Members of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association (IRFA) made a 1,000-mile trip from Des Moines to Washington, D.C. to use a real world situation to bust a bogus claim by Big Oil. In an effort to scare consumers away from ethanol in general and E15 in particular, the oil companies put together a report that showed vehicles using ethanol had a 10 percent cylinder leakdown that could potentially leave motorists stranded by the side of the road. But the IRFA says their real world testing of vehicles, as well as the fact that millions of vehicles across the country are running just fine on ethanol, and presumably the same amount of cylinder leakdown, shows that it’s just a scare tactic.
“If they were right, the car we drove from Des Moines, Iowa to Washington, D.C. would not have run. It would have stranded us on the side of the road,” says Monte Shaw, IRFA Executive Director. “The testing they did doesn’t exactly equate to anything meaningful in the real world.”
Monte says they duplicated the oil companies’ Coordinating Research Council (CRC) testing of eight vehicles and did find the cylinder leakdown, but he points out that can be a problem with any fuel, and it doesn’t mean the vehicle will die on you.
“Every day [the cars running on E10] are taking kids to school, they’re driving people to work, they’re taking families on vacation, and in the case of the vehicle we used, just about every weekend the owner of it uses it to pull his 21-foot pontoon boat to a lake anywhere in the Midwest. These are cars that work,” he says.
Monte says the real goal of the petroleum companies is to scare people, in particular members of Congress, into not allowing E15, even though it has proved as reliable as E10 ethanol is. The IRFA group even toured around D.C. a bit, talking to congressional aids and tourists, telling them about the benefits of ethanol, and even taking a little time to stop at one famous landmark to show “Tugger,” the Jeep’s nickname, a monument to a pretty truthful guy.
“When we were in front of the Washington Monument, we distinctly heard the car say, ‘I cannot tell a lie. Big Oil is misleading Congress about E15.’”
Listen to my entire conversation with Monte here: Monte Shaw, IRFA