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DC Insider: Is E30 fuel coming to a pump near you?

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If the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has its way, then E30 fuel is coming to a gas pump near you.

Here’s why.

Automobile and motorcycle manufacturers must certify that the on-highway vehicles they produce will meet applicable U.S. EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration emissions, fuel economy and safety requirements prior to selling the vehicles. The fuel that the vehicles must use for this requirement is called the “certification fuel.”

By administrative fiat, the EPA now proposes to change the certification fuel to E15, with an allowance for manufacturers to petition the EPA for an E30 certification. This proposal, if promulgated, will create an environment where this country will have a divided fleet of engines requiring different types of fuel.

The current certification fuel is E0 – that is, fuel that has no ethanol content whatsoever.

Changing the certification fuel to E15 or E30 is at odds with the 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles currently in use, not to mention the legacy fleet of cars, boats, lawnmowers, generators and hundreds of millions of small engines in commerce today. None of these vehicles and engines is designed to operate on fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol.  

The AMA believes that the current certification fuel should not be changed to reflect what the EPA calls “forward-looking” assumptions about what “could become a major gasoline blend over the next 10-15 years,” such as E15 or E30.

Currently, the risks of increasing E15 in the marketplace will negatively impact every American. Since the EPA used only one test to determine whether E15 is safe for vehicles before granting a waiver allowing E15 into the marketplace, the AMA urges the agency to allow for an independent scientific study of E15. We also request that motorcycles and ATVs be included in the study.

The AMA has expressed concerns about E15 being mistakenly used and damaging engines in motorcycles and ATVs, and about the continued availability of gasoline that has no ethanol, or gasoline with only a 10 percent blend, that is safe for use in motorcycles and ATVs.

With the EPA wanting to certify fuel at possibly E30, every motorcyclist should be very concerned.

This is why we urge you join the American Motorcyclist Association and fellow motorcyclists at the AMA E15: “Fuel For Thought” lobby day in Washington, D.C., on June 19. The event includes a ride and a rally at the U.S. Capitol, and will educate lawmakers about the need to research the possible harmful effects of E15 fuel on motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines. For more information, go to

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