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DC Insider: Federal agency offers grants that may increase E15 availability and subsequent misfueling


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On Aug. 15, the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture announced the recipients of grants [i.e. taxpayer dollars] from its Rural Energy for America Program to be used for renewable energy systems. One approved use of these REAP grants is for the purchase and installation of special ethanol blender pumps.

In order for retailers to offer E15, a blend of gasoline that includes up to 15 percent ethanol by volume, they will need to convert their current pumps to these special ethanol blender pumps.

According to the release, the USDA will provide a total of $25,765 that will be used on two projects in Minnesota and South Dakota. It was also made known by the USDA that these two projects are only the initial recipients. In fact, they informed the AMA in a conference call that there would be an additional 11 projects announced soon.

The REAP grants are part of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s plan to install 10,000 blender pumps by 2016. REAP will be a key component to achieve the secretary’s goal and, thus, help grow the availability of E15 fuel.

The American Motorcyclist Association has repeatedly expressed concern about the potential damage that E15 fuel can have on motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines and fuel systems. For details, see www.americanmotorcyclist.com/rights/amafuelforthought.aspx.

These special ethanol blender pumps may increase inadvertent misfueling by consumers. In fact, the EPA is concerned enough to issue a plan for retailers on its website’s “E15: Misfueling Mitigation Plans” page to try to avoid misfueling by consumers.

The AMA believes the REAP grant program to purchase special ethanol blender pumps will only worsen the possibility of E15 misfueling by consumers – a fuel that is not approved for any of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use.

The AMA has you—AMA members and all motorcyclists—in mind concerning the untested effects of E15 fuel on your ride!

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