By Andrew Ganz
Monday, Dec 3rd, 2012 @ 9:50 am
 

AAA is hoping that it can derail the EPA's plan to begin selling E15 - a fuel with a higher blend of ethanol - based on a survey it conducted that shows drivers don't necessarily understand what the new fuel means.

The EPA has approved the fuel, which is 15 percent corn-derived, for use on 2001 and newer vehicles, but it has received mostly negative response from automakers.

Now, AAA is jumping into the fray in an attempt to convince the government to back down "until motorists are better protected," the automobile club said in a release issued to members of the media.

A study conducted by the automobile club revealed that about 95 percent of drivers surveyed had never heard of E15. It's not clear how the EPA intends to begin implementing E15, although the current E10 fuel - which has been approved for all vehicles - has essentially taken over ethanol-free gasoline at most stations.

"It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle," said AAA President and CEO Robert Darbelnet.

"Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers."

AAA's statements echoed those by most automakers that say use of E15 could void fuel-related warranty claims. Ford and GM have approved E15 for a handful of vehicles, while Chrysler says that none of its cars should use E15. Only vehicles approved for E85 use and a handful of outliers like 2001 and newer Porsches and 2012 and newer GM products are currently recommended for E15 use.