September 23, 2014

Biofuel representative accuses AAA of fearmongering

Triple A wants to stop the sale of E15 fuel, citing consumer confusion about the higher ethanol blend.

Joshua Morby with Wisconsin Bio Industry Alliance accuses the auto club of “fearmongering” and spewing out “gratuitous attacks” as a “veiled attempt by Big Oil to stop consumers from benefiting from its use.” He says, “It really shows their ignorance about this new fuel that can be provided as a choice to consumers, and it shows their ignorance about the level of testing that has been done on this fuel, and it just shows their general ignorance about ethanol.”

Pam Moen of AAA Wisconsin recently said, “95 percent of the vehicles on the road today are not compatible with E15 gasoline” and there’s a potential for vehicle damage with its misuse.

Morby says the fuel is not legally approved for older vehicles — just 2001 models and newer — so it’s a moot point. “You can also ask the question ‘what if you put diesel fuel in your car that runs on unleaded gas?’ … “what would happen if you put Coca Cola in your car?’ You shouldn’t do it. You’re not allowed to do it. There’s a plan in pace to make sure you don’t do it.”

Morby says Wisconsin’s bio industry and ethanol producers are already working with retailers and distributors to implement a misfueling mitigation plan, which is what Triple A had suggested. Moen said there needs to be better labeling and consumer education so nobody inadvertently uses the wrong fuel. Morby says, “Wisconsin consumers are smart enough to put the right fuel in their gas tank.”

Morby says AAA is needlessly worrying the public about a problem that does not exist, because E15 is not yet available in Wisconsin. Moen said AAA just wants to get on top of it before it becomes a problem. The EPA approved the use of E15 in June of this year for 2001 vehicles and newer.

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report 1:59