Classic American Iron Motorcycles & Autos Drive Anti-Ethanol Message to Congress

Washington, D.C. –  Joined by Congressional leaders and industry experts, members of the SEMA Action Network (SAN) participated in the “Fuel for Thought” Rally on Capitol Hill. The event raised awareness of the corrosive effects of ethanol-blended gasoline on motorcycle & automobile engines and the dangers of consumer misfueling.  Hosted by the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) in partnership with the SAN, the event drew car enthusiasts and motorcycle riders from across the nation.

Ethanol’s chemical property poses a risk to older cars and motorcycles.  Ethanol absorbs water which can lead to metal corrosion.  It can also dissolve plastics and rubber.  Most older vehicles and many motorcycles were not constructed with ethanol-compatible materials.  The EPA has made it illegal to fuel pre-2001 vehicles and motorcycles with E15.  However, the EPA only requires a warning label on the pump

“Under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), lawmakers have eliminated the free marketplace and mandated that an ever-increasing amount of ethanol be mixed in gasoline,” said Dan Sadowski, SEMA’s Congressional Affairs Director.  “A mixture of 10 percent ethanol no longer achieves the arbitrary RFS mandates.  The EPA has now authorized 15 percent ethanol while acknowledging the dangers posed to older vehicles and motorcycles. Despite the EPA’s restrictions on ethanol in older cars, there has been an inability to obtain unblended gasoline for engines that may be damaged by ethanol.”

Members of the Antique Automobile Club of America (AACA), an active segment of the SAN, circled the U.S. Capitol in their classic and vintage automobiles.  Their message was clear – hit the brakes on ethanol.  AACA believes the collection, restoration, and preservation of automobiles is an activity shared across generations and across all segments of society.  AACA represents thousands of local car clubs and related businesses that have been instrumental in preserving this part of our unique historic heritage by encouraging the restoration and exhibition of these vintage cars.

“For over 75 years, AACA has fostered the growth and development of this American pastime by bringing together thousands of car enthusiasts and their collector vehicles to honor the past and our shared history,” said AACA President Tom Cox.  “Now, due to a shortsighted government mandate, these vintage vehicles are at risk due to ethanol.  On behalf of AACA and the SAN, I encourage Congress to amend the RFS mandates and conduct further research on the damaging effects of ethanol fuel.  The future of our older antique vehicles depends on it.”

Rally speakers included Representatives Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), Tim Griffin (R-AR), Tom Petri (R-WI), Bill Posey (R-FL), Chris Stewart (R-UT) and David Valadao (R-CA).  These members of Congress are not only concerned lawmakers but are also automotive and motorcycle enthusiasts committed to addressing ethanol concerns.

The SEMA Action Network (SAN) is a nationwide partnership between vehicle clubs, enthusiasts and members of the specialty auto parts industry who want to protect their hobby. Founded in 1997, the SAN was designed to help eliminate legislative threats to the automotive hobby and pass favorable laws. For more information please visit or


  1. Malarkey. Regular, unleaded gasoline is appropriate for virtually ALL vehicles manufactured since 1977, and can be used in many older vehicles. Ethanol, even in a ten percent solution with gas IS highly corrosive. It also turns to sludge if left to sit. Try putting some in a jar sometime and checking what it turns into a month later.

  2. R. White says:

    SEMA and AMA do realize that they are fighting the only non-approved fuel that actually has a label? Wonder what they would say if E15 didn’t need to have the biggest required fuel label today to educate consumers?

    As for restrictions from EPA, there are none that require a station to offer E10 (10% ethanol) in all of their products. The Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) requires a total amount of renewable fuels each year, one of those options is ethanol. Retailers are also not required to offer E15. In fact, under 30 out of 143,000 stations do today. It is the oil companies, and in some cases the individual retailers, that are deciding what fuel to offer. Ethanol has been around since before the Model T. If you have a car or motorcycle not designed to run on it, you also have a car or motorcycle not designed to run on unleaded fuel. The detergents now found in gasoline will cause enough damage on their own with or without ethanol. Just check the extensive work from Hagerty’s Magazine. They state: “…after 1,500 hours of testing (nearly twice the industry standard for such a test) fuel lines didn’t leak, carburetors didn’t disintegrate and fuel pumps
    did not fail. Although the study showed minor build up and corrosion in the carburetors and fuel
    pumps while using E10 as opposed to E0, the general consensus is that with minor updates and proper
    maintenance E10 will not prevent the ability to enjoy your collector car.”