EPA, E15 and Motorcycles

Posted: December 28, 2013 in Motorcycle, Motorcycle advocacy
Tags: , , , , , ,

As many of know the EPA is considering upping the amount of ethanol used in gasoline, commonly referred to as E15. This increase has many in the motorcycle industry concerned due to the potential impact on engines, performance, warranties and other issues.

E15labelx-wide-communityAccording to a press release from the Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) the EPA recently held a field hearing on this subject.  The MRF and others are working hard to prevent the use of E15 until a better understanding of the risks of the fuel to all types of vehicles.  Below is their press release which describes the EPA hearing as well as some background on the subject:

Motorcycle Riders Foundation Testifies Before Environmental Protection Agency, 12 Dec. 2013

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held a field hearing on the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in northern Virginia where the MRF had the opportunity to testify. There were over 140 panelists that represented a variety of concerned parties. The majority of the panelists were very pro-ethanol, with most of them coming from corn growers and biofuel associations. There were only a handful of people from vehicle-based associations. The hearing was open to general public.

The reason for the hearing was unclear, as the EPA does not have to adhere to any of the panelist’s suggestions. One possible reason for the hearing could be to give the pro-ethanol types a forum to vent after the EPA announced that it is considering lowering the amount of ethanol to be produced according to the RFS in 2014. The EPA specifically said that one of the reasons for the drop in production is a shrinking market place and customer base for the higher blends of ethanol, like E-15.

MRF Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie, had this to say, “Our message to the EPA is simple, first halt the sale of E-15 then conduct a comprehensive, independent, scientific study on the full effects of E-15 on all types of vehicles.”

To date the only study that has been conducted by the EPA on E-15 is on the tail pipe emissions. The purpose of the study was to make sure the higher ethanol blend did not pollute more than E-10. Prior to October 2010 the EPA had not allowed the sale of the higher blend according to the Clean Air Act (CAA).

When they issued the waiver the motorcycling community at large approached the EPA and told them we are opposed to E-15 for various reasons, one of which is the possibility of voiding any warranty work if the higher blend was used in the motorcycle. They tried to make various assurances that the pumps would be clearly labeled and that new pump technology will reduce the in line fuel from the previous customer. Currently blender pumps can hold 2-3 gallons and the new technology will reduce this to just a fraction of a gallon. The proprietor of the gas station must purchase the new pumps so that solution seems unlikely to happen anytime soon.

This is the perfect time to contact your Federal Representatives and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 875, a bill that would stop the sale of E-15 until a trustworthy study of E-15 is complete.

You can reach the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and if you need help finding your Federal Representative you can use this website http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

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