Ricardo Inc. released the results from a new study today which revealed that vehicles between the years of 1994 and 2000 can burn a mixture of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline safely. Vehicles in this range represent 25% of vehicles on United States Highways today.
The study stems from a formal request written to the EPA requesting that E 15 be allowed in all vehicle types. Currently, the EPA allows a maximum blend of E 10 to be sold to non-flex fuel vehicle owners. The EPA has been testing the effects of using E 15 in vehicles while pushing back their results twice in the last year since its original target date of December 2009. The EPA claims their decision will be released this coming fall.
Ricardo, Inc. President Kent Niederhofer said, “Older vehicles represent a significant yet previously comparatively under-researched element of the US national vehicle fleet. In considering the potential risks and benefits of increasing the current ethanol blend ceiling in regular gasoline from 10 to 15 percent it is crucial that the interests of the potentially very large stakeholder group represented by the owners of these vehicles are investigated. While many previous studies by Ricardo and others have evaluated the impact of higher ethanol blends on newer vehicles, this study demonstrates for the first time that raising the blend ceiling to E15 is likely to have a negligible impact on vehicles manufactured between 1994 and 2000.”
A move to E 15 would not only increase domestic ethanol production, but decrease our dependence on foreign oil, increase domestic corn prices and create additional green jobs in the United States. The ethanol industry is ready to break past the blend wall and America’s corn farmers are capable of taking them there.