McAfee & Taft RegLINC - July 2012: Continued issues with E15 ethanol by Chris Paul

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[author: Chris A. Paul]

With the EPA granting a partial waiver for newer vehicles to use E15 (15%) rather than E10 ethanol in gasoline blends (see RegLINC September 2011 article titled “EPA green lights E15 despite resistance from industry groups”) science and industry are taking an even harder look at the potential impact of such use. A recent analysis by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Underwriters Laboratories indicates that the higher ethanol levels could cause failures in gasoline storage tanks and pumps, primarily due to gasket and seal failures. These issues were anticipated as ethanol has previously been associated with excessive heat issues damaging cylinder heads, and damage to hoses, gaskets and other flexible components, and stress corrosion cracking in piping.