AMA Petitioning vs Renewable Fuel Standard Proposal and Increased Ethanol Fuels
Federal agency actions increase ethanol risk for motorcycles
The Renewable Fuel Standard proposal announced May 18 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 unsafe E15.
Act now by signing the American Motorcyclist Association’s petition to voice your concern. The deadline is July 11.
The EPA’s proposed Renewable Volume Obligations call for 18.8 billion gallons of biofuel for 2017, up 690 million gallons from this year. The obligations for 2015 were 16.93 gallons.
By increasing the amounts of ethanol into America’s gasoline marketplace, the EPA will exceed the blend wall by hundreds of millions of gallons! The blend wall is the point at which no more ethanol can be blended without forcing higher blends like E15 and above into the marketplace.
Doing so means ethanol blends of 15 percent or higher would become more prevalent and safe fuels like E10 or E0 could become harder to find.
In fact, the EPA’s RVO proposal intends the E10 blend wall, not as a barrier, but a “transition” with the goal to push higher ethanol levels into the market. The EPA plans on doing this by:
2. Subsidies for blender pumps
3. Price subsidies to lower the cost per gallon for higher ethanol fuel; and
4. “[A]ctions not yet defined”
The EPA feels confident in its ability to push more ethanol into the marketplace. It states, “To date we have seen no compelling evidence that the nationwide average ethanol concentration in gasoline cannot exceed 10.0%.”
This contradicts the EPA’s past statements. In a regulatory announcement released Aug. 6, 2013, “EPA Finalizes Renewable Fuel Standards,” the EPA said that for 2014 “the ability of the market to consume ethanol in higher blends such as E85 is highly constrained as a result of infrastructure — and market-related factors. EPA does not currently foresee a scenario in which the market could consume enough ethanol sold in blends greater than E10…”
Remarkably, the EPA still recognizes these same constraints in the current proposal!
An increase in higher-ethanol blended fuel means the availability of E0 – fuel needed for older and vintage motorcycles — will decrease substantially. Since the distribution network for E15 and E85 is limited, fuel producers may be forced to reduce E0 output to stay within the RVO limits. The proposed rule acknowledges only marine recreationists as users of E0. Motorcycles and other small engines are not mentioned at all.
This is very troubling, because the EPA is calling for higher ethanol blended fuels and the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture is spending your 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. Using those fuels in motorcycles and ATVs is illegal and may cause engine and fuel system damage and void the manufacturer’s warranty.
Moreover, the proposed rule does not mention “misfuel” once in its 84 pages. The risk of inadvertent misfueling will increase as more retail stations sell E15 or higher-ethanol fuel. The rule claims “it is possible that 1,700 stations could offer E15 by 2017.” In comparison, there are approximately 250 stations that offer E15 today.
The EPA opened a comment period to allow the public to voice its opinion on the proposed rule. And the AMA has the tools to make it easy for you to submit comments by signing our petition.
The AMA will submit every name and address with our draft comments to the EPA. There is nothing more powerful than tens of thousands of riders joining together to express their concern with unsafe fuel for their machines.
Now more than ever, it is crucial that you and your riding friends become members of the AMA to help protect our riding freedoms. More members mean more clout against the opponents of motorcycling. That support will help fight for your rights – on the road, trail, racetrack, and in the halls of government. If you are a motorcycle rider, join the AMA at www.americanmotorcyclist.com/membership/join.
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