On March 20, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce initiated a bipartisan review of the Renewable Fuel Standard by issuing the first of a series of white papers. The goal of the white papers is to examine a number of issues emerging with the current fuels available to motorists and solicit input from interested stakeholders.
The first one examines the “Blend Wall,” which is the limit at which ethanol can be readily added to the gasoline supply in order to comply with the RFS. The AMA did so, and provided comments to questions pertaining to E15 fuel, a blend of gasoline that includes up to 15 percent ethanol by volume.
We explained how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow E15 into the marketplace would impact every American who owns motorcycles and ATVs, not to mention cars, lawnmowers, boats and snowmobiles. Manufacturers have stated that the use of E15 may void warranties. In off-road engines, the effects can even be dangerous for users.
Moreover, we indicated to the committee our concerns about E15 being mistakenly used and damaging engines and how the EPA’s initial misfueling mitigation plan was to require four-gallons of gasoline to help dilute the residual E15 left in the blender-pump hose – not a very practical solution for motorcyclists and ATV riders!
At the time, the AMA objected to this plan because our members’ fuel tanks’ capacities are normally two-to-three gallons on average. We also objected to the concept of any fuel purchase mandate whatsoever.
So, on Feb. 7, the EPA posted its new misfueling mitigation plan.
Under the new option, retailers who use a blender pump to sell E15 and E10 fuel through the same hose must also have a separate E10/E0 fuel pump. Those retailers would be required to have a label on the blender pump that reads: “Passenger Vehicles Only. Use in Other Vehicles, Engines and Equipment May Violate Federal Law.” Retailers would also be required to have signs indicating the location of the dedicated E10-or-lower fuel pump. There would be no minimum-fuel-purchase requirement at that pump.
Given the growing controversy over E15, the AMA can only imagine how many motorists and motorcyclists will be lining up at that single pump to get E10-or-lower fuel! That’s why we continue to push for common-sense solutions and, in the case of E15 fuel, we want an independent scientific study that documents the effects of this fuel on motorcycle and ATV engines. That’s being proposed now in Congress, and we’ll report on that in another blog post.
Just another example of the AMA looking out for you—the rider!