AAA Calls To Suspend Sale Of New Ethanol Fuel | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio
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

In An Earthquake, History Fuels One Writer's Anxiety

An earthquake in Napa Valley this week brought back old fears for author Gustavo Arellano. In his anxiety he's revisiting the book A Crack in the Edge of the World.
NPR

Real Vanilla Isn't Plain. It Depends On (Dare We Say It) Terroir

There's no such thing as plain vanilla — at least if you're talking about beans from the vanilla orchid. Whether it's from Tahiti or Madagascar, vanilla can be creamy, spicy or even floral.
NPR

Federal Judge Blocks Texas Restriction On Abortion Clinics

Requiring every center that performs abortions to meet all the standards of a surgical center is excessively restrictive, says the federal district court judge who blocked the state rule Friday.
NPR

An App Can Reveal When Withdrawal Tremors Are Real

You probably haven't thought about whether your phone could help diagnose alcohol withdrawal. Well, it can. An app for doctors measures tremors and may help tell if someone's faking it to get drugs.

Leave a Comment

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