Proposed EPA E15 gasoline pump warning label for ethanol contentEnlarge Photo
The Department of Energy has hit out at the recent Coordinating Research Council study into damage caused by using E15 gasoline.
In its rebuttal, the DoE points out several flaws in the CRC's study, and says the Council failed to establish a proper control group to determine the statistical significance of the results.
In the study, the latest in a line looking into the effects of raising ethanol content from E10 to E15, the CRC claimed that over two years of testing E15 in vehicles made between 2001-2009, two of the eight vehicles tested suffered significant wear. Another would have failed an emissions test.
The DoE highlights several flaws from the CRC study, including:
In its rebuttal, the DoE also cites its own research using standard gasoline, E10, E15 and E20, on 86 vehicles, using an EPA-approved 120,000-mile test procedure.
During this testing, the DoE found no statistically significant loss of performance on any of the fuel blends, and using the CRC's "leakdown" figure for compression, found no correlation between loss of compression and the type of fuel used.
Results are still uncertain for cars built before 2001, so our advice would be to steer clear of higher ethanol blends on earlier vehicles.
However, the debate looks set to rumble on as far as using E15 in later models goes--this is unlikely to be the last you'll hear from either side of the debate.
You can read the DoE's full rebuttal here.