U.S. Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) introduced H.R. 21 on Jan. 6. This bill would repeal the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s waiver decision related to E15 fuel and the authority of the agency to grant further decisions in the matter, until the EPA seeks an independent scientific analysis of the effects of gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol.
“Despite ample warnings, the Environment Protection Agency continues to push E15 into the marketplace. The Clean Air Act requires a waiver for any fuel that is substantially different from zero percent ethanol before it is introduced to consumers,” Sensenbrenner said. “The EPA has been granting CAA waivers and justifying the decisions by citing a single disputed study conducted by the Department of Energy.
“Pro-ethanol groups and the EPA argue that E15 has been sufficiently tested and safe for use, a direct contradiction to what the scientists and engineers who build cars and small engines have stated,” he added.
Sensenbrenner said, “Our constituents use boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, cars, lawnmowers and tractors. They deserve to definitively know what E15 will do to the engines they rely upon.”
The AMA agrees and has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and all-terrain-vehicle engines caused by the inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available. The AMA also asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the effects of E15 on internal combustion engines and related systems.
In October 2010, the EPA approved E15 for use in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks, and medium-duty passenger vehicles). In January 2011, it added model year 2001-2006 light-duty vehicles to the approved list.
Since the approved list includes many light-duty vehicles in use today, refineries, distributors, and fueling stations could choose to offer primarily E15 gasoline. This concerns all motorcyclists and off-highway enthusiasts, because it could affect the availability of gasoline with less ethanol (E10) or none at all (E0).
The new E15 gasoline formulation may appear at a nearby fueling station, so motorcyclists need to be careful when fueling their motor vehicles. No motorcycles or ATVs are currently on the approved EPA list for E15 use, and the use of E15 can void manufacturers’ warranties.
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