Fuel Blending Guide Will Bring Consistency

FROM THE AUGUST ISSUE: Emissions testing reforms needed to reduce misinformation about ethanol.
By Dave VanderGriend | July 31, 2019

Access to ethanol is on the rise now that E15 can be sold year-round. As consumers start to use E15, hopefully they will come to recognize the engine, economic and environmental benefits of this ethanol blend. Drivers using E15 know it’s a great fuel, but a simple internet search leaves the average driver with a lot of conflicting information when it comes to the benefits of ethanol.

The misinformation is largely because of the way fuel and emissions testing is conducted by the U.S. EPA and other research organizations. Earlier this year, the Urban Air Initiative partnered with independent consultant Future Fuel Strategies to review, assess and compare nearly 100 different peer-reviewed vehicle emission studies. This independent review found that the main contributing factor to the vast differences in results when it comes to ethanol and emissions is the way test fuels are blended. The consultants concluded there is a need for an equitable and defensible method for predicting the effects of different fuel blends.

As a result, the Urban Air Initiative commissioned Future Fuel Strategies to develop a fuel blending guide that can be used in future emission studies involving ethanol. The guide will develop specific methodologies for emission analyses involving ethanol. It will also develop a vehicle engine test procedure and propose how data should be treated statistically. The development of the fuel blending guide will engage relevant stakeholders in the ethanol, oil and auto industries, as well as in government. We believe that by engaging with stakeholders and receiving input, this fuel blending guide will benefit all of the affected industries and will be proven valuable when used in future studies involving ethanol and emissions.

The Urban Air Initiative believes that if nothing changes with current practices, ethanol’s benefits will continue to be limited. Until fuel and emission testing becomes uniform across all research institutions, there will be conflicting and confusing information about ethanol, and growing the market here and abroad will remain a challenging endeavor.

We know the truth: Adding ethanol to gasoline reduces toxic aromatic compounds, the most toxic parts of gas. This reduces particulate matter, the precursor to health problems like heart disease and asthma. Plus, ethanol increases octane and is better for your engine and your wallet. It’s time the studies reflect reality. We are looking forward to the great things this fuel blending guide can do for the ethanol industry as we move to E15 and beyond.

Author: Dave VanderGriend
President, Urban Air Initiative