E15 Fuel

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Oldslowandugly
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E15 Fuel

Postby Oldslowandugly » Wed Apr 17, 2019 11:06 am

I have read about E15 [Ethanol-Gasoline blended fuel] being death to certain internal combustion engines like outboard motors. BoatU.S. Govt Affairs recently sent me an email urging us to contact our legislators to act on E-15. They have a report proving that E15 is damaging to outboards whether two-stroke or four-stroke power-cycle.

The [damage to outboard engines] seems to be overheating and metal piston damage from the lean conditions caused by the Ethanol.

I am using a 1993 Evinrude 48-HP engine that was made around the time E10 [blended fuel] began showing up at fuel stations. The owner's manual limits gasoline to not more than ten-percent Ethanol. I can only assume [1993 Evinrude 48-HP engine] has been fed a steady diet of E10 since then. The 1993 Evinrude 48-HP engine] has worked well with no apparent overheating or damage.

Further, E-TEC engines were designed to run on E10 according to [a secondary source, not Evinrude]

If E10 is okay, why is E15 so catastrophically bad?

If the problem is overheating then can't a carbureted engine [fuel-air mixture be enrichened] with bigger jets to compensate?

Or a computerized engine be programed similarly?

I ask because most small trailer-boats buy fuel at roadside fuel stations where E-15 is going to be sold.

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Phil T
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Re: E-15 damage to outboards?

Postby Phil T » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:11 pm

I would like to back this conversation up and ask what, exactly, is the "call" for allowing E-15 and:

Who is calling for allowing it?

Where will it be offered?

When will it be available?

Is it possible that Boat US is trying to chum the water on behalf of a certain sector of their corporate membership?

Given the very bumpy transition to E-10, I doubt politician would allow a speedy rollout without significant review and support of the engine manufacturers for cars, boats, tractors, trucks etc. Add the lack of interest in the environment and government adding regulation and I think it is a fools errand.
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jimh
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Re: Damage to Outboard Engines by E-15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:42 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:...why is E15 so catastrophically bad?


If, as you have stated, BoatUS has a report that proves E15 fuel causes damage, I would assume that in the report the mechanism for the damage would be explained. How else could you "prove" that the fuel causes damage unless you explain clearly how it does just that?

Since you have brought up the report as "proof", I recommend you read the report. I suspect you will find the reason for BoatUS to be concerned about E15.

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Re: Damage to Outboard Engines by E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Wed Apr 17, 2019 1:58 pm

Please note that if a fuel contains "15 percent" ethanol that means in one gallon or 128-ounces of fuel, there will be 19.2 ounces of Ethanol and 108.8 ounces of gasoline. In an E10 fuel, one gallon would have 12.8 ounces of Ethanol and 115.3 ounces of gasoline.

We see that in one gallon of E15 the ethanol content increases to 19.2 ounces of ethanol from 12.8 ounces in one gallon of E10 fuel, an increase of 6.4 ounces

Or expressed another way, compared to E10 fuel, E15 fuel will have a 50-percent increase in the amount of Ethanol per gallon.

When you look at the contents of "one gallon" of fuel in this way, you see that E15 is really a campaign to increase the market for ethanol in gasoline by 50-percent. This is being disguised as a "five percent" increase, which is totally misleading. It is a 50-percent increase in Ethanol.

If I were manufacturing a product and could arrange to get a 50-percent increase in sales by government legislation, I would be very happy to provide generous contributions to all the politicians who could help enact such legislation.

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby El Rollo » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:25 am

We've had nothing but problems with our gasoline here in California. They change the blends from winter blend to summer blend, and I am not sure what the difference is. I would assume it's what they'd like for us to believe is a cleaner burning blend for the summer. I feel it's just an excuse to raise the prices during the months in which they sell more gasoline. All of our blends have 10% Ethanol.

We have had to replace fuel lines, primer bulbs, and other items in the fuel systems of both our Boston Whalers. Most recently I barely touched the 'clear bowl' at the bottom of the Racor fuel/water separator and it just fell off. I replaced the filter itself and re-installed the bowl and in a few days it had just fallen off. Interestingly, our neighbor has the same boat 1986 Outrage with the same filter. When we told him what had happened, he replied, "Mine fell off too."

