PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The American Motorcyclist Association opposes a proposal from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to increase the amount of ethanol in the country's fuel supply by nearly 600 million gallons in 2019.
The 2019 renewable volume obligations announced by the EPA June 26 call for 19.88 billion gallons of ethanol to be blended into the nation's vehicle fuel supply in 2019, up 3 percent from the 19.29 billion gallons mandated for 2018. All of the proposed increase is in advanced biofuels-those made from non-food sources-while the amount of ethanol derived mainly from corn remains flat at 15 billion gallons.
"If these mandates are adopted, it could lead to an increase in the number of stations selling E15, which places motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle owners in greater jeopardy of misfueling their vehicles," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president of government relations. "The AMA opposes any increase in the amount of ethanol the government mandates for U.S. vehicle fuels, because none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in use are approved by the EPA to use fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol by volume.
"The AMA also fears that higher-ethanol blends, such as E15, will begin to push ethanol-free and E10 fuel out of the marketplace, much the way E10 has marginalized E0, the fuel required for older and vintage machines," Allard said.
The ethanol industry has been pressing the EPA to relax rules that prohibit E15 sales during the summer. And President Donald Trump has indicated he supports year-round E15 sales.
Studies show that most consumers shop for fuel by price, rather than ethanol content. And blends container larger amounts of ethanol by volume typically cost less at the pump than E0 or E10.
It is illegal to use fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol in motorcycles and ATVs, and ethanol can damage fuel systems and engine components and may void a manufacturer's warranty.
The AMA recommends using the fuel specified in the vehicle owner's manual.
The AMA also supports the passage of legislation to reform the federal Renewable Fuel Standard to better reflect the needs of motorcyclists and to protect their access to safe fuel.