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OPEI SHARES CONCERNS WITH EPA ABOUT E15 REGULATIONS, FUTURE PLANS National trade association fears good intentions put 250 million pieces of outdoor power equipment at risk of mis-fueling, reiterates need for consumer education

July 13, 2016

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the trade association representing power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, provided comments to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the Renewable Fuel Standard Program: Standards for 2017 and Biomass-Based Diesel Volume for 2018. In a letter sent to the EPA, OPEI expresses significant concerns about the expansion of E15 in the marketplace without a solid consumer education program.

“Because all gasoline-fueled outdoor power equipment is designed and warranted to operate on E10 or less fuel, OPEI and its members are gravely concerned about the risk of inadvertent mis-fueling by consumers. Mis-fueling can damage or destroy small engines, leaving the consumer with costly repair or replacement costs,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI.

“Americans rely on their outdoor power equipment and many count on it lasting for a decade or more. There are 250 million pieces of legacy outdoor power equipment in use in this country today and the risk of mis-fueling and damage to these products is very real,” said Kiser.

“If you are going to introduce blender pumps and more E15 into the marketplace, then you also need a robust consumer education campaign so consumers understand which fuel blends are safe for which product,” said Kiser. The letter notes that labeling for E15 and other blended fuels is inadequate and not consistent.

National polls conducted by OPEI in 2016 show that consumers remain confused about the changing fuels marketplace. Only 19 percent of respondents said they had seen or heard any communications about ethanol in the last year. Only 31 percent of respondents knew that gasoline blends in excess of E10 are harmful to outdoor power equipment, and only 5 percent knew that gasoline blends in excess of E10 are not approved for use in small engines. Sixty percent of respondents assumed that any retail fuel is safe for any type of engine.

Since 2014, OPEI has conducted its own consumer education campaign with the tagline “Look Before You Pump.” More efforts like this campaign need to be undertaken, notes OPEI’s letter to the EPA, so consumers are better informed to make fueling decisions.

You can download a copy of the letter to the EPA and information about the survey results at www.opei.org under press releases. Get more information about the “Look Before You Pump” campaign at www.LookBeforeYouPump.com and #LookB4UPump.

Read OPEI’s comments to the EPA here.

About OPEI
The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) is an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. OPEI is the advocacy voice of the industry, and a recognized Standards Development Organization for the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and active internationally through the International Standards Organization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) in the development of safety and performance standards. OPEI is managing partner of GIE+EXPO, the industry’s annual international trade show.  OPEI’s Education & Research Foundation is the creative force behind the environmental education program, TurfMutt.com. OPEI-Canada represents members on a host of issues, including recycling, emissions and other regulatory developments across the Canadian provinces. For more information, visit www.opei.org. 

Media contacts
Ami Neiberger-Miller, Four Leaf PR on behalf of OPEI, 703-887-4877, ami@fourleafpr.com
Suzanne Henry, Four Leaf PR on behalf of OPEI, 434-972-7278, suzanne@fourleafpr.com