Posts Tagged ‘Environmental Protection Agency’

AAA research reveals need for regulators and industry to suspend E15 sales to protect motorists

ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 30, 2012) – A recent survey by AAA finds a strong likelihood of consumer confusion and the potential for voided warranties and vehicle damage as a result of the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) recent approval of E15 gasoline. An overwhelming 95 percent of consumers surveyed have not heard of E15, a newly approved gasoline blend that contains up to 15 percent ethanol. With little consumer knowledge about E15 and less than five percent of cars on the road approved by automakers to use the fuel, AAA is urging regulators and the industry to stop the sale of E15 until motorists are better protected.

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Only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today are approved by manufacturers to use E15 gasoline, based on a survey conducted by AAA of auto manufacturers. AAA automotive engineering experts also have reviewed the available research and believe that sustained use of E15 in both newer and older vehicles could result in significant problems such as accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel-system damage and false “check engine” lights for any vehicle not approved by its manufacturer to use E15.

“It is clear that millions of Americans are unfamiliar with E15, which means there is a strong possibility that many motorists may improperly fill up using this gasoline and damage their vehicle,” said AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Bringing E15 to the market without adequate safeguards does not responsibly meet the needs of consumers.”

Unsuspecting consumers using E15 could end up with engine problems that might not be covered by their vehicles’ warranties. Five manufacturers (BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen) are on record saying their warranties will not cover fuel-related claims caused by the use of E15. Eight additional automakers (GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo) have stated that the use of E15 does not comply with the fuel requirements specified in their owner’s manuals and may void warranty coverage.

The only vehicles currently approved by automakers to use E15 are flex-fuel models, 2001 model-year and newer Porsches, 2012 model-year and newer GM vehicles and 2013 model-year Ford vehicles. These approvals extend only to cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles (SUVs). The use of E15 is expressly prohibited in heavy-duty vehicles, boats, motorcycles, power equipment, lawn mowers and off-road vehicles.

“The sale and use of E15 should be suspended until additional gas pump labeling and consumer education efforts are implemented to mitigate problems for motorists and their vehicles,” continued Darbelnet. “Consumers should carefully read pump labels and know their auto manufacturer’s recommendations to help prevent any problems from E15.”

AAA urges fuel producers and regulators to do a better job of educating consumers about potential dangers before selling E15 gasoline. This outreach should include a consumer education campaign and more effective pump labels, among other potential safeguards to protect consumers and their vehicles. AAA also recommends additional testing to conclusively determine the impact of E15 use on vehicle engines and fuel system components. At least  ten gas stations currently sell E15 and that number is expected to grow, which means now is the time to suspend sales before more retailers begin offering the fuel.

The EPA in June officially approved the sale of E15 after receiving a waiver request from producers interested in expanding the use of corn-based ethanol. Despite objections by auto manufacturers, the EPA approved the use of E15 gasoline in flex-fuel vehicles and 2001 model year and newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles and SUVs. AAA urges consumers to follow the recommendations of manufacturers to truly protect themselves from voided warranties or potential damage.

AAA supports the development and use of alternative fuels. More than 95 percent of the gasoline sold in the United States contains up to 10 percent ethanol. Lower ethanol blends should remain available to consumers while the challenges with E15 are addressed.

The survey findings related to consumer knowledge of E15 are from a telephone survey conducted among a national probability sample of 1,012 adults comprising 504 men and 508 women 18 years of age and older, living in private households in the continental United States.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

AAA prepares drivers for what to do when new vehicles don’t include a spare tire.

ORLANDO, Fla., (January 25, 2012) – Buying a car can be a stressful experience. One thing buyers could depend upon was that the new vehicle they were about to purchase included a spare tire. That may not always be the case. To meet new government fuel efficiency standards some vehicle manufactures are omitting heavy spare tires and equipping new vehicles with an emergency sealant and inflator kit or tires that if damaged can run reasonable distances without air.

In 2010, the Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency established new corporate average fuel economy standards for vehicle model years 2012 to 2016. The new standards are set at a combined 29.7 mpg for the 2012 model year, increasing to 34.1 mpg by 2016.

Achieving these standards will require many changes to the vehicles we drive.  One area of focus is to reduce the weight of vehicles without compromising occupant safety.  A spare tire, related tools and a jack can weigh more than 40 pounds. That may seem like a small amount but every little bit helps and unlike other weight saving changes, it doesn’t add cost to the vehicle.  

“Unfortunately many vehicle owners may be unaware that their vehicle has no spare tire until they experience a flat tire.” says John Nielsen, AAA National Director of Auto Buying, and Consumer Information. “Consumers should review their owner’s manual and emergency maintenance supplies they have in the vehicle and be informed about alternatives to a spare to prevent panic or a delay when encountering a flat tire.”

AAA recommends the following to ensure you are informed and prepared:

  • Inspect the car and consult your owner’s manual. If the vehicle has a spare, be sure it is properly inflated and stowed. If you cannot locate a spare tire, ensure your vehicle has an alternate solution. Options include the run-flat tires that allow the car to be driven to a safe location or an emergency sealant and inflator kit.  
  • If you carry a sealant, AAA recommends that you check the date and replace it every five years or after its use. Sealant can become less effective with age.

AAA members needing assistance with a flat tire can request roadside rescue at (800) AAA-HELP or by downloading the smartphone app, AAA Roadside. AAA members can also eliminate the stress of buying a new car by using the AAA Auto Buying Tools App. Build the car you want, including color and trim level, and the AAA app will give you information on available options, available incentives, crash safety ratings, AAA reviews, images and more.  

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

Washington, D.C., May 25, 2011

AAA supports today’s announcement by the Obama Administration unveiling the new model year 2013 fuel label that informs consumers about a vehicle’s annual fuel costs/savings and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Leading up to today’s announcement, AAA submitted comments supporting these consumer improvements.

“Reducing fuel costs and being mindful of the vehicle’s environmental impact are top of mind for many Americans these days.This new and enhanced label will arm consumers with more information in order to make informed purchasing decisions when it comes to new vehicles,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet.

Last November, AAA provided written comments to the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on the proposed label changes. AAA viewed these changes as important because consumers deserve easy to understand, comprehensive information on the energy cost savings and environmental impact of vehicles while making purchasing decisions. AAA has been active on the issue of accurate and comprehensive vehicle labeling for many years.In 2006, AAA was one of the leading consumer groups that worked closely with the EPA to revise its testing procedures for fuel economy to ensure that vehicle stickers provided motorists with accurate, real-world miles-per-gallon information.

With today’s announcement, AAA plans to help educate the public about the new vehicle labels through AAA’s member magazines, websites and social media channels. “AAA will be informing the public about the improved features of the new vehicle labels and continuing to advocate on behalf of our members on fuel conservation and efficiency issues,” Darbelnet said.

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.

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