A consortium of U.S. industry groups, including the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), filed a petition asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the continued sale and availability of gasoline blends of no greater than 10% ethanol (E10) for the 400 million engine products used in the United States.
It is the latest move in the struggle by OPEI and the other groups find accommodation for the EPA's approval of the use of E15 in gasoline. The groups say that, despite urging from industry, EPA was not deliberative in its review process and did not assure that E15 would not harm existing products or pose safety risks. Approving E15 for use in a small subset of engines on the road, the groups say, creates a high risk that consumers will unknowingly or mistakenly put E15 into products for which it has not been approved.
The consortium includes associations representing auto, marine, motorcycle, outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft, and snowmobile manufacturers. These products were not designed, manufactured, or warranted to run on any fuel containing more than 10% ethanol, and 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 EPA’s prior experience with fuel transitions and misfueling demonstrates that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent misfueling. In 1974, as EPA led the transition to unleaded fuels, the Agency reported a misfueling rate of 15% over 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 assure E10 fuel will be available for legacy fleet. Therefore the petitioners request that EPA 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.
• EPA has enough evidence that emission control devices would be significantly “impaired” by E15 to support a requirement for E10.
In addition to OPEI the coalition includes:
• American Motorcyclist Association
• Association of Global Automakers
• Association of Marina Industries
• International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association
• Motorcycle Industry Council
• National Boating Federation
• National Marine Manufacturers Associations
• Personal Watercraft Industry Association
• Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association
• Specialty Vehicle Institute of America
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