We spoke to tech support at Racor and they had issued a notice of this problem a while back. (we didn't hear of the notice) He said, the Ethanol causes the older bowls to shrink, resulting in them just falling off. So we ordered a new one that is ethanol resistant.

During all of this, I noticed that the recently-replaced fuel line coming from the tank to our Evinrude E-TEC was very brittle. We pulled it off. It was so brittle, you could lean it against a wall and it would hold its shape. This fuel line was not old, and was labeled ethanol resistant. It had severe cracks around the hose clamp areas as well.

For reference, this boat is kept on a trailer in the shade and always under a well ventilated cover. The area we live is very mild in temperatures. It never freezes, and we maybe have one week a year where temperatures get into the 90's.

We always try to purchase fuel from name brand gasoline stations, like Chevron or Mobil that turn over a lot of fuel. We only put enough gasoline in the tank for what we are going to need for the day, plus some extra for safety. We never store the boat with a full tank, and we always use premium 91-Octane per our Evinrude dealer's recommendation.

To compound the poor quality of gas here in California, as of yesterday, there are 27 states with the price of gas under $2.71 per gallon. I filled up my truck and paid $4.20 per gallon, and the price is still going up. Absolutely ridiculous.

Oldslowandugly
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Oldslowandugly » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:49 am

jimh wrote:Since you have brought up the report as "proof", I recommend you read the report.
Well of course I read it. That is why I added the link to what BoatU.S. called "proof". Let me add the entire email from them and maybe if will help clarify. Here is the email I was sent:

Take Action Now

April 16, 2019

Dear BoatU.S. Member:

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is asking for comments on a proposal to allow the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) year-round. It has been proven that E15 damages marine engines and this change could greatly increase the risk for mis-fueling. Tell the EPA to withdraw this rule and do more to protect your engine from inadvertantly using this damaging product.

Take Action Now

BoatU.S. has long had concerns over potential consumer misfueling with E15. Most recreational boaters refuel their vessels at roadside gas stations where pump-labeling requirements are minimal. Just one small E15 orange warning label is the only protection currently in place for marine and other off-road engines. Without additional safeguards against putting E15 into your boat, BoatU.S. believes the risk of misfueling will increase and, with it, instances of expensive repairs to boat engines and fuel systems. Using E15, even inadvertantly, may void many marine engine warranties.

The push for the summertime sale of E15 and adding more ethanol into the nation's fuel supply is a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). The RFS is the 2005 law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. To meet this government mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15 into the marketplace, but only for automobiles made after 2000. It is specifically prohibited to use E15 in marine and many other engines such as snowmobiles, chainsaws and motorcycles. The expanded sale of E15 could make it more difficult to find the fuels that are safe for your boat's engine such as ethanol free and E10.

Please take a few moments to urge the EPA to withdraw this proposal, do more to protect your boat's engine and ensure that an adequate supply of fuel suitable for your boat is available. We have pre-filled a message but feel free to change this to reflect your own experiences and concerns.

Take Action Now!

Thank you for being a BoatU.S. Member!

David Kennedy
BoatU.S. Government Affairs
GovtAffairs@BoatUS.com
703-461-2878 x8363
Advocacy.BoatUS.com



But I disagree with Jim's math. 5% of 10% is indeed another 50% so the supplier of the Ethanol is selling 50% more than before. But the total amount of Ethanol in a gallon of gas is still only 15%. I don't see why 10% is OK but 15% is catastrophic.

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Phil T
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Phil T » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:51 am

Okay, so I think I got the heart of the matter.

The EPA is considering a RULE change to allow E-15 in the summer months.

Here is the EPA press release.
https://www.epa.gov/newsreleases/epa-proposes-rule-allow-e15-waiver-and-improve-rin-market-transparency

Here is the BOATUS press release.
https://www.boatus.com/pressroom/release.asp?id=1498

Here is the actual proposed rule:
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2019-03-21/pdf/2019-05030.pdf
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jimh
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:54 am

El Rollo wrote:...They change the blends from winter blend to summer blend, and I am not sure what the difference is.


Summer and Winter gasoline differ in their vapor pressure. In warm weather the gasoline is blended to not have so much vapor pressure, and in colder weather it is blended for more vapor pressure. The higher vapor pressure for Winter blend is intended to make cold weather engine starting easier. In Summer this added vapor pressure is not needed.

