AAA Warns Motorists Not to Use E15 Gasoline-Outdated!

AAA Warns Motorists Not to Use E15 Gasoline-Outdated

Summary of eRumor:
AAA has strongly recommended that motorist avoid using E15 or ethanol gasoline in their vehicles.
The Truth:
Rumors that AAA has warned motorists not use of E15 or ethanol gasoline are mostly outdated and misunderstood.
E15 gasoline cannot be used in vehicles that were made before 2001, and AAA warned legislators that consumers had not been properly educated about that back in 2013. That has snowballed into (mostly false) reports that AAA has urged motorists not to use E15. .
Flap over gasoline that contains up to 15 percent ethanol, or E15, actually dates back to 2011. That’s when the EPA issued fuel pump labeling and other requirements for E15 gasoline blends. Additionally, the EPA issued waivers under the Clean Air Act that allowed E15 gasoline to be sold for use in cars made in model year 2001 and later.
In 2013, AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet testified before a congressional committee that sales of E15 should be suspended until stronger consumer protections could be put into place. Specifically, Darbelenet cited inadequate consumer protections and education efforts, as well as the need for additional testing by the National Academy of Sciences, according to an AAA news release:

“Congress’ decision to examine potential problems associated with the sale of E15 is encouraging news for motorists,” said Darbelnet. “Most drivers are unaware of the potentially harmful effects of E15 and have not been properly educated about this new fuel entering the market.”

“AAA is not opposed to ethanol, but we are against the way E15 has been introduced and sold to consumers,” continued Darbelnet. “We welcome the committee’s support today as AAA calls for additional impartial research and for regulators and industry to suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until motorists are properly educated and protected.”

By November 2013, AAA had applauded the EPA’s decision to decrease ethanol requirements, stating “while we would like to increase the use of alternative fuels, it is a plain fact that the Renewable Fuels Standard’s original targets are unreachable without putting motorists and their vehicles at risk.”
Given that the EPA heeded AAA’s concerns and decided not to ramp up E15 fuel standards too quickly, the issue should have been laid to rest in 2013 — but that wasn’t to be.
AAA found itself in the middle of debate over E15 and the development of alternative fuels. Michael Green, a public relations manager at AAA, clarified that the group was concerned with how the industry had introduced and marketed E15 to consumers — but that AAA was not opposed to E15 in general:

Ethanol producers have proposed expanding sales of E15 gasoline to help meet a federal requirement called the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).  The RFS requires renewable fuels such as ethanol to be blended into gasoline in increasing amounts each year. When Congress passed the law, experts predicted that U.S. gasoline consumption would continue to rise, which would support correspondingly higher ethanol use.  This has proven incorrect as gasoline consumption has remained relatively flat due to more fuel efficient vehicles, a weaker economy and changes in driving habits.

The volume of ethanol originally required by law in the Renewable Fuels Standard next year is likely to exceed 10 percent of the fuel supply. Exceeding this level is known as the “blend wall,” given that most gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol. The EPA does not believe it is possible to meet the RFS next year given market and infrastructure limitations with both E15 and E85, and has proposed reducing requirements to avoid the blend wall.

So, it’s true that AAA opposed expanding “blend wall” required under Renewable Fuel Standards in 2013 — but it has not opposed E15 or urged motorists not to use it so long as their cars were made after 2001.