EPA OKs year round E15 sales

AMA Cautions Motorcyclists To Use Extra Care When Refueling

The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency granted a waiver on May 31 that will allow retailers to sell E15 fuel year round.

E15 fuel contains 15 percent ethanol, with 50 percent more ethanol than E10. E10 is the most common fuel available in the U.S. marketplace and the only ethanol-blended fuel approved by the EPA for motorcycles and ATVs.

The American Motorcyclist Association opposed the lifting of the summertime ban on E15 sales because none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs in use in the United States is certified by the EPA to operate on fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Many older motorcycles and the vast majority of vintage machines will not operate properly on fuel containing any ethanol at all.

“We are extremely disappointed that this significant and controversial change is being made,” said AMA Vice President for Government Relations Wayne Allard. “The restrictions that had been in place served as a protection for motorcyclists and for the environment.”

The AMA submitted formal comments and testified at an EPA field hearing in Michigan, along with the Motorcycle Riders Foundation and members of ABATE of Michigan.

This regulation is tied to Reid Vapor Pressure, a measure of how quickly fuel evaporates. In 1990, Congress provided a 1-psi RVP volatility waiver to 10 percent ethanol blends, allowing E10 to be sold year round. The EPA has now extended that waiver to E15 fuel.

Retailers, including Casey’s General Stores—which has 2,000 outlets—have already formulated plans to add E15 to their fuel offerings.

“Riders must use extra care when fueling their motorcycles this summer, because fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol can cause damage to engines and fuel system components and void manufacturers’ warranties,” Allard said.

The EPA has acknowledged, but rejected, calls for better misfueling protections, including a consumer education campaign, from the AMA and others when issuing this final rule.