Federal agency wants separate E10 fuel pumps at certain gas stations that sell E15 ethanol-gasoline blend
February 11, 2013
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- In response
to concerns expressed by the American Motorcyclist Association and power
equipment makers, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued new
guidelines to help ensure that motorcyclists and others don't inadvertently use
E15 is a new fuel blend of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline that the
EPA has approved for use in 2001-and-newer passenger vehicles. The blend isn't
approved for use in motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, boats, lawn mowers and
other engines, and may even damage them and void warranties.
E10, which is commonly found at gas stations, contains 10 percent ethanol. E0
fuel has no ethanol. Ethanol is grain alcohol produced from crops such as corn
that is mixed with gasoline to produce an ethanol-gasoline blend motor fuel.
Last year, Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, told the EPA
that with E15 now coming into the market, AMA members who make a concerted
effort to fuel their motorcycles or ATVs with E10-or-less fuel may unknowingly
refuel with residual E15 left in a blender-pump hose. A blender pump dispenses
different fuel blends through the same hose, such as E10 and E15. When a
customer buys E15, as much as a third of a gallon of residual E15 is left in
the hose, which can inadvertently get into the next customer's vehicle while
fueling with E10.
"In an effort to address this potential misfueling issue, EPA approved an
industry-submitted [approach] that requires a minimum purchase of four gallons
from blender pumps that dispense both E10 and E15 from the same hose and
nozzle," the EPA said. "Such an approach would prevent misfueling by
diluting any residual E15 left in the hose from the previous sale of E15.
"However, groups representing motorcycle owners and lawn mower
manufacturers objected to this [approach] because their products have gas tanks
that are normally two gallons or smaller," the EPA said.
So, on Feb. 7, the EPA posted a new option for retailers on its website's
"E15: Misfueling Mitigation Plans" page to try to avoid misfueling by
Under the new option, retailers who use a blender pump to sell E15 and E10 fuel
through the same hose must also have a separate E10/E0 fuel pump. Those
retailers would be required to have a label on the blender pump that reads:
"Passenger Vehicles Only. Use in Other Vehicles, Engines and Equipment May
Violate Federal Law." Retailers would also be required to have signs
indicating the location of the dedicated E10-or-lower fuel pump. There would be
no minimum-fuel-purchase requirement at that pump.
Retailers who want to sell E15 also have the option of having a dedicated E15
pump or hose, or a pump that dispenses E15 and higher ethanol blends through a
single hose. If a blender pump dispenses multiple fuels that include E15 and
higher ethanol blends, the EPA may require a minimum purchase requirement.
The AMA has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal
lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines caused by the
inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available. The AMA also
has asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the
effects of E15 to ensure that the new fuel blend won't damage those engines.
In October 2010, the EPA approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer
light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger
vehicles). Then, in January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-06 light-duty
vehicles to the approved list.