ROCHESTER, NY - Monroe County, N.Y., is participating in a study indicating E-20 use reduces tailpipe emissions of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide and shows "no discernible impact to vehicle drivability or the need for additional maintenance," according to Ethanol Producer Magazine.

The research team is led in part by Brian Duddy, a senior program manager at the Center of Integrated Manufacturing Studies at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).

The team tested E-20 in 10 older gasoline vehicles not specifically intended for ethanol fuel:

  • 2 Ford F-150s (1998 & 2004).
  • 3 Ford F-250s (2001 & 2002).
  • 1 Chevrolet Impala (2000).
  • 1 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 (2001).
  • 1 Chevrolet Suburban (2001).
  • 1 Chevrolet G3500 (2002).
  • 1 GMC Sierra 1500 (2002).

Each vehicle logged more than 100,000 miles on E-20 fuel with the starting mileage ranging from 20,000 miles to 120,000. With no measurable stress on the operations or mechanics of the vehicles after 100,000 miles, the fleet averaged an emissions reduction of 23 percent for carbon monoxide and 13 percent for hydrocarbon emissions, reported Ethanol Producer.

At the request of the U.S. Department of Transportation for a study on older, conventional vehicles that had not been previously run on ethanol, Duddy said, the county initially "splash blended" its own E-20 in a dedicated tank that only the vehicles in the test used. Using E-97 and eventually E-85, they created an E-20 blend. The research team then frequently tested the blend to ensure the percentage of ethanol in the fuel.

After the decision was made to fuel all 300 vehicles in the Monroe County fleet with E-20, its own "Green Fueling Station" was created, where biodiesel, hydrogen, E-85, and compressed natural gas are also available, Duddy said.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is also using the results of the test to promote the renewable fuel standard, according to RIT.

Testing on the Monroe County fleet is expect to end in November.