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E15 Fuel Could Wreck Engines, Study Warns

New study shows “adverse results” from increasing ethanol use.

by on May.17, 2012

Pumps serving up the new E15 blend must display this warning label to motorists.

A new study suggests the federal government’s decision to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline could have “adverse results,” which several industry trade groups say translates into the likelihood it could wreck some engines.

Federal regulators last year upped the percentage of ethanol it wants used in gas from 10% to 15% — what’s known in the trade as E15.  While many of today’s vehicles can handle that and even go up to an 85% blend of the alcohol-based additive many trade groups, as well as classic car owners, howled in protest, warning that the increase might cause damage to older vehicles.

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They also cautioned that other gas-powered machines, such as marine engines, lawn mowers, generators and chainsaws could be damaged.

A new study by the Coordinating Research Council, or CRC – a trade group supported by eight major global automakers – warns that the critics are right.  While the make-up of the CRC might lead some to question its motives, and thus its findings, the study was actually conducted by FEV, a company that has long served as a consultant to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.