Time to give Toyota a piece of your mind about its misguided E15 policy?

(excerpt from article, “E15 gas brings conflict to pumps” by: DAVID SHAFFER , Star Tribune)

A new blend of ethanol and gasoline may soon show up at the gas station pumps — along with mixed messages on whether it’s safe to put it in your vehicle.

Motorists driving up to pumps for the new, higher-ethanol “E15” will see government-mandated orange-and-black signs that say the new fuel blend is approved for use in all 2001 and newer cars and light trucks.

Two of the biggest carmakers offer puzzling or contrary messages, right on their gasoline caps. Toyota warns on its 2012 model gas caps not to use E15. Ford offers less-explicit advice.

“When you pull up to the pump it will say you can use this, and then you turn to your gas cap, it says you may not use this — it’s going to be very, very confusing,” said Bob Ebert, service director for Walser Automotive Group in the Twin Cities.

In Congress, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., is pushing a bill to halt introduction of E15 and conduct more research. “I think this is outrageous,” he said. “The government is telling consumers to use a product that the manufacturer of their car says will … void the warranty.”

Our Take:
The circle-slash through E15-E85 on the Toyota gas cap is frankly what Mr. Sensenbrenner should offer a law to prevent. E15 has made its way through rigorous government testing, has earned its seal of approval, and this move by Toyota car company has nothing to do with real world performance and everything to do with the prevalence of law suits with no merit.

E15, which is 15 percent ethanol, is now the most tested gasoline blend ever produced. After this exhaustive testing program, US Environmental Protection Agency has certified E15 as a fuel that poses no performance or emissions problems for cars and light trucks built in 2001 or later.

Along come the attorneys of Toyota car company, putting a finger up to test the wind of meritless civil suits, and they decide to throw a little proactive legal rhetoric on the gas cap to discourage people from using E15 even in its latest models. And if the motorists do fill up with E15, they have been warned. In this era of unending litigation, in which Toyota has been sued over totally unrelated performance problem—problems never fully proved to be more than a figment of the imagination, perhaps one cannot blame them.

But the weight of the US government in certifying this fuel should be enough. Especially when a very clear E15 label is required on every pump that dispenses the new fuel.

Toyota, and all the other car companies should be with the program by now. US energy policy regarding renewable energy has one main goal in mind—energy independence. Though promising new domestic oil sources are being captured, these represent a fraction of the energy we use in our vehicles. And even the Bakken oil fields and the Canadian tar sands will produce their final barrel at some point. Renewable, plant-based energy, like the solar power it captures, will be available for billions of years—as long as the sun shines. And current car and fuel dispensing equipment has no difficulty with E15. That’s been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.

If you would like to let Toyota know what you think of its timid stand on energy independence, you can send email to them through their customer help web site at http://toyota.custhelp.com/

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