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EPA - Environmental Protection Agency
Fuels & Fuel Additives


In accordance with the federal Clean Air Act (CAA), EPA establishes fuel quality standards to help protect public health and the environment from harmful gas and particulate matter emissions from motor vehicles and engines.

EPA issued standards in 1973 that called for a gradual phase down of lead to reduce the health risks from lead emissions from gasoline.  Beginning in 1989, EPA required gasoline to meet volatility standards (in two phases) to decrease evaporative emissions of gasoline in the summer months.  Upon passage of the 1990 CAA amendments, EPA began monitoring the winter oxygenated fuels program implemented by the states to help control emissions of carbon monoxide.  It also established the reformulated gasoline (RFG) program, which is designed to reduce emissions of smog-forming and toxic pollutants.  EPA also set requirements for gasoline to be treated with detergents and deposit control additives.  More recently, EPA has set standards for low sulfur gasoline and low sulfur diesel, which will help ensure the effectiveness of low emission-control technologies in vehicles and reduce harmful air pollution.



Fuels Programs and Regulations





E15 (a blend of gasoline and ethanol)

In response to a request by Growth Energy under section 211(f)(4) of the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has partially granted a waiver to allow fuel and fuel additive manufacturers to introduce into commerce gasoline that contains greater than 10 volume percent (vol%) ethanol and up to 15 vol% ethanol (E15) for use in model year (MY) 2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles, subject to several conditions. On October 13, 2010, EPA granted a partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (i.e., cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). On January 21, 2011, EPA granted a partial waiver for E15 for use in MY2001-2006 light-duty motor vehicles. These decisions were based on test results provided by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and other information regarding the potential effect of E15 on vehicle emissions. Taken together, the two actions allow, but do not require, E15 to be introduced into commerce for use in MY2001 and newer light-duty motor vehicles if conditions for mitigating misfueling and ensuring fuel quality are met. EPA is in the process of completing work on regulations that would provide a more practical means of meeting the conditions.

Prior to the distribution of E15, fuel and fuel additive manufacturers are required to register the fuel with EPA. For more information on fuel registration visit the Registration and Health Effect Testing page. There are also a number of other actions including changes to various state and local laws that may also affect the distribution of E15.

Learn more about the Notices and Updates and Regulations.



Executive EPA Summary of Ethanol Complaints:
  • Oxygenates have been used in gasoline since the 1970s as fuel extenders or octane enhancers. During the 1980s, oxygenates came into wider use as some states implemented oxygenated gasoline programs for the control of carbon monoxide (CO) pollution. Denver, Colorado, implemented the first oxygenated gasoline program in 1988.
  • The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments required oxygenated gasoline programs in several areas
    of the country that failed to attain the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for
    CO. Many new oxygenated gasoline programs were first implemented during the winter months
    of 19921993.
  • Consumers in some areas of the country expressed concerns that oxygenated gasoline has led
    to large reductions in fuel economy or poor engine performance. This chapter examines existing
    studies and literature related to fuel economy and engine performance. Large fuel economy
    losses (as high as 20%) have been claimed by some consumers.

  • With regard to fuel economy, the theoretical change in fuel economy as a result of the addition of oxygenates to gasoline is in the range of a 2% to 3% reduction in fuel economy. Existing research indicates that real world fuel economy changes correspond to changes in energy content. A 2% to 3% reduction in fuel economy equates to a less than 1 mile per gallon change in fuel economy for a car that averages 27 miles per gallon.
  • Engine performance problems due solely to the presence of allowable levels of oxygenates in
    gasoline are not expected. Although engine performance problems may be linked to poor
    gasoline quality, the manufacturing and handling actions that cause poor quality can occur with
    either oxygenated or non-oxygenated gasoline.
    Many engine performance problems are due to
    factors other than gasoline and may be corrected by relatively simple consumer actions.
  •   Download the Full Report
This is the information I have obtained. It does not match what the EPA says. As you can see, there are drastic differences that should in fact support the 20% fuel efficiency reduction complaints:

EPA's Conclusion:

Non-oxygenated gasoline may not be sold in areas covered by an oxygenated gasoline
program. Consumers, however, are not limited to purchasing gasoline only where they
They can and do purchase gasoline in both covered and non-covered areas, thereby
commingling the fuels. No unique problems have been observed from mixtures of
oxygenated gasoline and non-oxygenated gasoline.

Oxygenates have been used in gasoline for many years. Since the 1970s, ethanol has been
added to gasoline. During the 1980s, other oxygenates, primarily MTBE, came into
widespread use. Oxygenated gasoline blends are manufactured to meet the same ASTM
specifications as non-oxygenated gasolines and are therefore very similar in composition.
The fuel parameters of oxygenated gasoline are well within the parameters of gasolines that
have been in widespread use.

Engine performance problems due solely to the presence of oxygenates in gasoline are not
expected because of the chemical similarity of oxygenated and non-oxygenated gasolines
and because of the demonstrated ability of in-use engines to accommodate the relatively
minor differences.

Consumer concerns about large reductions in fuel economy are not supported by numerous
laboratory and on-road studies. Existing research indicates that the largest fuel economy
loss that could be attributed to the presence of oxygenates is 3%. Consumer estimates
frequently fail to account for several critical factors that would explain their calculation
error or provide the reason for lower fuel economy.


Gasoline Ingredient concentrations:

Diesel Ingredient concentrations:

Kerosene Ingredient concentrations:

Other Fuels and their ingredients  


Page Last Edited - 04/03/2022

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    Copyright 2003   All rights reserved.   Revised: 04/03/22.                                             Web Author, David Biggs
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