On October 13, the EPA announced a waiver from its current regulation, which caps ethanol content in gasoline at 10 percent; the waiver would allow 15 percent ethanol (so-called e-15) for cars of model year 2007 and newer. ...
The EPA, however, had not completed the required tests to issue this waiver; moreover, the agency chose to ignore other testing, particularly the extensive, still-ongoing auto and oil industry research program on the potential for ethanol to harm engine durability. Then on January 21, the EPA further expanded that waiver to cars of model years 2001-2006, and again did so without complete testing.
The EPA’s decision was supposed to be based on testing of 16 different sample engines by the Coordinating Research Council, a nonprofit group with funding from the Department of Energy, to see if e-15 would be suitable for the U.S. auto fleet. When the waiver was issued on October 13, nine of the 16 tests were at best incomplete: Five of the engines had significant problems and were scheduled for retesting and four others had yet to be completed. DOE unexpectedly pulled their funding last summer -- perhaps not wanting to be an accomplice to the EPA’s decision.
... The EPA is trying to change the regulations for ethanol -- with incomplete or negative testing -- that could impact emissions on about 150 million automotive engines made between 2001 and 2010. Not to mention there are 75 million engines models older than 2001 still on the roads. The EPA was not even considering including them in a waiver because they probably would not burn e-15 cleanly or safely. If the new formula is approved, those with older engines may have difficulty finding appropriate fuel.
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