2014 should be – again – an interesting year for the US ethanol industry. The big fight, obviously, continues over E15 (a blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) and a general increase in the amount of the biofuel in the US national gas supply. Some scientists say there is no "meaningful differences" in new engines, but there is nonetheless a broad battle over the Renewable Fuels Standard between the corn industry in the midwest (including politicians, like state governors), which is in favor, versus the oil industry, against. But here's the thing, automakers are already and quietly ready for more ethanol.
Many automakers are already and quietly ready for E15.
Ethanol Producer has collected the status reports of major automakers and finds them with a bunch of E15-ready vehicles. Ford has approved E15 for all of its new light trucks, cars and SUVs and General Motors says the same, and for all of every Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet and GMC made since 2012. Honda, Jaguar, Mercedes-Benz, Land Rover and Toyota are also either entirely ready for E15 with their 2014 MY vehicles or mostly ready (Toyota's '14 fleet is two-thirds ready, apparently). Jeep and Chrysler are two brands that still specifically say their vehicles are not to be used with biofuels stronger than E10.
What's interesting is that, by the automakers officially saying their vehicles are now E15 ready, there might be something to the worry that earlier vehicles are not ready. Or maybe not. Or maybe they're just listening to their lawyers and being extra careful. Either way, 2014 is going to be interesting.