The Detroit News: Editorial: Ethanol harms automotive, consumer interests

October 25, 2013

State Rep. Andrew Kandrevas, October 23 – Classic American cars. Ski boats and pontoons. Harleys. Snowmobiles.

They’re all a part of what makes our Pure Michigan life so special.

But they’re all also threatened by a broken federal policy known as the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which annually increases the amount of ethanol to be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply despite its harmful effects on engines of all sizes.

Enacted in 2005 and dramatically revised in 2007, the RFS was pitched as a solution to rising gasoline demand and foreign oil imports at the time. But demand has fallen since the 2008 global economic slowdown — hitting a 13-year low in June 2013. And because of a domestic energy renaissance, oil imports have fallen to their lowest levels since 1986. Nonetheless, the EPA has continuously refused to adjust ethanol targets, putting RFS mandates ahead of the safety and convenience of American consumers and manufacturers.

Our nation’s fuel market is at its breaking point and cannot tolerate higher levels of ethanol-blended gasoline. Most vehicles, boats, motorcycles, small engine equipment and retail infrastructure are incapable of handling fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Yet, the EPA recently permitted the sale of 15 percent ethanol (E15) in gasoline despite the serious risk to vehicles manufactured before 2001, marine engines, as well as smaller engines, like those in lawnmowers. Condensation created by E15 can damage engines and result in corrosion, rust and deterioration of fuel system components.