Filed Under:

AAA Calls To Suspend Sale Of New Ethanol Fuel

Play associated audio

AAA has warned against potential damage that a new blend of gasoline could do to some engines. And the warning has started a fight over renewable fuels and the future of what we put in our gas tanks.

The fuel is called E15 — named for the percentage of ethanol in the blend. Most of the gas that's sold in the U.S. has about 10 percent ethanol in it.

The Environmental Protection Agency has certified that all vehicles from 2001 and newer can run on E15. But, says Eric Evarts with Consumer Reports, many automakers "have said that they will not honor warrantees for cars running on E15, even among the cars that the EPA says can run it."

That's because many automakers are worried that the new mix of fuel can damage the fuel lines in your car over time.

"We're not opposed to ethanol, we're not opposed to ethanol being added to gasoline. Our concern is that the E15 blend is one that has the potential to do damage to people's vehicles if they inadvertently put it in their gas tank," says AAA CEO Robert Darbelnet.

AAA wants to suspend sales of E15 gasoline. The group surveyed its members, and 95 percent of them didn't know what it was.

"We are opposed to E15 being made available to consumers who have not been adequately informed of the consequences of using the product, nor have they been adequately informed of whether or not they could put it in their vehicle without risking violating their warranty," Darbelnet says.

Bob Dinneen, CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, an ethanol industry trade group, points out that E15 is available in only a handful of gas stations. He says there's plenty of time to educate drivers about the new fuel.

"I think AAA has been sidling up to the big oil companies a little too much, and their concerns about E15 are completely misplaced," Dinneen says. "It's really about the future and other advanced biofuels that, if demonstrated to be viable commercially, can take not 10 percent of the barrel, but a third or 40 or 50 percent of the barrel. That's what this is about."

Meanwhile, the EPA says it's working to let consumers know which cars can and cannot use E15.

But unless laws change, it's still on the way to gas stations soon.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

A Grisly, Humorous Dissection Of Morality In 'Anatomy Theatre'

It was once thought that evil resided inside the body. So murderers were dissected to find it. That macabre practice is the subject of a dark but funny new opera, "Anatomy Theatre."
NPR

Can Arnold Schwarzenegger Persuade China To Eat Less Meat?

Like the U.S., China is battling obesity and climate change. So it's urging citizens to eat less meat — and spreading the word with public service ads featuring Hollywood stars.
NPR

Trump Lags Behind Clinton In 'Ground Game' Support

When running for office, you need a good "ground game." Some say Trump lacks what's needed to get out the vote. NPR's Scott Simon speaks with Rob Jesmer, formerly with the RNC, about what that means.
NPR

President Obama Acknowledges 'Brexit' To Silicon Valley Crowd

President Obama delivered a speech Friday at Stanford University, and remarked on the Brexit vote in front of a crowd of young, tech-forward, pro-globalization attendees from 170 countries.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.