Only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today are approved by manufacturers to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey of auto manufacturers conducted by AAA. The group said its automotive engineering experts "also have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems, such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false 'check engine' lights for any vehicle not approved by its manufacturer to use E15." "It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle," said AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. "Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers."
"E15" (fuel which is 85% gasoline and 15% Ethanol) is dramatically different from "E10" .. gasoline which is 10% Ethanol and 90% gasoline).
The difference is, apparently, not minor.
If I understand this correctly, the main problem is that the 'E15' portion of fuel in your tank separates with time. Eventually, the ethanol proportion becomes much more predominate, so you are are actually burning a much higher degree of ethanol than gasoline.
This (again, this is my understanding) means that vehicles made before 2012 cannot burn high-percentage Ethanol without damage to your engine.
In news reports (besides those published from the American Automible Association) we see headlines such as (from USA Today): "BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and VW have said their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by E15. Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo have said E15 use will void warranties ... citing potential corrosive damage to fuel lines, gaskets and other engine components."
Why are these petroleum products being promulgated upon the American Public? (Somebody please say "Nice Alliteration, Geek!)?
Because the Federal government strongly supports E15.
Disclaimer? Ethanol producers strongly disclaims the claims because the claimants are biased. (Okay, maybe I'm being just a little facetious here .. but just because I'm mean, that doesn't mean I'm Bad.)
Ethanol supporter-reaction to the AAA report warning consumers about E15 was swift, and included automotive expert Bobby Likis. “I’m both surprised and disappointed in the entire premise of the AAA E15 article in USA Today,” the car-talk host said in a statement. “In the 41 years I have been—and still am—hands-on in the diagnosis, service and repair of cars, I find the repeating of an already dispelled myth that E15 ruins engines distasteful and contrary to the results found in extensive EPA and university studies, as well as in my first-hand experience with over 175,000 cars that have rolled through my service shop. In 41 years, we have not diagnosed a single 'ruined' engine due to ethanol."
Here's what Fox Business has to say:
Me? *_I_* don't know what's right. I remember several years ago when the decision was made (by people we elected .. remember that?) to require us all to accept E10 (10 percent Ethanol/gasoline fuel) .. we were told ... 'do it for the environment, and because the only way we can get enough gasoline for all of us is to accept some 'natural' fuel elements to expand our fuel availability' ... we were also told that we would probably have to change all of our fuel filters because E10 would stir up the sediment of our fuel tanks. To a degree.
So we're now all running on E10, and sediment is not a problem?
Is it true that now the problem is not the sediment clogging our fuel problems, but the degradation of mechanical components which may now be a problem if we are trying to burn 15% Ethanol?
Where will it end?
You know, I'm only mildly upset that the Federal Government is telling us that we "must" accept this new fuel standard. We bitched about Ethanol years ago, and it didn't turn out to be so bad; does that mean that we should accept an 'escalation' of the Ethanol Standard?
Okay, forget that. I'm old and cranky, and I tire easily .. especially when the effort to single-handedly rage against the predations of the Federal Government makes me look more like a Curmudgeon than the "Social Critic" which I picture myself to be.
Umm .. no. On second thought, DON'T forget that. I'm a cranky old man .. .make that "Cranky Old Man"! ... and my opinion may not be 'right' but I'm still entitled to my opinion.
Tell me, where in the Constitution does it say that the Feds get to tell me what kind of fuel I can/may/would/SHOULD poke into my gas tank?
(Nota Bene: at this point, the discussion gets WAY beyond the original premise; You Have Been Warned!)
The Left is pretty good about saying that the Constitution may be misinterpreted about the Second Amendment, but they have no objections to interpreting the Commerce Clause in any manner which best suits their political agenda.
Can't we do the same?
(Probably not .. which pisses me off to no end!)
But, other than the Leftist free-based interpretations, the constitution doesn't 'really' tell us what kind of fuel we must pour into our tank. And it doesn't 'really' tell us that the EPA can dictate to us.
