Ethanol-Blended Fuel StudyThe American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) is asking a key U.S. House panel to include motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in any future study of ethanol-blended gasoline.
In a letter sent July 11 to the House Energy and Environment Subcommittee, the AMA, along with its partner organization, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association (ATVA), urged subcommittee Chairman Andy Harris (R-Md.) "that on- or off-highway motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) be part of any scientific study by the NAS" related to ethanol-blended gasoline. NAS stands for the National Academy of Sciences. The subcommittee held a hearing on July 7 entitled "Hitting the Ethanol Blend Wall: Examining the Science on E15." The hearing focused on E15, a new gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent alcohol by volume. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in October 2010 approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). In January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-2006 light-duty vehicles to the approved list.No on- or off-highway motorcycles or ATVs are currently approved. At its hearing, the subcommittee indicated that it may require the EPA to arrange with the NAS to study a full range of issues related to E15. In the letter, AMA Washington Representative Rick Podliska said the AMA and ATVA have concerns about: E15 being put in motorcycles or ATVs mistakenly and damaging engines; the continued availability of gasoline that has no ethanol, or gasoline with only a 10 percent blend that is safe for use in motorcycles and ATVs; the possibility that "blender pumps" — which dispense multiple grades of gasoline through a single hose — could introduce enough ethanol into gasoline to be used in a motorcycle or ATV to damage the vehicle; and that ethanol absorbs water, which could be harmful to motorcycles and ATVs. Rick"In conclusion, to address our concerns, the AMA and ATVA urge that on- or off-highway motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study by NAS," Podliska wrote. "Not only should the study focus on the short- and long-term impacts on vehicles and engines, but should consider financial implications of increased ethanol use in gasoline on consumers; fuel producers, distributors and retailers; vehicle and engine manufacturers, dealers and service facilities; and the environment." To read the letter, click here.