EPA working with ethanol lobby to force E15 fuels

Your bloggers just came across this letter (download here) from the EPA dated Nov. 30, written to the heads of the ethanol lobby (Gen. Wesley Clark and Jeff Broin of Growth Energy), essentially promising to force E15 on us all next year despite widespread opposition.

Car companies and hundreds of other companies and organizations affected by the use of ethanol have been strong in their opposition to raising the limit on ethanol in our fuels from the current 10% cap. You’ll find a list of these on pp 27-34 from our AirVenture ’09 Forum at http://www.e0pc.com/AV09_Fuels.pdf.

The EPA in its letter admits that cars built before 2001 won’t run on E15. Car companies have already warned that they would void warranties on cars (other than E85) as soon as one drop of E15 is put in them. Those cars that do tolerate the stuff will suffer greatly in power and mileage.  You can imagine what it will do to airplanes.

While a few airplane engine manufacturers approve (but not recommend) up to E10, none approve E15.  The loss of max power would be intolerable anyway, even if the engine, tank and fuel system could be modified to handle E15.

With the end of 100LL now planned in a few years, and no real alternative yet in sight, unleaded, ethanol-free premium gasoline is the only option we really have left for 80% of the current piston-engine aircraft fleet.

The GAfuels Blog is written by three private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft. They are:

  • Dean Billing (Sisters, Ore.) – an expert on autogas and ethanol
  • Kent Misegades (Cary, N.C.) – an aerospace engineer and aviation journalist
  • Todd Petersen (Minden, Neb.) – former aerial applicator and owner of more than 150 Mogas STCs for aircraft

For a list of airports that have ethanol-free fuel and those no longer pumping it, compiled by the authors, follow this link.

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