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Diesel Progress: OPEI Challenges E15 Rule

September 23, 2011

The long and winding road toward E15 at the pump took another turn this week as the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announced a formal legal challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Regulation to Mitigate Misfueling rule which was meant to address concerns about 15% ethanol blends and non-road products and older model year vehicles.

OPEI and automakers and marine manufacturer trade groups, maintain that EPA’s labeling effort is completely inadequate to protect consumers and avoid potential misfueling and damage to millions of legacy products not designed to run on any ethanol fuel higher than E10.

“We are asking that the EPA do more to protect the consumer. We need to educate the public on a new fuel entering the market that is about to fundamentally change how we purchase and dispense gasoline,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “And we need to ensure that consumers can still find E10 for the millions of product – lawnmowers, chainsaws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs, boats and older cars – that still use an E10 legacy fuel.”

OPEI said that EPA’s prior experience with fuel transitions and misfueling demonstrates that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent the problem. It noted that as the EPA guided the transition to unleaded fuels, it reported a misfueling rate of nearly 15% almost 10 years after the introduction of unleaded gasoline. That high misfueling rate was occurring even though gas pump nozzles were changed in a way intended to physically prevent dispensing of leaded gas into vehicles.

“EPA even denied our petition to mandate the continued availability of E10 so that consumers will still be able to purchase E10 at their local gasoline stations,” Kiser said. “Consumers are really on their own at this point, and we just think that is unfair and potentially harmful from both a safety and economic perspective.”