Most gas pumps in America that offer ethanol only offer E-10, a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says he’s questioning the major automakers specifically how their vehicles would handle E-20 which contains twice as much of the renewable fuel.
Grassley says he’s asking automakers what they know about performance and emissions for higher ethanol blends and how they share those findings with the federal government, especially the Energy Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Grassley was on a fact-finding mission to Brazil two years ago this month and found that nation has huge numbers of non-flex fuel vehicles running on ethanol blends as high as E-25. He says he asked the E-P-A to look into the use of higher ethanol blends about a year ago, as automakers initially said most vehicles couldn’t handle it.
Grassley says a recent University of Minnesota study found absolutely no problems with automotive equipment or performance from E-20. Earlier tests found more ethanol translated to more damage to engine parts, but the Minnesota study said there was no unusual wear on the metal, plastic and rubber parts. Iowa is already the nation’s leader in ethanol production and Grassley says a wider use of fuel blends containing at least double the ethanol holds "very tremendous potential" for economic gains in Iowa.
Grassley says it’s predicted that the E-10 market will be saturated soon, likely by 2012 or 2013, so developing better renewable fuels like ethanol will bring Iowa and the nation a better future. A new law in Minnesota will require that all gas sold in the state be the 20% ethanol blend by the year 2013.