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.”
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