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DC Insider: E15 boosters attempt to mischaracterize the AMA’s ethanol position


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You have heard the old adage before: When you don’t have the facts that support your position, you attack the messenger.

Well, this is exactly what the boosters of the untested-for-motorcycles E15 fuel blend (15 percent ethanol by volume) are doing. They are trying to mischaracterize the American Motorcyclist Association’s position as blanket opposition to ethanol.

For example, a group promoting ethanol recently gave away free E10 gasoline to motorcyclists at Sturgis with a sign that read “Why is the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) calling out just one [E15 fuel]? Read what else is wrong with AMA’s claims on E15.”

The latest attempt is to use the motorcycle racing community to further their agenda to get E15 into retailers across the country. The pro-E15 website provides an example of how a racing team uses E85 (85 percent ethanol by volume) in a “stock” motorcycle with a modified fueling system and that, everything works fine – which we applaud. After all, the top-speed bike was designed to operate on a high-percentage ethanol blend – and alcohol-burning racing motorcycles have been around for a long time.

The suggestion -- that if race bikes can run on E85, why worry about E15? – is quite disingenuous because competition machines are purpose-built and do not have to conform to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency emissions standards or satisfy the durability demands of  everyday riders. Certainly an engine's internals and cooling and fuel systems can be designed to operate on high(er) levels of ethanol. But that really misses the criticism coming from the motorcycling community.

Which is this:  100 percent of the 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles on the road and trail in the U.S. today are not designed to run ethanol blends higher than 10 percent, and many older machines favored by vintage enthusiasts have problems with any ethanol in the fuel. And yet the opportunity to misfuel and damage an engine with higher ethanol blends such as E15 is very real.

It is time to set the record straight.

1)    The AMA recognizes ethanol is one of many possible fuels. The key is that when our engines and fuel systems are designed for one type of fuel, we can't just put anything in the tank and expect there will be no problems. There has to be a ready supply of safe fuels for all motorcycles and ATVs.
2)    The EPA has not tested E15 on motorcycle and ATV engines and does not approve of E15 for their use.
3)    Use of E15 can void a manufacturer’s warranty.
4)    The AMA wants an independent, scientific study on the effects of E15 on motorcycle and ATVs engines.
5)    The AMA’s concerns has always been that riders might unintentionally put E15 in their fuel tanks due to confusing and/or unmonitored implementation of the EPA Misfueling Mitigation Plan and the possibility of residual E15 fuel left in a fuel hose, which could be as much as one-third of a gallon.

The bottom line for the AMA is this: Motorcyclists simply want safe fuels available at all fuel retailers and measures employed by retailers to ensure they cannot inadvertently put unsafe fuels in their tanks.

Get the facts on this important issue with the AMA’s E15 and Motorcycles Q&A.

Please be sure to share this with your fellow motorcyclists to counter the spin coming from the E15 lobby group that does not have your best interests at heart. The AMA is your voice.

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