NREL Study on E-15 Compatibility Draws Misleading Conclusions

A new report by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) asserting that most existing fuel dispensing equipment components, including underground storage tanks, are compatible with E-15 is coming under fire by industry groups for drawing false and misleading conclusions.

The report, commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association, dismisses fuel retailer concerns regarding the infrastructure compatibility of E-15 and incorrectly draws a broad conclusion that existing infrastructure is compatible with E-15.  

Bob Greco, group director of downstream and industry operations at the American Petroleum Institute, outlined the challenges of the report in a recent blog post, “New Study, Continuing Problems With E-15.”

Fuel retailers can buy E-15 and E-85 equipment to install or replace existing equipment, but the conclusion that existing infrastructure is compatible with E-15 isn’t supported by the NREL study.

“If the ethanol industry believes that existing service station infrastructure is compatible with E-15, it can offer any retailer who wishes to sell E-15 indemnity against potential damage to the station’s infrastructure,” Greco wrote. “If there are fuel releases from underground storage tanks, the ethanol industry can offer to pay for the cleanup. … Until then the science showing that E-15 can damage some vehicle engines and fuel systems should be the guide.”

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman's photo

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman

Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman develops and executes communications strategies to advance NATSO’s public relations and advocacy goals. Tiffany also develops and oversees partnerships related to the NATSO Foundation’s public outreach initiatives. Tiffany lives in the D.C. metro area with her husband and their two sons.More
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