Study indicates 1994 and later models can use E15

Written by Jonathan Eisenthal

While the EPA and Department of Energy have focused E15 studies on vehicles built in 2000 and later, the engineering firm Ricardo has undertaken a study and finds vehicles made between 1994 and 2000 will not be damaged through the use of E15.

Ricardo consults with all the major vehicle manufacturers and has offices worldwide, including locations in Detroit, Germany, Japan, China and India.

Engineer Rod Beazley presented the findings at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit.

EPA approvals for E15 use in vehicles manufactured in 2001 and later covers approximately 63 percent of the US light duty vehicle fleet. By looking into vehicles dating to 1994, Beazley’s work extends that to 88 percent of the vehicles on the road today. Were EPA to extend its waiver to these earlier models, it would thus make it much more practical for typical fueling stations to offer E15 to the driving public.

Beazley noted that six manufacturers sold the majority of vehicles in the US in the 1994-2000 timeframe: General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan.

Not only did Beazley conduct a thorough review of all the literature on materials compatibility testing, but examined any changes in equipment calibration over the entire period of 1988 to 2000, and pulled the fuel tanks and other fuel systems equipment off of cars from the 1994-2000 model years to examine the effect of E10 and calculate whether materials would be affected by increasing the ethanol level to 15 percent.

The key finding in the Ricardo study is that there is a very low likelihood of materials failure in these vehicles. Vehicles of this vintage are more likely to fail for a number of other reasons, but E15 would not contribute to any greater likelihood of failure.

Listen to a podcast of Rod Beazley presenting his findings at the Iowa Renewable Fuels Summit:


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