• Mar 25, 2011
Here we go again. The Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) approval of E15 (a fuel consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline) has prompted diverse trade groups – those representing automotive, marine, motorcycle, outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft and snowmobile manufacturers – to fire off a petition calling on the EPA to mandate the continued availability of E10. The groups argue that millions of engines were not developed and are not warranted to run on E15.

The groups are concerned that when fueling stations begin to offer E15 this summer, E10 will vanish from the pumps. Kris Kiser released this statement on behalf of the organizations involved:
Misfueling is our prime concern, and we foresee that consumers will be forced to fuel with E15 unless EPA requires stations to carry both legacy (E10) and new E15 fuels. Many stations may not be equipped to accommodate an additional fuel, leading them to choose between E15 and E10 fuels – and E15 will likely win out since it may be more profitable for them to carry. This means consumers might have no choice but to fuel with E15, and there will be little to prevent them from misfueling when they come in with a lawnmower, chainsaw, motorcycle, snowmobile, boat or older car.
The trade groups point out that the EPA's prior experience with fuel transitions confirms that warning labels alone won't prevent misfueling. The organizations cite that back in 1974, as the EPA pushed for the transition from leaded to unleaded fuel, the Agency reported a misfueling rate of 15 percent more than ten years after the cleaner fuel was introduced.

[Source: Outdoor Power Equipment Institute | Image: USACE Europe District – C.C. License 2.0]
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EPA Decision to Permit Higher Ethanol Levels in Gasoline Triggers Trade Groups' Filing of Petition to Mandate the Continued Availability of E10 Fuel

- Auto, marine, motorcycle, outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft, snowmobile manufacturers and user groups file petition with EPA to ensure continued availability of E10 designed for millions of consumer products -

WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Auto, marine, motorcycle, outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft and snowmobile groups filed a petition today asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the continued sale and availability of gasoline blends of no greater than 10 percent ethanol (E10) for the 400 million engine products used by tens of millions of people every day in the U.S. These products were not designed, built or warranted to run on any fuel containing more than ten percent ethanol. The groups are concerned that retailers are not prepared to offer both E10 and E15 at their stations, and given the choice, may opt to offer E15 only.

"Misfueling is our prime concern, and we foresee that consumers will be forced to fuel with E15 unless EPA requires stations to carry both legacy (E10) and new E15 fuels"

"Misfueling is our prime concern, and we foresee that consumers will be forced to fuel with E15 unless EPA requires stations to carry both legacy (E10) and new E15 fuels," said Kris Kiser, speaking on behalf of the organizations. "Many stations may not be equipped to accommodate an additional fuel, leading them to choose between E15 and E10 fuels – and E15 will likely win out since it may be more profitable for them to carry. This means consumers might have no choice but to fuel with E15, and there will be little to prevent them from misfueling when they come in with a lawnmower, chainsaw, motorcycle, snowmobile, boat or older car."

The organizations point out that EPA's prior experience with fuel transitions and misfueling demonstrates that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent misfueling. In 1974, as EPA led the transition to unleaded fuels, the Agency reported a misfueling rate of 15 percent over ten years after the introduction of unleaded gasoline.

The petition for rulemaking, filed with the U.S. EPA, says that with a partial waiver ruling, EPA cannot assure E10 fuel will be available for legacy fleet, and therefore, the petitioners request that EPA, consistent with prior precedent, ensure continued consumer choice by requiring the continued sale of gasoline blends of no greater than E10 fuel.

The petition says that EPA must assure continued availability of E10 for three specific reasons.

* There is a strong potential that the reduced volume of E10 fuel required in the marketplace might result in the elimination of supply, further eroding the availability of a fuel needed for millions of off-road, small engine equipment,
* EPA must create legal obligations that ensure that the conditions on which the waivers were based can be fulfilled, and
* EPA has enough evidence that emission control devices would be significantly "impaired" by E15 to support a requirement for E10.

A detailed fact sheet on the joint petition filing can be found at: http://members.opei.org/news/detail.dot?id=12146

Background

Growth Energy, an ethanol industry trade group, petitioned the EPA in March 2009 to raise the limit on ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. Several engine product and auto manufacturers as well as others urged EPA to be deliberative in its review process, assuring thorough and adequate testing to assure that E15 would not harm existing products or pose safety risks. By approving E15 use in a small subset of engines on the road, there is a high risk that consumers will unknowingly or mistakenly put E15 in products for which it has not been approved.

