Earlier, the Bell blog talked about the bombshell news that broke back on November 30th that AAA is telling everyone not to use E15 due to warranty issues. This on the heels of most of the major automakers like Ford and Nissan now telling drivers that if you use E15 in one of their vehicles, you're completely stuck if something happens because your warranty is now void. The exception to this are few and far between - flex fuel vehicles, 2012/2013 GM vehicles, 2013 Fords, 2001-2013 Porsches. Only about 5% of all the vehicles on the road. That's about it. As soon as AAA issued their statement, USA Today picked up the story and the blogosphere has been steadily picking up on it.
Fox Business News is spreading the word as well. In this video from November, they interview car expert Lauren Fix on AAA's statement and the implications of the auto makers telling drivers that they're pretty much out of luck with E15. Here's a link to the video.
Some of the concerning statements in the video from Car Coach Lauren Fix and the Fox News Anchor during their discussion:
- Well, look, the problem is there wasn't a lot of testing done, and us in the automotive aftermarket, I've been testing the stuff for a long time. There's something called phase separation and there's all kinds of damage to emission systems, fuel systems and engines.
- You do not want to pump E15 into your car....the bottom line is that consumers are going to be hurt badly if you use this stuff.
- It's so highly corrosive that it has to be distributed in stainless steel tanks. Which are pulled by diesel vehicles, of all things.
- I'll tell you what happens is it starts off with the (phase) separation, your gas tank is now drawing just the ethanol. So it destroys fuel systems and I have proof because I talk to companies that manufacture fuel lines. They've got brand new vehicles with rotted out fuel systems and they have to produce product that they shouldn't be.
- And then when the gasoline is gone, and here's the interesting part, it's made three octane levels lower. And what that means is that 87 octane is really...84 octane. And that damages your engine because it detonates.
- But that's fine for the few flex fuel cars that are out there for everything else including these manufacturers...it's really important to know that it really will damage your vehicle and they know it. It actually destroys gaskets, too, because of the corrosivness of the ethanol.
- So when you're looking guessing that you'll save a few pennies, you say 'I'll buy the E15'. In reality it's going to cost you hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars down the road.
For everyone that has to use E15 or E10, we typically recommend treating it with a good fuel additive. There are a number of them out there that claim to solve ethanol problems (how do you know which one's work? Here are some things to look for.)
This post was published on January 4, 2013 and was updated on March 11, 2019.