Drivers of passenger vehicles made in 2001 or later and drivers who own a vehicle with a flex-fuel engine will soon be able to buy E15 gasoline, a blend that is 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. Previously, all cars used E10 gasoline, according to the Clean Air Act. To make drivers aware of the change, the Environmental Protection Agency has released an orange and black label that summarizes the standardization.
The regulation also applies to light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles, but like small cars, all of these vehicles must be from the 2001 model year or newer. If you own a motorcycle, a vehicle with a heavy-duty engine (bus, delivery truck), an off-road vehicle (boat, snowmobile), off-road equipment (lawnmower, chainsaw) or a passenger vehicle (car, light-duty truck or SUV) from 2000 or earlier, you cannot use E15 gasoline. Using E15 in restricted vehicles and machines can damage engines.
One major concern is that drivers will misfuel, a mistake that will not only damage vehicle engines and machinery, but will also pollute the air. According to The New York Times, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers is one group that thinks the labels won’t keep drivers from using the wrong blend. “We do not think that pump labeling alone is sufficient to prevent extensive misfueling, especially when labels are expected to overcome consumer habits that have prevailed for many years,” the Alliance says.
While the orange and black label has been finalized, E15 isn’t available at gas stations yet. “EPA says sellers have to first register their blends with the agency to be sure they meet a number of standards. Probably nothing at stations until late this year, ethanol interests say,” says USA Today.
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