RFA study shows auto manufacturers supporting E15, but not higher blends
New Renewable Fuels Association research shows more automakers approve of E15 fuel, but they are making fewer cars capable of using higher ethanol blends like E85. Robert White says, “It cuts both ways but we wish the flex-fuel vehicles were growing with the E15 vehicles.”
White tells Brownfield only Ford and General Motors are offering a total of 11 new FFV’s or flex-fuel vehicles that can run on higher ethanol blends for the 2021 model year, but FFV consumers have another option. “If you can’t find a brand new vehicle that is flex-fuel, there are millions of used ones out there in the marketplace and at every price point.”
White says it is unfortunate manufacturers are making fewer flex-fuel vehicles as the infrastructure to provide more E85 is expanding. “We have interest growing from the performance community that’s converting vehicles to use E85, and then you have the recent USDA infrastructure program that’s going to put a bunch more on the streets and stations around our communities in the next 18 months.”
For the lower blends, White says he reviewed owner’s manuals and other documentation going back to 2012 and found Ford and GM have supported E15 use for nearly a decade, with most other manufacturers following that lead. White says Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, Mitsubishi, and Volvo—representing less than 6 percent of U.S. sales collectively—do not support E15 use in their owner’s manuals.
White says changes in the Corporate Average Fuel Economy or CAFÉ credits were adjusted away from flex fuel vehicles and towards electric vehicles, helping disincentivize FFV production.