The GAfuels Blog is written by two private pilots concerned about the future availability of fuels for piston-engine aircraft: Dean Billing, Sisters, Ore., an expert on autogas and ethanol, and Kent Misegades, Cary, N.C., an aerospace engineer and aviation journalist.
Despite the EPA’s recent approval of E15 for vehicles built since 2007, numerous roadblocks stand in its way before it appears – legally – at our gas stations.
First, 35 states have laws on the books limiting ethanol blends to 10% maximum. Changes to these laws could easily require two to four years of legislation. Second, no ASTM or NTEP standards exist yet for this mid-level blend. Third, virtually no fuel handling, storage or dispensing equipment is available with UL approval, and Underwriter’s Lab has already stated that it will not re-certify existing E10 approved equipment to handle E15.
With continued stagnation in consumption of gasoline meeting head on with consumer ambivalence towards E85/Flex-Fuel vehicles (and virtually no E85 fuel available at gas stations), rising mandatory ethanol production quotas cannot be met, even if every drop of gasoline were blended to E15.
This recent notice from the Oregon Department of Agriculture on E85 sums things up well for one state. I think this is a pretty succinct summary of why E15 is DOA and will have absolutely no effect on the blending wall. Between ASTM standards for mid-level blends and NTEP standards for equipment, both of which are non-existent, I think the ethanol lobby just wasted two years of effort to avoid the blending wall.
Submitted by Dean Billing