EPA decisions favor E10, hamper efforts to extend E15 availability
March 06, 2014
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- New regulations unveiled March 3 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency include two key provisions that help protect motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle owners from damaging their engines and possibly voiding manufacturers' warranties, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.
The EPA adopted E10 -- a fuel containing up to 10 percent ethanol by volume -- as its standard test fuel, beginning in 2017. The pro-ethanol industry had pressed for adoption of E15 as the standard test fuel. The AMA submitted comments to the EPA to oppose the E15 standard in June 2013.
Also, the agency refused to grant a waiver for E15 for its vapor pressure limit for fuels. This decision means that E15 fuels will be available in fewer locales during the warmer months, reducing the likelihood that motorcyclists and ATV riders could inadvertently fill their tanks with it.
"The AMA opposes the increased distribution and availability of E15 fuels," said Wayne Allard, AMA' vice president for government relations. "And we will continue to fight against the proliferation of blender pumps at retail locations, where consumers could inadvertently fill their tanks with the wrong fuel."
The EPA has approved E15 for use in 2001-and-newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles. But the fuel is not approved for use in motorcycles or ATVs. And manufacturers have warned that use of E15 in unapproved vehicles may void the warranties.
Blender pumps dispensing E15 at service stations create a high potential for inadvertent E15 misfueling by consumers.
The vapor pressure limit -- known as Reid Vapor Pressure or RVP -- is intended to reduce the amount of fuel vapors escaping into the air during refueling. During the warmer months, the pressure inside underground fuel storage tanks increases, resulting in more vapors being forced out when the refueling nozzle is open.
The EPA has granted a waiver of 1 pound per square inch for E10 fuels, but declined to extend that waiver to E15. That decision means that fewer service stations will be able to sell E15 fuels between June l and Sept. 15 each year.
In August 2013, the AMA drew attention to this issue when a Wisconsin retail outlet was found to be selling E15 and E85 fuel alongside E10. The warning labels on the blender pump did not meet EPA standards, and were placed on the pump in a way that may lead to confusion by consumers.
In response to a letter from Wayne Allard, Wisconsin officials pledged to require clear labels placed above the nozzles to alert consumers of the potential for misfueling.
For more information about the E15 issue, go to http://www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/amafuelforthought.aspx.