The American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) has written a letter to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) asking for an explanation of why UL has changed its position on the ability of standard gasoline pumps to handle blends of ethanol up to 15 percent.
"For years the fuel marketing community has understood the standard 'UL 87' to cover the use of up to 15 percent ethanol in standard gasoline pumps," ACE said. "But in a January 7 statement, UL now says that those pumps are only certified to handle up to 10 percent ethanol, according to ACE information."
The letter points out that, even though the UL 87 standard does not specifically mention E10 or E15, it refers to underlying standards that employ such clear phrases as "ethanol does not exceed 15 percent" and "approved for gasoline/ethanol blends up to 15 percent ethanol" and "gasoline with up to 15 percent ethanol," according to the ACE information.
Consistent with these E15 definitions is the language in the standard for E85 dispensing equipment, UL 87A, which states "current dispensing equipment listings are limited to fuels with a maximum 15 percent alcohol," ACE reported.
"Today more than 70 percent of America’s gasoline contains some percentage of ethanol, most as the E10 blend," ACE said. "But the ethanol content per gallon of gasoline is set to increase in the future, as directed by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, which calls for a minimum of 36 billion gallons of renewable fuels to be used nationwide by 2022. This level of renewable fuel use surpasses the 10 percent mark of the nation’s overall gasoline consumption, meaning blends of ethanol beyond E10 will need to be used."
ACE said it believes that the dispensers can accommodate the blends UL’s original standards clearly state they can safely dispense. "If there is existing data that suggests this is not the case, it should have been presented in UL’s joint statement with the Department of Energy in December 2008," ACE said. "Barring that, UL should stand by its clear, consistent statements that pumps with the UL label are approved for blends up to 15 percent ethanol."