Some Ethanol Stuff Suddenly Crystal Clear

Kansas Viewpoint

Auto gas cap invectives against anything above E-10 made now understandable; it's not ethanol, it's the base fuel

Published on: June 20, 2012
I had one of the world's most enlightening conversations today with ICM's CEO David Vander Griend. He was talking about why the auto industry is fighting E-15 and why it's reasonable that they are doing that.

It is, Vander Griend said, not about the 10 percent or the 15 percent that the public widely understands is ethanol. It is about what the oil industry puts in the 90 percent or the 85 percent.

What has happened, he said, is that refiners quickly figured out how to profit from the addition of ethanol to the fuel blend in multiple ways --including the ability for them to add high-boiling-point hydrocarbons to the blend. Automakers had to adjust to the added guck deposited in engines because of those additions to E-10. Now they are worried about adjusting to greater changes for E-15.

The problem they faced is the highly successful public relations campaign that blamed ethanol for the guck problems -- not the 90% actually responsible, but the 10% that truly wasn't. And now they fear that a 15% blend will mean a more inferior blend stock and more problems as a result.
So they put labels on fuel tanks saying stick with the 10% blend.

What they want, says Vander Griend, is a regulation that makes TODAY'S 10% blend formula the "base gasoline" for ethanol addition, so that we start with what we know today s E-10 and all that changes is more ethanol, not a change in the other 85% of the fuel.

This starts to bring things into focus, does it not?