E15 Blended Fuel Comes Closer to Reality

With 10 percent ethanol blended fuel having become a fact of life at the pumps over the last decade, it now looks like E15 might become a reality too, possibly as early as this summer.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it has given provisional approval of health effects testing of E15 by Growth Energy and the Renewable Fuels Association, which clears a major hurdle in moving the blended fuel close to commercial acceptance. According to a statement issued from the EPA, “our evaluation concludes that RFA/Growth submitted data and analysis would satisfy Tier 1 and Tier 2 testing requirements for registration.”

Having been granted testing approval, ethanol suppliers can now register E15 with the EPA in order to sell the fuel. That said, some obstacles still remain, namely the fact that suppliers and retailers need to make sure they register with the EPA and also that a proper miss-fuel mitigation plan is developed.

As it stands, the E15 waiver will only cover 2001 model year and newer vehicles and will not cover off-road or marine engines. Once this mitigation plan is completed, vendors who have registered with the EPA will be able to start selling E15 at gas stations in states that have allowed it.

However, there are some that remain opposed to selling E15 commercially without further studies being conducted. In fact, based on pressure from groups such as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, Friends of the Earth, the National Milk Council and the American Baker’s Association, the House of Representatives’ Science Committee recently approved a bill that would prevent the EPA from granting commercial use rights for E15 without further investigation.

If E15 clears these hurdles and shows up at the pumps this summer, it will no doubt help alleviate predicted high fuel prices for many motorists, since Ethanol based fuels sell for around 20 percent less than regular gasoline, according to Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis.

Further reading (PDF)


  • AP

    This is a misguided initiative by the government. Ethanol displaces farmland which should be growing other crops, increasing the price of corn and other crops; and it saves little if any fossil fuel.

    Also beware putting it in an older mower or lawn tractor. The higher alcohol concentration can turn the fuel lines to mush and clog up the carburetor.

    No thanks!

  • priusbob

    This is totally un-necessary move. there are nearly a 1,000,000 FFV vehicles on the road today. This is where the focus should be, on encouraging the people that have ffv vehicles to use the ethanol…

    If less than half of these vehicles used e85 this would exceed the mandated ethanol that is supposed to be in the fuel this year. But instead, epa is forcing people that have vehicles not equipped to use this fuel…

    bureaucracy at it’s worst!

  • Shines

    I’m not buying it.

    I A M N O T B U Y I N G I T !

    Better get the refineries making butanol from the ethanol. If I see 15% Ethanol at the pump, I’ll drive to a different gas station. I’ll pay the extra for the better fuel.

  • Capt. Concernicus

    No thank you.

    I won’t subject my hybrid to that grade of fuel. It’s not better in any way. If I remember correctly its energy density is lower (less power, lower mpg) and it takes farmland away from growing food (increasing food prices). Even the people that FFV don’t use that fuel for their car.

    What a waste.

  • Jay

    Ethanol fuel from corn is a sham. Corn ethanol has a negative EROEI meaning that it doesn’t save oil–it wastes oil. It wastes not only energy but soil and water also. It dissolves plastic parts in your fuel system and makes toxic pollutants from them, so it’s also much dirtier than gasoline.

  • Anonymous

    A final salvo from a failed initiative. Die ethanol, we don’t even want the memory!

    Leave it to a government program to keep this garbage in our fuel tanks.

    I’m buying ANOTHER diesel!!!

  • Max Reid

    See whats going on in middle east. Oil is not dependable.

    Its high time we move to E15 and finally to E85.
    Last year Ethanol sales set a record of 13 billion + gallons.

  • dsl987

    The EPA can approve it all they want, but the refiners don’t want to offer E15 due to legal liabilities. Unless the car manufactures or the Feds will absolve the refiners of legal responsibility then I doubt we will see much if any E15 produced.

  • Jason

    We need and are lucky to have 10% Ethanol right now. Sure it’s not good on older cars, but just think how much demand we have reduced off oil just by adding E10. If it wasn’t for Ethanol, we would easily be paying $5-6 bucks for a gallon of gas.

    E15 and so on will be even better. It’s like us telling the Middle east Fuk you, we will MAKE our own fuel.

    Ethanol, unlike oil, is a renewable resource.

    If you think about it, it’s actually great for the American auto industry too. People will have to get new cars to support E85 flex fuel, and other countries would follow our lead, import American cars, and IMPORT Ethanol from us! (Wouldn’t that be bittersweet) Maybe this is the kickstart our economy needs.

  • Jason

    We need and are lucky to have 10% Ethanol right now. Sure it’s not good on older cars, but just think how much demand we have reduced off oil just by adding E10. If it wasn’t for Ethanol, we would easily be paying $5-6 bucks for a gallon of gas.

    E15 and so on will be even better. It’s like us telling the Middle east Fuk you, we will MAKE our own fuel.

    Ethanol, unlike oil, is a renewable resource.

    If you think about it, it’s actually great for the American auto industry too. People will have to get new cars to support E85 flex fuel, and other countries would follow our lead, import American cars, and IMPORT Ethanol from us! (Wouldn’t that be bittersweet) Maybe this is the kickstart our economy needs.

  • greg45

    I see so much coming from this blended fuel. I see this being pushed more in the future. This will definitely help us get away from oil in the future. Digital printing Toronto