When the transition is made, there can be a temporary supply chain shortage due to an interruption in production. The refineries have to make changes to the production process so they have to stop operations. Since they are shut down, they may do other maintenance at the same time. This may create a temporary shortage in the supply of fuel, which could explain a price increase.

According to the AAA survey, in Michigan at this moment the fuel price for REGULAR is about $2.85; for MID-GRADE about $3.19; for PREMIUM $3.53.

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:58 am

OLDSLOW': a gasoline engine does not think like you do. A gasoline engine sees E15 fuel as having 50-percent more ethanol than E10 fuel.

If the amount of ethanol were to be increased only 5-percent, the new fuel would be called E10.5.

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Phil T
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Phil T » Thu Apr 18, 2019 11:58 am

I should point out, Federal rule changes are a s...l....o.....w process. Some rule changes take 2 years, some take 10, some are still in review. How do I know this? I worked on Capitol Hill as a Senate staffer.

While it is good to submit comments at this early phase, note there is a looooong process to go. Be sure that engine manufacturers, fuel producers, fuel dispenser fabricators, marine accessory suppliers will each get their K street lobby firms working hard.

Bottom line. Don't panic.

Maybe there will be a change and the proposed rule change will get rescinded.
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Oldslowandugly
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Oldslowandugly » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:20 pm

Don't get me wrong as I agree with the use of Ethanol to produce gas with less emissions. Way back when lead was phased out of gas my '68 Firebird had high compression heads and pinged like crazy on the no-lead gas. Texaco offered "Gasahol" as a high octane replacement. I used it exclusively and my 400 engine loved it. I even got much better mileage with no detonation. Eventually low compression engines took over and the Gasahol was discontinued. I had to switch to low compression heads on the 400. My current 1993 SPL48 outboard motor is low compression and calls for only 67 octane fuel. The owner's manual states not to use more than 10% Ethanol. So when reading the report that BoatU.S. provided as "proof" I see the alleged damage as being overheating and metal deterioration from the excessively lean condition caused by the 15% Ethanol. I don't know much about the new computer controlled outboard engines but if the auto industry can produce "Flex-Fuel" engines that can electronically compensate for E-85 then why can't outboard manufacturers reprogram for E15? See what I'm getting at? What is the problem? If my 48 hp was running lean I would richen up the carb jets to cool the intake charge. I know why that happens as alcohol has only half the potential energy that gasoline has. Thus, racers running pure alcohol jet their carburetors to run twice as much fuel as they would running gasoline. So I don't see where the problem is that can't be adjusted for.

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:22 pm

Quoting from a quote of an email mentioned above, the OLDSLOW' says the BoatUS representative says:

It has been proven that E15 damages marine engines.


Quoting OLDSLOW':

They [BoatUS] have a report proving that E15 is damaging to outboards whether two-stroke or four-stroke power-cycle.


In the BoatUS email quoted, there is no mention of a report. BoatUS does not have a report. They link to a report produced by Mercury. The report is not BoatUS’s work.

It seems that OLDSLOW' is the person who is claiming that a report (linked above and produced by Mercury Marine Product Development and Engineering) is able to prove that E15 caused damage to marine engines.

However, if you read the report, it makes so such claims. The report actually says:

Additional investigation is necessary to more fully understand the observed effects and to extrapolate them to all types of marine engines over broader operating conditions.


The report also says:

Results are based on a sample population of one engine per test fuel. As such, these results are not considered statistically significant...


These observations do not sound like "proof."

As for the method in which damage that was observed was caused, the report does explain its best guess at the cause. In several instance they say:

[damage] was likely caused by lean misfire

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:26 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:...if the auto industry can produce "Flex-Fuel" engines that can electronically compensate for E85 then why can't outboard manufacturers[?]


Automotive engines routinely use exhaust gas sensors to adjust the fuel:air mixture. By sampling the exhaust gases the engine control system can alter the amount of fuel provided to the engine.

Marine engines usually have a wet exhaust. The wet exhaust prevents simple sampling by sensors for exhaust gas emission content. The amount of fuel provided to the engine is generally taken from a look-up table that has several parameters for input.

