Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Oil industry chief says 15% ethanol-gas blend bad for cars; renewable fuel folks call that 'bad science''s Dan Piller writes that the American Petroleum Institute president and CEO Jack Gerard contended Wednesday that studies by the Coordinating Research Council have shown that gasoline with 15 percent ethanol could damage vehicle engines. This follows Gerard's criticism last year of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's decision to expand the blend limit of ethanol to unleaded gasoline for vehicle use from 10 percent to 15 percent. He called those decisions "premature and irresponsible.” The agency "approved E15 knowing ongoing vehicle testing had not been completed. Worse ... it approved the fuel even though government labs had raised red flags about the compatibility of E15 with much of the dispensing and storage infrastructure at our nation’s gas stations.”

 Monte Shaw of the Iowa Renewable Renewable Fuels Association said the study is “just bad science.” “What they did was use a very aggressive form of ethanol blend, about a 17 percent blend, and didn’t use the 10 percent blend as a baseline,” said Shaw. “So you don’t know how much of that engine damage might have happened anyway.” The EPA’s approval was for automobiles of the 2001 model year or later. The API, which represents the largest oil companies, opposed the expansion of the ethanol blend. About 10 percent of the gasoline used in the U.S. now is made up of the ethanol blend. (Read more.)

The Coordinated Research Council, known as the CRC, is a non-profit research and testing organization made up of the automobile and oil companies. Piller writes that Gerard spoke to the larger issue of the widening gulf between the petroleum industry and the biofuels industry. Federal law requires blending of increasing amounts of biofuels in gasoline, and most of the gasoline now sold in America has ethanol in it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It is unfortunate that the blending of ethanol into fuel has caused such a conflict between the automobile and oil industries and the biofuels industry. Perhaps the sudden jump to 17% was too much. A better idea would be to have an unbiased study overseen jointly by representatives for both the petroleum industry and the biofuels industry, complete with baselines and controls in place. Both sides of the issue can agree that the most environmentally friendly methods of oil extraction are a must. Here in Texas,for example, Halek Energy Partners led by Jason Halek is pioneering new drilling methods that maximize the amount of oil recovery from each well, thus minimizing the number of wells that need to be drilled.