Motorcyclists Help Fight Against More Ethanol in Our Gastanks

We at American Iron Magazine fully support the AMA’s effort to cut back or remove all ethanol from our gas supplies.

Nearly 8,000 individuals have joined the American Motorcyclist Association to oppose the spread of higher-ethanol blended fuels across the country, the motorcyclist advocacy organization announced.

The AMA is asking for signatures to its online petition that urges the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency not to increase the proposed renewable fuel volumes this year and, instead, to adopt lower mandates. As of June 18, about 7,800 people had signed.

The Renewable Fuel Standard proposals announced May 29 by the EPA 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.

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 to market E15 and E85.

“The EPA calls for higher ethanol blended fuels, and the USDA spends taxpayer dollars to make it happen, despite knowing that none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in the United States is approved to use E15 or higher ethanol blends,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “Using those fuels in motorcycles and ATVs is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer’s warranty.”

The EPA opened a comment period to allow the public to voice its opinion on the proposed rule. The AMA plans to submit every name and address with its comments to the EPA on July 26.

“Our goal is to present more than 10,000 signatures supporting our stance against the wrongheaded policies of the EPA and the USDA on this matter,” Allard said. “There is nothing more powerful than thousands of riders joining to express their concern with unsafe fuel for their rides.”

Anyone can sign the AMA petition by visiting the AMA Federal Action Center here:

The EPA 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.

Motorcycle News: EPA Admits Ethanol Damages Engines

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has publicly acknowledged that ethanol in gasoline can damage internal combustion engines (including motorcycles) by increasing exhaust temperatures and indirectly causing component failures.

Yet, even with this knowledge, the Federal Trade Commission is recommending more labeling at the gas pump as its solution to the problem.

The American Motorcyclist Association believes that is not enough.

The Federal Trade Commission issued a rule proposal to provide requirements for rating and certifying ethanol blends and requirements for labeling blends of more than 10 percent ethanol.

But this rule exempts the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s E15-approved label.

This rule is for an additional label to be placed on the fuel pump “in response to the emergence of ethanol blends as a retail fuel and the likely increased availability of such blends.”

With this rule, it only means gasoline with higher blends of ethanol will emerge into the marketplace.

The AMA believes this proposal will cause even more confusion given the events surrounding the rollout of E15 into the marketplace. The AMA opposes E15 and any fuel containing more than ten percent ethanol because it can cause engine and fuel system failure to your motorcycle or all-terrain vehicle, and can void manufacturers’ warranties.

According to the EPA, “[e]thanol impacts motor vehicles in two primary ways. First … ethanol enleans the [air/fuel] ratio (increases the proportion of oxygen relative to hydrocarbons) which can lead to increased exhaust gas temperatures and potentially increase incremental deterioration of emission control hardware and performance over time, possibly causing catalyst failure. Second, ethanol can cause materials compatibility issues, which may lead to other component failures.”

“In motorcycles and nonroad products [using E15 and higher ethanol blends], EPA raised engine-failure concerns from overheating.”

The FTC is seeking public comments now on the rule proposal that calls for the additional label to identify higher ethanol blended fuels. You can tell the agency how this proposal will cause even more confusion, given the events surrounding the rollout of E15 into the marketplace.

The AMA does not believe this new label will do what it is intended to do – keep users from misfueling with higher ethanol blended fuels. It simply does not provide clear direction. Another label on a blender pump that already has many labels will not be sufficient to avoid misfueling and could be easily overlooked.

The proposed rule provides no direction on where on the pump the label should be located. Moreover, the FTC is proposing that the label be rounded to the nearest factor of 10. How will this accurately inform the consumer of the type of fuel called for by the vehicle owner’s manual? Will a fuel containing 11 percent to 14 percent ethanol be labeled as 10 percent ethanol? Is the FTC aware that manufacturers’ warranties are valid only for the use of fuel containing 10 percent ethanol by volume or less?

Help protect 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in America — and the riders who depend on their safe operation — from inadvertent misfueling. Tell the FTC you want safe access to fuel for motorcycles and ATVs!

The loser in any inadvertent misfueling event is the motorcyclist and ATV rider. The AMA stands behind its members, and all riders, in calling for more thorough safeguards against misfueling.

The deadline for comments is Jun. 2! Act today to ensure your voice is heard.

For the latest information on the AMA’s efforts to protect your access to safe fuel, go to

Time of the Season

TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM by Chris Maida, Editor

TAKING AIM, by Chris Maida, editor

As I write this, it’s about two weeks before Thanksgiving, and, as per many of the suggestions and tips given in last’s issue’s Storage Strategies by John Frank, I’m preparing my bikes for a hopefully not-too-long winter’s nap.

Whether it’s due to global warming or just the constantly changing cycles of our planet’s weather systems (I’m not getting into that debate), this yearly ritual can take place during different months/weeks of the year. When I first moved to Connecticut from New York and started working at TAM, I was able to ride all year. In fact, I didn’t have a car, only bikes. Of course, my wife at the time had that bastion of modern family life — the minivan — to haul herself, the kids, and the paraphernalia required for them. (It’s always amazed me how much stuff is needed to take care of two toddlers, but I’m not getting into that now, either!) The winters were mild for this part of the country back then, which was in the late 1990s. Very rarely did it snow, though it was, of course, cold out. Other than watching out for patches of black ice at stoplights thanks to people throwing coffee out their car windows, riding one of my bikes to work was a safe, cheap, though chilly, way to commute.

Unfortunately, for the last 10 years, winter here in the northeast has been more what you would expect. We can get snow starting in November (our first was yesterday, November 12) until late March, hence the need to pack the machines safely away. Bummer! However, Joe and I have been known to ride down to Daytona Bike Week in early March with snow on and all along the side of the road. People in cars look at you like you’re crazy, but what the hell. As long as they look at us and don’t run us off the road I’m good with it.

No matter when nap time comes for your bike(s) where you live, if it comes at all, be sure to take the time to properly stow away your machines, this includes motorcycles, lawn mowers, or anything else that has a gasoline engine. The better you do this process, the easier it will be to fire them up when needed. This is especially true with ethanol gasoline in carbureted bikes. I’ve had to pull apart and clean many a friend’s carb to remove the varnish residue left by evaporated ethanol gas. But I’m not going to get into that now, either!

See you on the road.



Editor Chris Maida’s column “Taking AIM” appears monthly in American Iron Magazine.

This article originally appeared in issue #306, published in February, 2014.

Order back issues of this or any other American Iron Magazine at

Tor order a PRINT SUBSCRIPTION, click here.

To get DIGITAL DELIVERY for mobile devices, click here.

American Iron Magazine Supports New Anti-Ethanol Facebook Page

We at American Iron Magazine are very concerned about the unwelcomed effects of the ethanol blended gasoline in our motorcycles, cars, trucks, boats and even lawn mowers. The US government has mandated an increasing percentage of ethanol in our gasoline, which we feel is a foolish decision.

The ethanol blended gasoline is destroying gas tanks, fuel lines, carburetors and engines. And now the government wants to increase the ratio of ethanol to gas at the pumps. Not a good idea.

Therefore we at American Iron Magazine, Motorcycle Bagger, American Iron Garage and RoadBike encourage you to voice your opinion here and on the new Facebook page Americans Against Ethanol In Our Gasoline.