Last October, the Environmental Protection Agency approved the increase of ethanol mixed in gasoline from 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent, or E15. The federal agency announced this week it has approved the E15 labels to be used on gas pumps dispensing the fuel.
The new black and orange label notifies consumers that E15 can only be used in 2001 or newer vehicles or flex-fuel vehicles (FFV) like the Chevy Malibu, Ford Fusion sedans, and the Chrysler Town & Country minivan. Before the new labels, the EPA granted waivers under the Clean Air Act.
Reaction from supporters and opponents to the new labeling requirements was swift. Ethanol trade group Growth Energy points out how E15 will benefit the current economic and political climate. According to States Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis: “this is another step in the process to get E15 into the marketplace later this year, which will create U.S. jobs, improve the environment and strengthen national security by displacing foreign oil.”
Opponents like the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute counter that E15 could damage the millions of off-road and gasoline-powered implements like chainsaws and lawnmowers which are not designed for it. Automakers have expressed a similar concern for the millions of their older vehicles still on the road. “We see the final rule fails to require that service station pumps contain a warning label directing consumers to check their owner’s manual to determine the appropriate fuel for specific vehicles,” said Gloria Bergquist, spokesperson for the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers which includes Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, and Toyota. “This is a significant and unfortunate omission.”
The Detroit News reports the automakers will further study the EPA’s new E15 labeling requirement. Last year, the EPA and Ricardo, an independent automotive engineering consulting firm, issued reports that show there are currently over 150 million vehicles built after 2001 on U.S. roads. The EPA expects that figure to grow to more than 187 million after 2014.
Source: Detroit News