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EPA Decision to Permit Higher Ethanol Levels in Gasoline Triggers Trade Groups’ Filing of Petition to Mandate the Continued Availability of E10 Fuel

March 23, 2011

Washington – March 23, 2011 – Auto, marine, motorcycle, outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft and snowmobile groups filed a petition for rulemaking today asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the continued sale and availability of gasoline blends of no greater than 10 percent ethanol (E10) for the 400 million engine products used by tens of millions of people every day in the U.S. These products were not designed, built or warranted to run on any fuel containing more than ten percent ethanol. The groups are concerned that retailers are not prepared to offer both E10 and E15 at their stations, and given the choice, may opt to offer E15 only.

“Misfueling is our prime concern, and we foresee that consumers will be forced to fuel with E15 unless EPA requires stations to carry both legacy (E10) and new E15 fuels,” said Kris Kiser, speaking on behalf of the organizations. “Many stations may not be equipped to accommodate an additional fuel, leading them to choose between E15 and E10 fuels – and E15 will likely win out since it may be more profitable for them to carry. This means consumers might have no choice but to fuel with E15, and there will be little to prevent them from misfueling when they come in with a lawnmower, chainsaw, motorcycle, snowmobile, boat or older car.”

The organizations point out that the EPA’s prior experience with fuel transitions and misfueling demonstrates that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent misfueling.  As the EPA led the transition to unleaded fuels, the Agency reported a misfueling rate of nearly 15 percent almost ten years after the introduction of unleaded gasoline.

The petition for rulemaking, filed with the U.S. EPA, says that with a partial waiver ruling, EPA cannot ensure that E10 fuel will be available for the legacy fleet, and therefore, the petitioners request that EPA, consistent with prior precedent, ensure continued consumer choice by requiring the continued sale of gasoline blends of no greater than E10 fuel.

The petition says that EPA must assure continued availability of E10 for three specific reasons.

  • There is a strong potential that the reduced volume of E10 fuel required in the marketplace might result in the elimination of supply, further eroding the availability of a fuel needed for millions of off-road, small engine equipment,
  • EPA must create legal obligations that ensure that the conditions on which the waivers were based can be fulfilled, and
  • EPA has enough evidence that emission control devices would be significantly “impaired” by E15 to support a requirement for E10.

A detailed fact sheet on the joint petition filing can be found at here.

Growth Energy, an ethanol industry trade group, petitioned the EPA in March 2009 to raise the limit on ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. Several engine product and auto manufacturers as well as others urged EPA to be deliberative in its review process, assuring thorough and adequate testing to ensure that E15 would not harm existing products or pose safety risks. By approving E15 use in a small subset of engines on the road, there is a high risk that consumers will unknowingly or mistakenly put E15 in products for which it has not been approved.

About Global Automakers

The Association, formerly known as AIAM, serves as the voice of international automobile manufacturers in the United States. Today, it represent the U.S. subsidiaries of 15 motor vehicle manufacturers who produce 40 percent of all vehicles built in America and also account for 40 percent of total U.S. auto sales. For more information, visit www.globalautomakers.org.

About ISMA

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association – is a non-profit organization representing the four snowmobile manufacturers (Arctic Cat, BRP, Polaris, and Yamaha.)  The organization and its members support and interact with customer (enthusiast) associations throughout the world in protecting and promoting recreational public access for snowmobilers and in supporting and promoting safe, responsible snowmobile behavior.  The organization interacts with government agencies worldwide in advocating responsible regulation and positive market oriented standards.

About Motorcycle Industry Council

The Motorcycle Industry Council exists to preserve, protect and promote motorcycling through government relations, communications and media relations, statistics and research, aftermarket programs, development of data communications standards, and activities surrounding technical and regulatory issues. As a not-for-profit, national industry association, the MIC seeks to support motorcyclists by representing manufacturers and distributors of motorcycles, scooters, motorcycle/ATV/ROV parts and accessories, and members of allied trades such as insurance, finance and investment companies, media companies and consultants.

The MIC is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., with a government relations office adjacent to Washington, D.C. First called the MIC in 1970, the organization has been in operation since 1914. Visit the MIC atwww.mic.org.

About NMMA
National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) is the leading association representing the recreational boating industry in North America. NMMA member companies produce more than 80 percent of the boats, engines, trailers, accessories and gear used by boaters and anglers throughout the U.S. and Canada. For more information, visit www.nmma.org.

About OPEI

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 80 engine and equipment manufacturers worldwide in the utility, forestry, landscape, and lawn and garden industry. OPEI is a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) in the development of safety standards. For more information, visit www.OPEI.org.

About ROHVA
The Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association is a national industry organization that promotes the safe and responsible use of ROVs. ROHVA is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to develop equipment, configuration and performance standards. Based in Irvine, Calif., the not-for-profit association is sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Kawasaki, Polaris and Yamaha. For more information visit ROHVA.org.

About SVIA
The Specialty Vehicle Institute of America® promotes the safe and responsible use of all-terrain vehicles through rider training, public awareness campaigns and state legislation. Additionally, the SVIA works to preserve access to off-road lands and expand riding opportunities. The SVIA is a resource for ATV research, statistics and vehicle standards. Accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the SVIA develops standards for the equipment, configuration and performance requirements of ATVs.

Based in Irvine, Calif., the SVIA is a not-for-profit industry association sponsored by Arctic Cat, BRP, Honda, Kawasaki, KYMCO, Polaris, Suzuki, Tomberlin and Yamaha. Visit the SVIA online at www.svia.org. For safety information or to enroll in the ATV RiderCourseSM nearest you, visit www.atvsafety.org or call (800) 887-2887.

Full list of participating organizations:

American Motorcyclist Association
Association of Global Automakers
Association of Marina Industries
BoatUS
International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
Motorcycle Industry Council
National Boating Federation
National Marine Manufacturers Associations
Outdoor Power Equipment Institute
Personal Watercraft Industry Association
Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
Specialty Vehicle Institute of America