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DC Insider: Another dynamic may contribute to inadvertent E15 misfueling

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There’s a new dynamic that may contribute to inadvertent E15 misfueling: Reid Vapor Pressure.

What is Reid Vapor Pressure, or RVP?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, RVP is “a common measure of and generic term for gasoline volatility. EPA regulates the vapor pressure of gasoline sold at retail stations during the summer ozone season (June 1 to September 15) to reduce evaporative emissions from gasoline that contribute to ground-level ozone and diminish the effects of ozone-related health problems.”

How can RVP contribute to inadvertent E15 misfueling?

The American Motorcyclist Association recently discovered a retailer in Wisconsin selling E15 with a label that does not meet the current labeling requirements per the EPA misfueling mitigation plan.

This discovery prompted the AMA to research the validity of this new label.

The AMA learned that the retailer in question is located in a “volatility attainment area” that prohibits the sale of gasoline with a RVP that exceeds 9.0 psi.

Because of the RVP issue, the retailer affixed a label that states, “Stop! Not Gasoline! This fuel is designed to operate in Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) only. Please consult your owner’s manual before fueling if you are unsure if you are operating an FFV.”

Yet, the EPA informed the AMA in a response to our inquiry that it “does not have any fuel dispenser labeling requirements for RVP. However, some states may have independent labeling requirements.”

Does Wisconsin have independent labeling requirements with regard to the RVP season? If so, how does it comply with the federal regulations that state that it must be gasoline during the RVP season. The label clearly states that this not gasoline.

Moreover, the federal regulation states the ethanol blend “must be at least 9% and no more than 10% (by volume) of the gasoline” during the RVP season.

How does an E15 fuel that contains up to 15 percent by volume comply with the federal regulations?

More importantly, how will motorcyclists know this fuel is unsafe for their motorcycles?

These are the questions sent to Wisconsin in an effort to address our concerns with the RVP label on an E15 blender pump.

Once the AMA receives a reply, we will be sure to share it with AMA members and all concerned motorcyclists.

The bottom line—the AMA wants access to safe fuels for motorcycles and ATVs. Given marketplace realities, wherever E15 is sold there will very likely be inadvertent misfueling issues. Motorcycles and ATVs are not approved for E15 use, and inadvertently misfueling a motorcycle or ATV has the potential to not only damage the engine and fuel system but also to void a manufacturer's warranty.

The loser of any inadvertent misfueling is the motorcyclist and ATV rider. The AMA stands behind not only its members, but all riders, in calling for more extensive testing for E15 and more thorough misfueling safeguards.

Get the facts on this important issue with the AMA’s E15 and Motorcycles Q&A.

Like always, the AMA has you—the motorcyclist—in mind concerning the potentially harmful effects of E15 fuel on your ride.

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