About Global Automakers

The Association, formerly known as AIAM, serves as the voice of international automobile manufacturers in the United States. Today, it represent the U.S. subsidiaries of 15 motor vehicle manufacturers who produce 40 percent of all vehicles built in America and also account for 40 percent of total U.S. auto sales. For more information, visit www.globalautomakers.org.

About ISMA

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association - is a non-profit organization representing the four snowmobile manufacturers (Arctic Cat, BRP, Polaris, and Yamaha.) The organization and its members support and interact with customer (enthusiast) associations throughout the world in protecting and promoting recreational public access for snowmobilers and in supporting and promoting safe, responsible snowmobile behavior. The organization interacts with government agencies worldwide in advocating responsible regulation and positive market oriented standards.

About Motorcycle Industry Council

The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. As a not-for-profit, national industry association, the MIC seeks to support motorcyclists by representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts and accessories, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies and consultants.

The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office adjacent to Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914. Visit the MIC at www.mic.org.

About NMMA

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.nmma.org.

About OPEI

OPEI is an international trade association representing more than 80 engine and equipment manufacturers worldwide in the utility, forestry, landscape, and lawn and garden industry. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org.

About ROHVA

The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association is a national industry organization that promotes the safe and responsible use of ROVs. ROHVA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop equipment, configuration and performance standards. Based in Irvine, Calif., the not-for-profit association is sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Kawasaki, Polaris and Yamaha. For more information visit ROHVA.org.

About SVIA

The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America® promotes the safe and responsible use of all-terrain vehicles through rider training, public awareness campaigns and state legislation. Additionally, the SVIA works to preserve access to off-road lands and expand riding opportunities. The SVIA is a resource for ATV research, statistics and vehicle standards. Accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the SVIA develops standards for the equipment, configuration and performance requirements of ATVs.

Based in Irvine, Calif., the SVIA is a not-for-profit industry association sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Honda, Kawasaki, KYMCO, Polaris, Suzuki, Tomberlin and Yamaha. Visit the SVIA online at www.svia.org. For safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit www.atvsafety.org or call (800) 887-2887.

Full list of participating organizations:

American Motorcyclist Association
Association of Global Automakers
Association of Marina Industries
BoatUS
International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
National Boating Federation
National Marine Manufacturers Associations
Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
Personal Watercraft Industry Association
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America


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  • 20 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      E15 is fine, if it only applies to regular.
      Let premium be NON-ethanol
      Then mid-grade (1/2 & 1/2) would be 7.5% ethanol.

      Everyone is happy.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @ EV nerd Gene.

        At first glance, what you say makes good sense. But I presume you would want all subsidies, including the oil subsidies, cut?

        @ Nick

        I know it's not easy to defend the actions of oil companies but both the oil companies and the automakers must provide totally unnecessary warnings to protect themselves from the most bizarre Litigation.
        • 3 Years Ago
        YES, all subsidies.
        and all hidden costs paid-for by the government*

        *like using our military to protect foreign oil and shipping lanes, healthcare costs
        - pay the true costs for everything and we'll all make better decisions.

        Right now, everything is so convoluted, that it is impossible to tell what the true costs of imported oil, and ethanol really are.
        Shucks, just tack it onto the national debt. Who cares?
        • 3 Years Ago
        First off, E85 isn't E85 in winter. It is E70
        That change limits the amount of 'tuning' than automakers can do with ethanol fuels.

        Motorcycles usually use premium, they don't want any reduction in mileage that comes from ethanol fuels.
        Old/very old vehicles, being old, probably need a higher AKI fuel, and might have incompatibilities with ethanol fuels. They use premium.
        Young-old (5-10 years old) also need a slightly higher AKI, and can tolerate over 5% ethanol easily. These use mid-grade.
        The great masses, who are just looking for a combustible liquid, they use regular.

        I'd like to see butanol.
        • 3 Years Ago
        EV nerd, you keep trying to slap a stigma, a mark of Cain on ethanol because of subsidies.

        But in the big picture, the market distortion of ethanol subsidies is insignificant compared to the economy-crashing artificial price hikes caused by the oil cartel.