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:31 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:What is the problem [in allowing E15 to be sold]? If my 48 hp was running lean I would richen up the carb jets...


The "problem" is a public policy debate. Is there a general benefit to the public to be gained by allowing E15 fuel compared to the cost to the public to replace all the carburetor jets in all the carburetor engines in the USA so they won't be damaged beyond repair?

There certainly is a great benefit to producers of ethanol to have federal regulations that require a 50-percent increase in sales of ethanol in gasoline fuel.

Right now the USA is a net exporter of petroleum. One of the political elements of the ethanol mandate was to free the USA from reliance on Middle-East oil imports. With the USA as a net exporter of petroleum, that element has been removed.

The ethanol mandate is mainly a boon to ethanol producers and farmers. It has been thoroughly debunked to not be good science, as it takes more energy to make ethanol than burning ethanol produces. One of the big producers is ADM. ADM has already been convicted of global price fixing by the USA Department of Justice and fined hundreds of millions of dollars. Ethanol is just part of their latest scam.

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Oldslowandugly » Thu Apr 18, 2019 12:53 pm

jimh wrote:In the BoatUS email quoted, there is no mention of a report.


Yes, it is there. It was included in the BoatU.S. email.

That is my whole point. If this [E15] is so damaging to outboard engines, then why would the industry not protest that allowing E15 would be catastrophic to their products?

Why is BoatU.S. leading the charge against E15 if the industry is not?

I don't get it. Unless the industry wants to let it happen and then sell thousands of new motors when the old ones die an early death. That is the cynic in me showing

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:35 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:"Yes, [the report] is there. It was included in the BoatU.S. email.


When you reproduced the email you did not indicate there was an attachment to the email. There is nothing in the selected portion of the email you quoted that mentions or indicates or acknowledges a report. I don't know how you expected readers to know there was a report mentioned or attached or linked to the email you got unless you mention it.

ASIDE: there is no need for your to upload the report as an attachment to this discussion. The report is already available to anyone who wants to read it. It is not necessary to have the report uploaded and take up resources here.

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 4:44 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:Why is BoatU.S. leading the charge against E-15


I think BoatUS thinks E15 is not a benefit for their members so they oppose it. It is just like the ethanol farmers associations are probably urging for E15 because they think it benefits their members. Most associations work on behalf of their members.

Oldslowandugly wrote:...if the industry is not [leading the charge against E-15]?


I don't understand the basis for your assumption that there is no participation by anyone else in the boating industry against introduction of E15 other than BoatUS. Exactly where in this discussion did you establish that? Are you a member of any boating industry associations? Are those associations in support of E15?

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:06 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:...I agree with the use of Ethanol to produce gas with less emissions.


What is the basis for this claim?

What is a gas (I assume you mean gasoline) with less emissions? Are you talking about emissions from the gasoline itself?

Oldslowandugly
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Oldslowandugly » Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:25 pm

So, is E-15 harmful to outboard engines?

Not harmful?

And if so, then does that imply that E-10 is almost harmful, but not quite?

And if that is true then would E-11, E-12, or E-13 be OK?

I still don't understand why E-10 is acceptable but E-15 is not.

dtmackey
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby dtmackey » Thu Apr 18, 2019 10:33 pm

I'm not a fan of ANY ethanol in the fuel for stuff I own, but it's something I have little control over it. Years ago I started having problems storing my Honda lawnmower over the winter as it would gum up and develop deposits in the carb bowl and every spring I'd have to pull the carb and clean. Same concern in my Stihl chain saw and some other things I own. I've since started buying aviation gas from a local airport and use this in the last tank before storage and this has eliminated the concern in the engines that previously gave me trouble and no problems.

There seems to be a concern that E10 can cause corrosion to aluminum in fuel systems and can cause problems over time. By increasing the amount of ethanol to 15%, it has raised eyebrows.

Yamaha on E15. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vdOWdKK9VnQ

Mercury Marine on E15. https://www.mercurymarine.com/en/us/landing/fuel-and-fuel-systems/

I'm not going to research every outboard motor, but I think you get the idea.

D-

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Don SSDD » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:08 am

Ethanol in fuel causes problems with gaskets in carbs and rubber fuel lines that are not compatible.

