This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

Holiday Travel: Are You Pumping Bad Gas Into Your Car?

By Hal M. Bundrick

NEW YORK (MainStreet) More Americans are on the road this holiday season as year-end travel reaches record levels, according to the AAA. Most of us fully 91% -- are traveling by car, and that means quite a few visits to the gas pump. Ethanol is a growing ingredient in the fuel mix we pump into our tanks but the AAA is warning drivers about the "potentially negative" effects ethanol-blended fuels can have on our vehicles.

Most of the gasoline sold in the U.S. is E10, a low-level blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. Some "flex fuel" vehicles can take E85 gas, which is a high-level blend containing 51% to 83% ethanol, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. But showing up more often at the pump is an E15 blend of 15% ethanol, and the AAA is concerned with the way the industry has introduced and marketed E15 to consumers.

In 2011, the EPA approved E15 for use in 2001 and newer vehicles, but the AAA says it's not always a good way to fill up.

Must Read: Potential Employers are Scaling Back Social Media Screening

"Most drivers are unaware of the potentially negative effects of E15 and have not been properly educated about this new fuel," says the AAA. "More than 90% of the vehicles on the road today are not approved by manufacturers to use E15, including nearly all 2001-2013 models."

The not-for-profit travel organization says E15 should only be used in flex-fuel engines, which include 2001 and newer Porsches, and selected 2012 and newer vehicles.

"Sustained use of E15 gasoline in vehicles not designed for its use could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false check engine lights," AAA says. "Automakers are on record as saying their warranties will not cover claims caused by E15."

While newer model vehicles are increasingly compatible with E15 blended gas, the AAA says previous makes and models were never designed to use the fuel. The association claims it will take at least another decade before the bulk of America's vehicles will be tuned for E15 gas.

Ethanol producers are looking to expand sales of E15 gasoline in an effort to meet the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). The RFS requires renewable fuels such as ethanol to be blended into gasoline in increasing amounts each year.

Blenders unable to meet RFS requirements would be subject to significant fines, which could restrict gasoline supplies and result in significant increases to gas prices.

The AAA is seeking a reduction in requirements to the Renewable Fuels Standard for next year saying, "While ethanol has the potential to support the economy and reduce the reliance on fossil fuels, it is irresponsible to mandate more ethanol than cars can safely use."

--Written by Hal M. Bundrick for MainStreet

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $117.82 -0.18%
FB $105.47 0.06%
GOOG $750.27 0.28%
TSLA $231.11 0.64%
YHOO $32.95 -0.63%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,798.49 -14.90 -0.08%
S&P 500 2,090.11 +1.24 0.06%
NASDAQ 5,127.5250 +11.3820 0.22%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs