Orange Labels Might Scare Motorists

Critics question E15 label warnings.

Published on: Oct 27, 2010

When those bright orange warning labels appear on pumps dispensing E15 gasoline with 15% ethanol, some say it will scare motorists from putting the fuel even in cars where it's permitted. Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association, says he doesn't think anyone with a straight face would say this label would do anything except reduce the amount of E15 sold, even in applications where it's allowed.

Shaw questions the label's truthfulness because it says, in part, "fuel might damage other vehicles." Shaw says, because the government continues to study the impact of E15 on models from 2001 to 2006, there's no basis to say that E15 might damage cars older than 2007 models. He called that statement flat-out unsupportable and very prejudicial.

The Environmental Protection Agency announced two weeks ago that it was allowing the use of gasoline containing up to 15% ethanol in 2007 and newer cars and trucks. At the same time, the EPA proposed regulations, including the warning label, to ensure that the fuel isn't put in other vehicles. The ethanol content of gas used in conventional cars and trucks has been restricted to 10% until now.