Ford and GM Okay E15 Blends for New Vehicles
(Opis.net) Ford Motor Co. and General Motors have quietly approved gasoline blends with up to 15% ethanol for use in later model cars and light trucks, Oil Express has learned.
Together, the automakers produce more than a third of the new light-vehicles sold in the United States, according to Automotive News data.
Most auto manufacturers have opposed the blend, warning that gassing up with it will void their vehicle warranties. The auto industry has called for more testing of the new fuel, concerned about the effect a higher concentration of alcohol might have on vehicle engines.
But GM’s 2012 and 2013 model-year vehicles can use gasoline blends with up to 15% ethanol. The automaker states the policy in its new vehicle owners’ manuals, spokeswoman Sharon Basel told Oil Express.
And Ford made the decision late last year to allow owners of 2013 vehicles to use E15. The automaker has started placing labels in the fuel filter area that says blends of up to 15% ethanol are acceptable in new, non-flex fuel vehicles.
“Ford is transitioning all U.S. gasoline vehicle program owner guides,” said Ford spokesman Richard Truett. “Capless bezel labeling will allow the use of fuels containing up to E15.” Ford will allow 15% ethanol blends in vehicles as old as model year 2010 based on its own testing, Truett said.
Basel said that as E15 continued to advance through regulatory channels, GM designed its new vehicles to “perform efficiently” with the fuel if it became more available.
“We are focused on securing a safe and trouble-free driving experience for our customers and this modification prepares our vehicles for the potential intro of an E15 blend,” she said.
In August, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit dismissed legal challenges from trade groups representing automakers and refiners of the EPA’s approval of E15 for model years 2001 and up. But GM and Ford still question the blend’s use in older models. Truett said Ford is “confident” in its decision to support E15 in late-model vehicles because the company’s own tests confirm its safety only back to model year 2010.
As part of an industry group, GM performed multiple tests of E15 in vehicles, including model years 2001 to 2011. The tests found E15 damages the older vehicles’ engines, said Basel.
“For model-year 2011 or earlier vehicles we strongly recommend that GM customers refer to their owners manuals for the proper fuel designation for their vehicles,” she said. “In fact, we recommend this across the board.” READ MORE and MORE (The Hill E2Wire) and MORE (The Gazette)
* An earlier alert mistakenly reported that Chrysler has joined Ford and GM. That is not the case. Chrysler’s owner’s manuals only allow blends with up to 10% ethanol.