On the other hand, the constitution doesn't apply to the 2nd amendment: "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
According to The Political Left, the Founding Fathers didn't envision "Assault Weapons", so we shouldn't accept Black Guns as being 'legitimate' because that refers to a Future Technology. The Founding Fathers never envisioned high-capacity magazines as opposed to muskets which must be laboriously (and time/labor dependently) reloaded to facilitate even a second shot, let along 20+ shots as fast as you can pull the trigger.
Well, I think that E15 refers to "a Future Technology", too. And the Feds don't have any right to mandate what kind of fuel we should/may/must use to fill the tanks of our motorcars .. which technology also did not exist in the 18th Century.
See .. the thing about the Political Left is that they feel that they are allowed to pick and choose which interpretations of the American Constitution they may use to advance their own political platforms. So, they think that they can say "not 18th Century technology, does not apply, enough said" when the subject is firearms. But when it applies to automobiles, they are entirely silent vis-a-vis Constitutional issues/priviliges/issues.
(When you started reading this, you didn't expect that I would turn the discussion from The Commerce Clause to the Second Amendment, did you? I'm feeling just a little smug, here.)
I'm thinking .. we need to find some kind of 'meeting of the minds' where the Left and the Right agree which issues are applicable to the U.S. Constitution, and which do not. No, I don't really expect that to happen, but it would be very nice is someone .. say, the Supreme Court ... would chip in here and say WAIT A MINUTE!
That IS covered by the Constitution. It says what you can do, and ... gee! .. if it doesn't say you can do that, you cannot!
It seems to me that the Commerce Clause (intended to prevent imposition of trade between the states) is being over-worked by the Political Left. As an example, it has been cited as a means to limit transfer of firearms, and (a failed attempt) to impose liabilities on firearms manufacturers when their product is used to commit crimes .... an onus which, by the way, is not imposed on automobiles which are also used to commit felonious crimes.
By now, you are probably wondering how I'm going to tie this all into a single neat knot. Commerce clause v. Second Amendment. E15 v AR15 Liberal v. Conservative interpretation of the Constitution. Executive Branch v. Judicial Branch v. Legislative Branch of the Federal government.
The sad truth is .. I can't do that.
Oh, I COULD do that, using my own egocentric view of what I think the relative responsibilities should be between the branches of the government. But in case you haven't noticed, the Federal Government (and probably every governmental entity from President to Alderman) is composed of [ptahhhh!] Politicians. All they want is to be re-elected. Giving us the finest form of government possible is not only not their primary priority, it doesn't even show up on their electoral horizon.
This E15 issue is really 'small potatoes' for our elected representatives. It only matters to "The Little Man" who just wants to full up his tank without breaking his car.
Suppose you tell me how much faith you have in YOUR elected representative, at any level, really cares whether his administrative fiat breaks your car?
The reasonable answers vary between "Oh, I think my political leaders REALLY care!" to "Fuck All".
Actually, I don't think there's much to be considered in the Mediocre Middle.
The definition of Curmudgeon is: "a bad-tempered, difficult, cantankerous person.". The definition makes no distinction between one who is entitled to be bad-tempered in opposition to the imposition of unrealistic administrative fiat, and one who is consistently and unrealistically oppose to being told what to do .. even if the "what to do" part is objectively realistic.
I became a curmudgeon the day I first learned that "no gun zones" were typically imposed on public meeting places; a condition which eventually became endemic to mass murders. The only relationship between "E15" and "Assault Weapons" is that E15, which is patently bad for us, is mandated.
Do the math.
UPDATE: January 7, 2013:
See the comments. The question is not why the Federal Government needs to introduce :"feel good" legislation in response to every social situation that catches their attention.
The question is why the Federal Government is performing it's constitutionally mandated responsibilities by simply enacting more laws which restrict our rights as citizens.
Go back and read the Constitution. And think again about the question stated earlier:
" ... we need to find some kind of 'meeting of the minds' where the Left and the Right agree which issues are applicable to the U.S. Constitution, and which do not."