Several weeks ago, AAA Auto Club joined the chorus of voices saying the federal government should not increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline. Some say too much ethanol in gas can damage engines.
Every gallon of gasoline your car now burns is 10 percent ethanol. It's been that way for years. Maybe you've noticed stickers on the pumps about E10.
Ethanol is made in America from corn, so it's a renewable fuel. But ethanol reduces miles per gallon and many drivers don't like that.
"It's pretty important," said Neil Cody of Susquehanna Township as he filled up at a station on Front Street. "I have about a seven or eight mile commute every day. Obviously, every penny counts lately."
Some say boosting the amount of ethanol in gasoline to 15 percent, creating E15 fuel, is a good idea because it would lessen our dependence on foreign oil. But critics say E15 could create bigger problems than just lower mileage.
Several auto manufacturers are against implementing E15 because they fear it could lead to engine damage, especially with older cars. Some mechanics agree that E15 will be a problem.
A mechanic for decades at his shop in Lower Paxton Township, Greg Hannold said he already sees ethanol damage in older cars, even from E10 fuel. He says injectors and fuel pumps are most vulnerable.
"We can see the damage and if they take the ethanol up a little bit, we're going to see more of it," Hannold said.
In the few mid-western states that now sell E15, pump stickers warn drivers not to use it in cars older than model year 2001.
Jason Lawrence is with Amerigreen in Lancaster, a company that's been very successful in marketing alternative bio-fuels for diesel engines and home heating. He said gas stations will have to get all new pumps because the extra ethanol will have to be added right at the gas station.
E10 fuel is blended with ethanol at gasoline distributors before it ever arrives at a gas station. All that infrastructure expense for new pumps and tanks could kill E15 before it ever gets to central Pennsylvania.
"Something's going to have to give with the blending of the fuel," Lawrence said. "Whether it's going to be seen here? I don't know. I don't have a crystal ball."
Some say Congress will have to change the laws that spurred developing E15 in the first place. To learn more about E15 fuel, go the U.S. Department of Energy website at http://energy.gov/search/site/e15.