EPA Backs Off E15 Ethanol Requirements For Motorcycles

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is backing off requiring all consumers buy at least four gallons when purchasing gasoline at pumps dispensing E15 ethanol blend fuel, reports the American Motorcyclist Association.

Earlier this year, the AMA raised concerns with the EPA about E15 fuel, pointing out the blend, which contains 15% ethanol, may be harmful to motorcycles and ATVs. The AMA was concerned fuel pumps providing both E15 and the safer E10 blend, which consists of up to 10% ethanol, may mistakenly cause riders to refuel their motorcycles with the higher concentration of ethanol because of potential residual E15 fuel in the gas pump hoses.

The EPA responded, saying it will require gas stations provide separate hoses for dispensing E15 and E10,  ethanol and safer for motorcycle engines. For stations that cannot provide dedicated hoses for E10 and E15, the EPA said it would require all consumers purchase more than 4 gallons of fuel in order to dilute the amount of ethanol left in the hoses.

This, of course, posed an even bigger problem as many motorcycles have fuel tanks smaller than 4 gallons.

According to the AMA, the EPA has shelved the 4-gallon requirement and instead consider requiring stations label gas pumps that offer both E10 and E15 through the same hose as being solely for passenger cars and trucks. The EPA will also reportedly require gas stations provide dedicated hoses for E10 fuel for motorcycles and other vehicles not approved for E15 use.

“With E15 gasoline, our members who make a concerted effort to fuel their motorcycles or ATVs with E10-or-less gasoline may be unknowingly refueling with residual fuel left in the hose,” says Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations.

“Unlike an automobile or SUV that has a large fuel tank, the residual fuel left in a fueling hose could be detrimental to the performance of motorcycle or ATV engines due to the small size of their fuel tanks and the higher concentration of ethanol that would, therefore, be present in the fuel,” Allard adds. “In addition, the use of E15 will lower fuel efficiency and possibly cause premature engine failure. Use of E15 fuel voids many manufacturer warranties. In off-road engines, the effects can even be dangerous for users.”

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