Poll: 8 in 10 U.S. Voters Concerned About Latest E15 Push
Posted October 29, 2018
The Trump administration’s plan to push more high ethanol-blended E15 into the nation’s fuel supply doesn’t sit well with U.S. voters – for the consumer reasons we’ve been talking about for months (see here, here and here).
A new national survey of 1,001 registered voters across the country, conducted by Harris Poll, shows bipartisan concern about expanded sales of E15, which contains 50 percent more ethanal than E10 fuel, which is standard in the U.S. Key results:
- 79 percent of voters are concerned about expanded E15 sales and vehicle compatibility
The opinion is shared across party lines – by 81 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of Republicans and 77 percent of Independents:
- 83 percent are concerned that consumers could shoulder higher pump prices if service stations are forced to invest in new infrastructure to accommodate certain types of fuels.
- 68 percent are concerned about consumers mistakenly using E15 and causing damage to their engines.
- 81 percent are concerned that government requirements could exceed the 10 percent level of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply, which studies have shown could increase gasoline prices by up to 26 cents per gallon.
As we’ve pointed out, three out of four vehicles on U.S. roads today weren’t designed to use E15, which is critically important because, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average lifespan of a household vehicle is about 11 years:
Studies show that E15 could damage engines and fuel systems in those vehicles, and manufacturers have cautioned that using the fuel in a vehicle not designed to use it could void the vehicle’s warranty.
Frank Macciarola, API vice president of downstream and industry operations, talked about the new polling during a conference call with reporters:
“Voters understand that mandating a fuel that is not designed for use with nearly 75 percent of cars on the road today puts consumers at risk. American families should not have to be burdened with an unexpected car repair bill because of a fuel that our government essentially pushed into the marketplace.”
This latest push for E15 is an outgrowth of the failed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), whose mandates for ever-increasing ethanol use are part of a bygone era in American energy – when energy scarcity had policymakers looking at ways to reduce crude oil imports by requiring more ethanol in gasoline.
Record-breaking domestic crude oil production has significantly changed the U.S. energy landscape, reducing dependence on imports and strengthening the nation’s energy security. The RFS is outdated and in need of major reforms – real changes that align with today’s energy picture and protect consumers.
Read Macchiarola’s remarks for delivery below:
Today the American Petroleum Institute released the results of a new national poll conducted by Harris Poll, showing that the vast majority of voters are significantly concerned about the Trump administration’s proposal to increase the sale of higher ethanol blended E15 gasoline.
Consumers are speaking loud and clear. These numbers reinforce the need for the Administration to reconsider the decision to allow year-round sale of E15.
The poll results show that 79 percent of voters are concerned about expanded E15 sales and vehicle incompatibility. Eighty three percent of voters are concerned that consumers could shoulder higher pump prices if service stations are forced to invest in new infrastructure to accommodate certain types of fuels. And nearly 70 percent of consumers are worried about mistakenly using E15 and causing damage to their engines.
Voters understand that mandating a fuel that is not designed for use with nearly 75 percent of cars on the road today puts consumers at risk. American families should not have to be burdened with an unexpected car repair bill because of a fuel that our government essentially pushed into the marketplace.
This anti-consumer policy does not make sense. It makes even less sense when you factor in the vast collateral damage unleashed by the current ethanol mandate. Environmental organizations, anti-hunger groups, wildlife protection activists, grocers, restaurant owners and producers of poultry, pork and beef – all have spoken out against the ethanol mandate with concerns ranging from environmental and habitat protection to increased food prices and elevated costs for farmers and ranchers.
President Trump’s decision to allow for year-round sales of E15 is also contrary to the clear letter of the law. The waiver is explicitly disallowed under the Clean Air Act, and even the EPA has agreed in the past that the agency does not have the authority to waive the vapor pressure requirements that would allow year-round sales of E15. No matter how many times Acting Administrator Wheeler claims authority to make this decision, it does not change the fact that Mr. Wheeler’s assertion directly conflicts with the clear language of section 211(h) of the Clean Air Act.
The refining industry stands united, and we will do everything we can to protect consumers by challenging this policy to ensure it is not enacted. E15 is a symptom of the broken Renewable Fuel Standard, and it’s time for real reform.
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Previously, Mark was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor at an assortment of newspapers. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela have two grown children and five grandchildren.
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