Vehicles made between 1994 and 2000, about 25 percent of the current U.S. light duty vehicle fleet, can burn gasoline fuel blends containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) with no negligible impact, reports Ricardo, Inc. (www.ricardo.com), the international technology and strategic consulting provider to the automotive and energy industries.
In the new study conducted for the Renewable Fuels Association (www.ethanolrfa.org), Ricardo, Inc. analyzed vehicles manufactured by six automakers (General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, Honda and Nissan).
Ricardo concluded that the use of E15 would not adversely affect fuel system components in properly engineered vehicles when compared to E10. Ricardo reviewed vehicle calibrations from the 1994-2000 model year timeframe to analyze the potential effects on the drivability, catalytic converter durability and on-board diagnostic system when E15 fuel was introduced to vehicles. The following table demonstrates the impact of increasing blends from 10 percent to 15 percent:
“The analysis provides conclusive evidence for the EPA that there is no reason to limit the availability of E15 to newer vehicles only,” said Bob Dinneen, president of the Renewable Fuels Association. (The EPA has previously reported that it would approve E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles only.)