Fuel Fix: Report: E15 causes some cars’ fuel systems to fail

January 29, 2013

Jennifer A. Dlouhy, Jan. 29- Automobile manufacturers and the oil industry on Tuesday released the results of laboratory tests showing that gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol caused fuel pumps and parts to fail, raising the specter of faulty check engine light readings and more frequent breakdowns for cars that use the blend.

The American Petroleum Institute cast the report by the non-profit Coordinating Research Council as fresh evidence that the Environmental Protection Agency should rescind its 2010 decision to approve the sale of the so-called “E15″ blend for 2001 and newer automobiles. A previous study by the Coordinating Research Council, which counts API as a sustaining member, linked engine durability problems to E15.

“These results, when coupled with the CRC engine durability study . . . show millions upon millions of consumer vehicles could be adversely impacted with E15,” said Bob Greco, API’s downstream group director. “The more we study, unfortunately, the more issues we uncover.”

But ethanol backers swiftly criticized the new study’s design, calling it flawed for relying on car components tested in isolation with E15 as well as an “aggressive” E15 blend that included more water and acid than what most motorists actually would pump from filling stations.

Tom Buis, the CEO of Growth Energy, said the research could “at best be described as incomplete and cherry picking.”

“This is a classic example of he who pays the piper calls the tune,” Buis said. “Oil companies are desperate to prevent the use of higher blends of renewable fuels (and) have erected every regulatory and legal roadblock imaginable to prevent our nation from reducing our dependence on oil.”