        Oil is permanently and unfixably controlled by foreign socialist regimes, who deliberately under-produce so as to artificially raise the price in a giant tax increase on the whole world including us. That tax increase amounts to hundreds of billions every year on us alone, NOT counting military operations to keep oil rich or oil-money-radicalized nations from falling into pro-terrorist hands.

        There is no free market in fuel. Gasoline is a Soviet-style government monopoly system and always will be. Thus, relatively small market interventions designed to break that monopoly and open up the market will result in a net, long run, greater degree of economic freedom and prosperity.

        But you focus on the gnat of ethanol subsidies, and ignore the rampaging Godzilla of foreign socialist imposed artificially high oil costs.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm not happy.
        I don't want it at all.
        Have a separate system for ethanol. You can (computer controlled) have E10, E15, E85, or E0.
        Let true economics (no subsidies) and a free-market decide.

        Americans for free-markets, free-choice, and sensible policies UNITE.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The whole "free market" concept is a sham and will definitely not result in what you're looking for. The "free market" is very smart and adaptable about some things like supply and demand but it's also completely blind to some very important externalities.

        The "free" market as we know it will never on its own factor in externalities like military protection of oil interests or healthcare costs of pollution from oil and coal. And it certainly won't factor in remediation of possibly future events, say anything that might have to be done IF global warming has the impacts some predict. Ideally, we'd pay more for those products with negative consequences, and not just the cost of production combined with some current supply/demand factors. In addition, you have companies, industries, and governments that actively attempt to suppress negative information about the impact of their products which means not only is there not a price signal, there's also not an informed consumer that might ignore the price signal and go with a more expensive alternative.

        The ONLY way that happens is to entrust some one/group with creating a framework of subsidies/taxes to reflect those true costs. Getting rid of all subsidies is the last thing we want to do. The problem today is that those subsidies and taxes are decided by who has the most $ for lobbying and political influence as opposed to what do we really want to promote the use of.

        And while corn ethanol stinks, there's also something to be said for subsidizing a fledgling ethanol industry to promote continued R&D to get us to more advanced solutions, knowing full well that the first generation of the technology is not the end game.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Oh, stop the whining!

      We'd never have transitioned from leaded to unleaded if we'd had to listen to these people. Devote the dollars you're wasting on lobbying to upgrading your engines and components.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Ok. I'll got on out today and buy a new lawnmower and new snowblower.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Carney:

        You may want to look into what E15 can actually do to an engine. It causes significant engine damage for components that are not design to handle it. I'm all for switching to a renewable fuel. In fact I run E85 in my race care...because I built the engine and fuel system for it. Corn ethanol is not the best choice and a reasonable transmission time needs to be given so manufacturers can accommodate the requirement.

        Also, the true environmental impact of ethanol needs to be explored. I know that E100 is often mixed down with benzene to prevent animals (and some people) from drinking it and going blind. Blending anything with benzene is a horrible idea. I would hate to find out that we switch to a fuel thinking it was better for all only to find out that it is laced with a known carcinogen.
        • 3 Years Ago
        You still had the option of buying leaded gasoline 15 years after unleaded was mandatory, and even then you can still buy leaded substitute to add to your tank.

        This is different, since you can't add an ethanol remover.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Zombie, gasoline already has carcinogens and mutagens like benzene, toluene, and xylene in it, most often as detergents to fight gasoline's tendency to deposit gunk. That's why gas stations and oil companies brag about their wonderful detergents.

        Ethanol doesn't need that; in fact it tends to clear away gasoline-deposited gunk and gets unfairly blamed when the loosened filth scoots along and clogs up something elsewhere.

        To repeat, switching to ethanol means less, not more, benzene.

        Ethanol is almost never sold as pure E100 in order to avoid stiff liquor regulation, taxation, and liability. Even "E100" is usually spiked with something else, usually methanol, which while toxic if consumed is not an environmental hazard, since like all alcohols it simply dissolves in water and is broken down into harmless components by naturally occurring bacteria.

        There are other measures to help prevent abusive consumption of denatured ethanol, but ultimately if you're and adult and are going to chug something with a big skull and crossbones on it, I have little sympathy.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hate to sound like a total ass but more dead gas engines is a good thing.

      Let this be yet another hot poker in the rear to encourage us to stop burning fossil fuels for energy and move towards alternative fuels and alternative engines.

