An organization that conducts research and evaluates public
policies in the energy markets thinks AAA is on to something with
its claims about E15 gasoline.
AAA has called on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to
stop the sale of E15 until a better labeling system is developed
and put forth. E15 is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline,
but is intended only for vehicles made in the last few years. The
other, more common ethanol blend contains up to 10 percent ethanol,
but questions remain as to whether that mix is good for older
vehicles and small engines.
Dan Kish, senior vice president of policy for the Institute for Energy Research (IER), believes
that the AAA has raised a legitimate concern.
think that AAA is on to something. Many of the car manufacturers
and small engine manufacturers have the same concern," Kish tells
"Despite the experts telling the EPA that there can be
considerable problems using 15 percent ethanol, they went ahead and
did it anyway. If something goes wrong, the EPA is not going to be
responsible for it. Ultimately, it's going to be the consumer."
According to AAA, more than 240 million light-duty vehicles are
currently on the roads -- 12 million of them are approved by
manufacturers to use E15.
Still, Renewable Fuels Association president Bob Dinneen says AAA's concern reflects "a
pathetic ignorance of EPA's test program before approving E15 for
Labels are on the gas pump to notify drivers of the difference
in ethanol blends. However, groups like the Competitive Enterprise
Institute have argued those labels only add to the number of
labels on gas pumps.
Brian McGraw, a policy analyst for the Competitive Enterprise
Institute, points out that "given the amount of gasoline pumped
daily in this country, it is inevitable that numerous people will
unintentionally add E15 to cars that are not equipped to handle
While a better label for E15 might allevitate this situation,
McGraw says a better solution would be for the EPA to freeze the
Renewable Fuel Standard at current levels, making E15 sales
unnecessary. If E15 is a product consumers demand, the market will
provide it, he argues.