Technical barriers to the consumption of higher blends of ethanol
As part of an ongoing effort to facilitate debate on the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2), the Bipartisan Policy Center commissioned a research paper from the ICCT on technical barriers to the use of higher blends of ethanol. Pressure on the RFS2 has increased as statutory mandated volumes of biofuel exceed the “blendwall” of 10% ethanol in gasoline, and in response EPA has proposed reducing volumes for 2014.
This paper examines technical issues with using higher blends of ethanol in vehicles and fueling infrastructure and changes that could be made to accommodate these blends. The paper concludes that technical barriers do not prevent the use of higher blends of ethanol, and slow uptake of blends like E15 and E85 is due to other factors, including high cost, legal and warranty issues, and consumer awareness and acceptance.