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The Impacts of Bad Policies on Great Cars

Mark Green

Mark Green
Posted November 17, 2014

Saw this tweet last week from Jalopnik, a website “obsessed with the cult of cars and everything that moves you,” and it reminded me of an important point in the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) debate:

First, Jalopnik doesn’t actually do a car-of-the-year award because it considers them to be so much media hype. The tweet was a little jab at car awards. Still, Matt Hardigree, the site’s editor-in-chief, says the ’94 Miata really is a great, classic car.

Which leads to our point about the RFS: If you’re a lucky owner of a vintage Miata, don’t let E15 anywhere near its fuel tank.

Although EPA is helping lead the push to get more E15 into the fuel supply – gasoline that contains 50 percent more ethanol than the E10 fuel that’s prevalent across the country – the agency does not recommend E15 for vehicles older than 2001.

That’s because millions of vehicles on the road today – including those sweet ’94 Miatas and every Miata made since then  – weren’t designed for E15 and could sustain damage to engines and fuel systems if E15 is used in them.

For that matter, there also are a lot of 2001 and newer vehicles for which manufacturers don’t recommend E15 use:


We’re talking about real-world impacts of the RFS, a broken program that illustrates the flaws in trying to centrally plan – through government mandates – the marketplace and consumer behavior.


Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.