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E15 Gasoline Alert - E15 Gasoline: Just Say No!

More ethanol in fuel will hurt your classic.

Jim Campisano Sep 16, 2010
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As you'll see in the November issue of Super Chevy, the government is waging war on the automobile and the next salvo could truly hurt the components in your classic car-or even your late-model vehicle.

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The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) reports that "pressure from ethanol producers to raise the ethanol content in gasoline, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) could issue a decision later this month allowing the use of E15 in late-model cars. It could permit the use in other cars at a later date."

In E15, 15 percent of the gasoline is comprised of ethanol. The pumps at almost every station now dispense E10, which is 10 percent ethanol. If your car is not set up to run on this E10, the results can be disastrous. Adding 50 percent more ethanol content can only make it worse. We've already seen proof in carbureted cars that the E10 has harmful effects on fuel system components.

The SEMA Action Network (SAN) opposes the shift from E10 to E15 due to concerns that the additional content will harm automobiles of all ages, including special interest collector and historic vehicles. To date, there is a lack of conclusive information regarding E15's effect on engines of different model years. In addition to the potential harm of E15 on engine components, the EPA has no procedure in place to ensure misfueling does not occur or any plan for ensuring regular gasoline continues to be available for older vehicles. The SAN's concerns are shared by a number of other industry organizations. ?

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The SEMA Action network has drafted the letter below to help enthusiasts contact President Obama to put the brakes on this hare-brained scheme, which is a political carrot to ethanol producers.

Dear Mr. President: I strongly urge you to stop the Environmental Protection Agency from raising the amount of ethanol in gasoline from today's 10 percent (E10) to 15 percent (E15) - a 50 percent increase.

The EPA is under pressure from some corporate ethanol supporters to raise the rates in order to boost sales. However, scientific studies have not yet been completed on concerns that the added content could harm auto parts of all ages. When ethanol levels are raised, engines react differently and in a potentially dangerous way. Ethanol causes engines to burn hotter which could lead to premature engine and equipment failure. For newer cars, the "check engine" light may appear unnecessarily or too late to avoid costly repairs.

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Ethanol also increases water formation in the fuel system, especially when the vehicle sits over a period of time. Under these conditions, formic acid is created which corrodes metals, plastics and rubber. This can lead to engine/parts failures and, potentially, safety hazards.

If the EPA approves E15, it will state that the increased ethanol is only for recent model cars. However, once a new fuel mix enters the gasoline supply system, it will inevitably end up in the wrong engines.

Gasoline without any ethanol may simply disappear from the marketplace for millions of Americans with older cars or special interest collector and historic vehicles. E10 has already made this a reality in many areas of the country.

The EPA should wait until all of the scientific research is complete. There is no need for a rush to judgment.

Please contact President Obama at

Please e-mail a copy of your letter to Steve McDonald at Thank you for your assistance.



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