Car Culture

E15 gets limited approval from EPA for vehicles 2007 and newer

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today waived a limitation on selling fuel that is more than 10 percent ethanol for model year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks.

A gasoline station attendant pumps gas Thursday, July 13, 2006, in Portland, Ore. Oil prices are hitting new highs, going above 76 dollars a barrel today. Traders are reacting to news of rising violence in the Middle East, the standoff with Iran over its nuclear program and news of explosions on Nigerian pipelines. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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At least part of the controversy over whether to limit the sale of fuel that's more than 10 percent ethanol is over, for now anyway. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today waived a limitation on selling 15 percent ethanol--known as E15--for cars and light trucks 2007 or newer.

Last month, a controversy brewedover whether vehicles older 2007, or 2001, would be cleared to use E15, based on tests. The organization, Follow the Science, said the 50 percent increase in ethanol could damage catalytic converters in older vehicles, as well as engines of boats, motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, chainsaws, lawnmowers, and other gas-powered lawn equipment.

In a statement today from the EPA, administrator Lisa P. Jackson made the decision after a review of the Department of Energy's (DOE's) extensive testing of E15's impact on engine durability and emissions.

"Thorough testing has now shown that E15 does not harm emissions control equipment in newer cars and light trucks," said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. "Wherever sound science and the law support steps to allow more homegrown fuels in America's vehicles, this administration takes those steps."

According to a statement by the EPA, a decision on the use of E15 for 2001 to 2006 vehicles will be made after additional testing, which is expected to be completed in November.

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) today issued a warning regarding the use of E15 on gas-powered lawn equipment, generators and snow throwers.

To prevent any confusion at the gas pump, the EPA is proposing E15 labeling requirements, including a requirement that the fuel industry specify the ethanol content of gasoline sold to retailers. There would also be a quarterly survey of retail stations to help ensure their gas pumps are properly labeled.