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Annual RFA Survey: Virtually All Automakers Endorse E15

The Renewable Fuels Association’s annual review of vehicle owner’s manuals and warranty statements indicates that E15 is explicitly approved by the manufacturer for use in the vast majority of model year 2023 cars and light trucks. Notably, for the first time, Mitsubishi lists E15 as an approved fuel in some of its 2023 vehicles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved the use of E15 in all vehicles built in 2001 or later, representing more than 96 percent of the vehicles on the road today, but automakers only began listing E15 as a recommended fuel in 2012.

According to the RFA analysis of model year 2023 vehicle owner’s manuals and warranty statements and current market share data, more than 94 percent of new light-duty gasoline vehicles are explicitly approved by the manufacturer to use E15. Only Mercedes-Benz, Mazda, and Volvo do not list E15 as a recommended fuel in their owner’s manuals, even though E15 is legally approved by EPA for use in all vehicles built since 2001. Mitsubishi lists E15 as an approved fuel for the 2023 Outlander, but the fuel does not appear in owner’s manuals for other models.

Notably, BMW and Mini continue to approve the use of gasoline containing up to 25 percent ethanol in their vehicles. New for 2023, Toyota’s GR Supra—co-developed with BMW—also follows suit by allowing E25.

When it comes to the E85 Flex Fuel blend, however, the story remains vastly different. Far fewer models are reported available as flex-fuel vehicles, or FFVs, that run on fuel blends containing up to 85 percent fuel ethanol. As was the case in 2022, only Ford and General Motors now offer FFVs in the United States, most of which are for fleet purchases only. For model year 2023, the only FFVs available to consumers are select Ford Explorer, F-150 and Transit models. As recently as model year 2015, more than 80 different FFV models from eight manufacturers were available to consumers.

“We’re happy to see automakers continuing to embrace lower-cost and lower-carbon E15,” said RFA President and CEO Geoff Cooper. “As we saw throughout 2022, higher blends of ethanol provide great value to drivers and are better for the environment, the climate and public health. Today’s ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by half compared to gasoline, and we’re well on the way to net-zero ethanol. As great as the support is for E15, American consumers need more options at the gas pump, and we will continue to encourage automakers and the Biden administration to recommit to FFV production to help us reach carbon neutrality by mid-century, and to provide drivers a practical and affordable high-performing fuel option.”

At present, more than 5,600 gas stations sell E85 and other flex fuels in the United States, and over 2,800 offer E15. Click here for locations and a price tracker, and click here for more information on ethanol blends.

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