It also causes problems with fuel storage since it is volatile and evaporates quickly and when stored it also attracts moisture and causes rust in steel tanks and lines.

As for detonation problems, it can be made with very high octane ratings, which I assume will eliminate detonation problems?

The other problem with ethanol is the cost, it costs more to make and add ethanol to gasoline than it does to make gasoline.

The ethanol lobby say one thing, the anti ethanol lobby say something else, somewhere in between is the truth?

It would be nice to have a non special interest scientist explain the pluses and minuses of ethanol in fuel in plain language.
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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Jefecinco » Fri Apr 19, 2019 9:42 am

I'm pleased we can buy ethanol free gasoline in roughly 30% of our area outlets. Even some brand name sellers such as Shell and all marinas offer the non-ethanol fuel. I have learned to use it in all of our small engine lawn equipment and outboard engines. I also use Stabil fuel stabilizer in the outboard fuel tanks. I don't know if the Stabil is helping or not but I doubt it does any harm.

If non-ethanol fuel was not available I would be using aviation gasoline.
Butch

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Sat Apr 20, 2019 11:26 am

If E10 has caused problems with some engines and some fuel system components, to conclude that E15 will cause those same problems and likely cause more of them is a reasonable inference. To come to that conclusion does not require rocket science.

The notion that a particular substance in mixture with another particular substance is not harmful, but if the concentration increases there may be harm is easily understood by comparing laws about alcohol blood levels while driving. At low concentrations of alcohol in the blood of a driver the driver is not considered to be impaired. If the concentration of alcohol exceeds a particular ratio, the driver is considered impaired. If this concept is understood and acknowledged, why is there so much difficulty in grasping the exact same analogy in ethanol concentration in gasoline?

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby Oldslowandugly » Sat Apr 20, 2019 1:19 pm

Here's my own real-world experiences with Ethanol. When first introduced to my old cars the alcohol scoured the fuel system of accumulated crud. That caused filter clogging on a regular basis. However, once scoured, the fuel tanks stayed clean and all was well. Engines ran smoother and mileage went up. Rubber fuel lines nowadays are alcohol resistant and have been for quite some time. Same with carburetor rebuild kits using alcohol resistant float bowl gaskets and needle/seats, and other soft parts. I have had no alcohol deterioration problems in a long time because parts have been upgraded over the years. Yes it makes fuel evaporate quicker. My solution is to run the gas out of the lawn mower at the end of the season so it is stored dry. As for a chain saw/pressure washer/ leaf blower/ weed whacker, I run the fuel out after every use since they usually sit long periods between uses. My outboard motor I run the gas out after every use but that is mostly because I leave the motor in the full tilted up position and gas drips out of the carburetors and fouls my motor well. No gas- no drips. That requires filling and priming for every use but I'm OK with that. My classic cars that sit for long periods have dry float bowls when I want to start them. They are dry in as little as three days of sitting. That requires several moments of cranking to fill the float bowl and start- not a big concern. The videos and other literature I have seen seem to claim that the alcohol will extract too much moisture from the air and that will ruin the outboards. Perhaps in a permanent large fuel tank that sits idle I can see that being true. I use six gallon portable tanks so my fuel is pretty fresh. I have a Racor water separator/fuel filter and I have never even seen any water at all in the separator bowl. They also warn against overheating, probably because the alcohol leans out the fuel mixture. So- why can't we just richen the jets to compensate? Or adjust the ECM like a Flex-Fuel vehicle? I guess what I'm saying is do we have to scream and yell against the implementation of E15 or can we just adjust for it?

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:34 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:... why can't we...adjust the ECM...?


Federal law prevents the user from altering the settings of any engine subject to exhaust gas emission regulation.

Explain now the ECM should be changed and how individuals would make those changes.

Explain the cost of the changes.

Explain what benefit occurs from using E15.

Reveal any affiliations you have with ethanol producers.

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Re: E15 Fuel

Postby jimh » Sat Apr 20, 2019 3:37 pm

Oldslowandugly wrote:... do we have to scream and yell against the implementation of E15...?


We have every right to oppose poor decisions made by politicians and bureaucrats with questionable motives and swayed by their own monetary interests and careers.