On Feb. 27, U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner
(R-Wis.) introduced H.R. 875
. The bill would repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver decision related to E15 fuel, and the authority of the agency to grant further decisions in the matter, until the EPA seeks an independent scientific analysis of the effects of gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15).
“In the two years since the EPA granted a waiver to the Clean Air Act for the use of E15, several tests have been released which highlight the harmful effects of E15 on engines and their components,” said Sensenbrenner. “However, these tests have been summarily dismissed by the EPA, which remains stubborn in its position that the fuel is safe for consumers.
“What has been troubling throughout the EPA’s waiver decision process has been the agency’s willingness to base it on a single study conducted by the Department of Energy,” said Sensenbrenner. “Pro-ethanol groups will continue to argue that the fuel has been sufficiently tested and is safe for use. But automakers, the companies that design and build the engines for which the EPA is approving the use of E15
, have unanimously stated that use of this fuel will void warranties, damage engines and lower fuel efficiency. The fact that the experts who built the engines disagree with the EPA’s decision shows that further testing is needed on this fuel.”
The U.S. House Subcommittee on Environment, chaired by Rep. Chris Stewart
(R-Utah), held a legislative hearing
on “Mid-Level Ethanol Blends: Consumer and Technical Research Needs.” Former U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard
, American Motorcyclist Association vice president for government relations, was a witness at the hearing. Besides discussing the need for more E15 testing, the AMA raised concerns related to misfueling and the EPA’s mitigation plan, which initially included a senseless mandated four-gallon minimum fuel purchase.
The AMA has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines caused by the inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available, and has asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the effects of E15.
In October 2010,the EPA approved E15 for use in model year 2007 and newer light duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles). In January 2011, it added model year 2001-2006 light duty vehicles to the approved list.
Since the approved list includes many light-duty vehicles in use today, refineries, distributors, and fueling stations may choose to offer primarily E15 gasoline because of this action by the EPA. This concerns all motorcyclists and off-highway enthusiasts because this can affect the availability of gasoline with less or no ethanol (E10 or E0).
The new E15 gasoline formulation may appear at a nearby fueling station and motorcyclists need to be careful when using this new fuel blend in their motor vehicles. That is because no motorcycles or ATVs are currently on the approved EPA list and the use of E15 can void manufacturers’ warranties.
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