Proposed EPA Renewable Fuel Standard would increase ethanol risks for motorcycles, ATVs

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Proposed EPA Renewable Fuel Standard would increase ethanol risks for motorcycles, ATVs

The Renewable Fuel Standard proposals announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would increase the risk of misfueling for motorcyclists and all-terrain-vehicle owners by forcing the widespread availability of higher-ethanol fuel blends, such as E15, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.
May 29, 2015

PICKERINGTON, Ohio - American Motorcyclist Association

The Renewable Fuel Standard proposals announced today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would increase the risk of misfueling for motorcyclists and all-terrain-vehicle owners by forcing the widespread availability of higher-ethanol fuel blends, such as E15, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The EPA proposed setting the renewable fuel standard for 2014 at the levels that were actually produced and used, which totaled 15.93 billion gallons. But for 2015, the standard rises to 16.3 billion gallons. And for 2016, the total increases again, to 17.4 billion gallons.

At the same time, the U.S. Department of Agriculture unveiled a $100 million plan to double the number of higher-blend renewable fuel pumps. Under the blender pump subsidy program, the USDA will administer competitive grants to match funding for state-led efforts to test and evaluate innovative and comprehensive approaches to market higher blends of renewable fuel, such as E15 and E85.

"The federal government is moving in the wrong direction on this issue and against the interests of the motoring public," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. "Motorcycles and ATVs are not built to handle ethanol blends higher than 10 percent, or E10. Mandating the increased production and sale of higher-ethanol blends and subsidizing more blender pumps significantly increases the likelihood that motorcycle and ATV riders will inadvertently pump unsafe fuel into their tanks."

None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in the United States is approved by the EPA to use E15 or higher ethanol blends. Doing so is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer's warranty.

The EPA's proposed standards include cellulosic biofuel, biomass-based diesel, advanced biofuels and traditional corn-based ethanol. The corn-ethanol volumes would be 13.25 billion gallons for 2014, 13.4 billion gallons in 2015 and 14 billion gallons in 2016.

"The rush to bring E15 fuels to broader markets is unnecessary and potentially harmful," Allard said. "These blender pumps certainly increase the chances of misfueling. Access to safe fuels for motorcycles remains an AMA priority, and we continue to be a watchdog for our members on this issue."

The EPA's announcement opens a public comment period in which the AMA and its members will participate.

The agency intends to take final action on this latest proposal by Nov. 30, which would return the agency to the program's statutory timeline for issuing RFS annual rules.


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