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DC Insider: Pro-ethanol group calls E15 misfueling concerns absurd

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On June 18, boosters of the untested-for-motorcycles E15 fuel blend (15 percent ethanol by volume) issued a statement saying there is no need for misfueling concerns for motorcycles as E15 becomes available to the public. It specifically cited the American Motorcyclist Association, in part, for delaying the availability of E15 nationwide in a press conference call.

The group insisted that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency “has seen to it that E15 is clearly labeled at fueling stations.” Additionally, the group released an E15 fact sheet for motorcyclists. The fact sheet stated that E15 is illegal to put into a motorcycle engine.

Telling motorcyclists that E15 use is illegal completely misses the point because motorcyclists don't want to use it unless independent testing confirms it is safe. One of the AMA’s concerns has always been that riders might unintentionally put E15 in their fuel tanks due to confusing implementation of the EPA Misfueling Mitigation Plan and the possibility of residual E15 fuel left in a fuel hose, which could be as much as one-third of a gallon.

So now, besides having serious concerns about the potential harmful effects of unsafe fuel and inadvertent misfueling, AMA members and the motorcycling community have to worry about the consequences of breaking a federal law.

The AMA is troubled by the EPA plan for retailers to avoid inadvertent misfueling by consumers because the plan does not provide clarity to AMA members and the public. For example, it calls for yet another label on a blender pump that already has many labels. The plan does not require any physical barriers in the fueling nozzle/receptacle, as was provided when the nation transitioned from leaded to unleaded fuel. Finally, the plan calls for a single, separate E10/E0 fuel pump when E15 will be sold through a blender pump and signage directing consumers to an E10-or-lower fuel pump.

In addition to our concerns with the EPA Misfueling Mitigation Plan, we question if every retailer selling E15 will abide by its requirements. If a retailer does not clearly label E15, a motorcyclist may inadvertently receive it, believing it is an E10 or E0 blend. If a retailer does not separate E10 from E15 in a blender pump, a motorcyclist selecting E10 can inadvertently receive more than a quart of E15 fuel leftover in the pump hose. Or if a retailer offers only a single pump with E10/E0, what options are left when the pump runs out of what is likely to be the most popular fuel offered at that station?

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

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