 95 percent of U.S. light-duty vehicle sales unequivocally approve the use of E15 in their model year 2020 automobiles. For the first time ever, BMW models will carry the manufacturer’s approval to use E15; in fact, the BMW Group approves the use of up to E25 in its 2020 models, including its line of Mini automobiles.
Among major manufacturers, only Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Volvo – which collectively represent less than 5 percent of U.S. sales – exclude E15 as an approved fuel in their owner’s manuals.
Meanwhile, automakers continue to dramatically curtail production of FFVs. Only two automakers—Ford and General Motors—are offering FFVs in model year 2020. Just 16 models will be available as FFVs in 2020, with six of those models available only to fleet purchasers. That’s down from more than 80 different models from eight manufacturers being available to consumers as recently as 2015.
RFA encourages drivers to make their voices heard with the auto industry itself by signing an online grassroots petition asking automakers to offer more models designed to run on “high-octane, low-carbon ethanol blends such as E20, E30 and E85.”