      And maybe they will stop using corn for everything when the corn prices rocket upwards again. Less corn is truly good for us in so many ways...

      It has to get worse before it gets better.
      • 3 Years Ago
      E15 is harmless. I used to fill up my 1988 firebird with E20 from a blender pump. Put 100K miles on it using the stuff (bringing the Odometer to 175K Miles). The car ran smoother and better on E20 than straight petrol. 100K miles on a 1988 GM 350 with fuel injection. I worked on the car and when I was working on it noticed no damage to any components, the engine looked so clean inside some of my friends commented that they could not believe the engine had that many miles on it.

      E15 will not damage your engine - the Oil companies are hard at work to convince you that it will.

      I ran a 2001 S10 (flex fuel) exclusivly on E85 for the life of the truck. Ran very well, in fact when I was not in range of E85 i filled up with E10 and the truck ran less smooth.

      I fill up my 2010 Prius with E20 when I can - it runs great and still pulls 45 MPG ( I only get 47 on petrol for comparison).

      Stop believing all the FUD surrounding E15.
        • 3 Years Ago
        With today's tech at the pump, you can blend the mixture to suit your car...a kind of "dial your alcohol" thing with a master switch keyed to 7.5,10,15,.....85%. Easy! and nothing new. In the late '50s you had these pumps available for dialing octane.
        Let the driver decide and take the decision out of the hands of special interest and the greedy lawyers.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Nick: Not all engines are built the same. Some have much tighter tolerances, appropriately sized injectors pushed to their maximum duty cycles, and advanced engine tuning via multiple control module and sensor inputs. These vehicle are more sensitive to changes in fuel quality and mix. The OE engineers i have worked with are adamantly against E15 because of the damage it can cause to fuel pumps, lines, injectors, injector o-rings, piston rings, OE gaskets, and so on is older vehicles.

        Its pretty clear that you know your way around a wrench and properly maintained your vehicle. Most consumers blindly push there maintenance to the max and may not far as well as you did with addition ethanol use. Personally, I'd like to see greater use of cellulose and algae based ethanol. In fact, I run E85 at the track because my car can handle it, its available at the pump, and its cheaper than race gas. I just think that the EPA needs to do this right and allow automakers to faze in more ethanol capable vehicles to replace Americas aging fleet before ramping up its use. There are too many people that can not afford to gamble on the fuel and need major repairs.

      • 3 Years Ago
      Great. So as automakers do their job to improve fuel efficiency gov't mandates like ethanol will be reducing real world MPG. Not only that but as an unfunded mandated that will add to the deficit.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Nobody's mandating E15; it's just being PERMITTED instead of banned. Big difference.

        Also, the whole point of fuel efficiency came from an assumption that the only fuel in existence is gasoline, so the only way to reduce gasoline's damage to our environment, economy, and national security is to use less fuel.

        In other words efficiency was a tool to get to a cleaner, more prosperous, more secure America, not an end in itself.

        If there's a better tool to accomplish those goals, we should drop the obsession with efficiency and use that superior tool instead.

        Ethanol burns cleaner, breaks the oil cartel's ability to charge economy-crashing monopoly prices, and helps de-fund pro-terrorist other anti-American extremist regimes. If you have to use a greater volume of fuell to get that result, SO WHAT?
      • 3 Years Ago
      99% of people could mow their entire lawn with an electric mower. I have a Black and Decker CMM1000 cordless electric and it is fantastic. I have had it for 10 years, just now had to put new batteries in it. I put a 10AH LifePO4 battery pack in it, I could mow the entire block of lawns with it now.

      Maybe the EPA should sponsor a cash for clunkers for lawn mowers. Fill those poluting piles of crap with sand, start em up, blow em up, get coupon for $100 off electric mower.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think a greater concern than consumer observance of labeling is that some less than scrupulous gas station owners will put the cheaper fuel in their pumps, regardless of labeling. Ethanol, due in large part to subsidies, is cheaper per gasoline per gallon and will only become moreso as oil prices go up, although it does not contain the energy density and can damage your vehicle. As such, you are likely to find E15 and higher in pumps labled otherwise to maximize profits. If E15 goes into effect, there should be additional budget for enforcement and stiffer penalties for violators.

      http://www.kold.com/global/story.asp?s=12850596
      http://www.wftv.com/news/26876113/detail.html
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