The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must stick to its proposed Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014, protecting motorcyclists from the detrimental effects of fuel blends with ethanol content above 10 percent, Wayne Allard, vice president of government relations for the American Motorcyclist Association said today in a meeting with the White House Office of Management and Budget.
“We support the realistic change in Renewable Fuel Standard and Renewable Volume Obligations for ethanol proposed by the EPA last fall,” Allard reiterated during an afternoon press conference. “We oppose any attempt by the administration to backtrack from the EPA’s position for a number of reasons, and are very concerned when we hear that the EPA may change course and recommend a higher standard for 2014.”
Joining Allard in the OMB meeting and press conference were representatives of the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers, the BoatUS Foundation, the Environmental Working Group, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, ActionAid, Friends of the Earth, the National Restaurant Association and the National Taxpayers Union.
Since the 2005 inception of the RFS, the EPA has annually increased the required volume of ethanol fuel producers must blend into their products. In 2014, the EPA for the first time proposed a reduction from the statutory requirements. The agency correctly cited the fuel market’s inability to sustain further increases without harming motorists, retailers and refiners.
The AMA supports the EPA’s fall 2014 RFS proposal.
“The proliferation of these higher-ethanol fuels, such as E15, creates a practical and a legal hazard for the owners of the estimated 11 million motorcycles currently in operation,” Allard said. “No motorcycle on the road today has EPA approval to use fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol. If a motorcyclist should happen to inadvertently use E15 — a strong possibility, given the confusing labeling and lax EPA enforcement — the action would void the vehicle warranty and place the motorcyclist in violation of federal law.”
Allard also raised these concerns:
- The EPA has publicly acknowledged that ethanol in gasoline can damage internal combustion engines by increasing exhaust temperatures and indirectly causing component failures.
- The Congressional Budget Office estimated that if RFS volumes are not reduced by 2015 (except for cellulosic ethanol), the price of “petroleum-based diesel would rise by 30 cents to 51 cents per gallon, the price of E10 would increase by 13 cents to 26 cents per gallon, and the price of E85 would decline by 91 cents to $1.27 per gallon.”
- The inadequate labeling of pumps that dispense E10 and E15 fuel could result in misfueling by unsuspecting consumers.
- The reduced fuel economy of ethanol blends increases the actual cost to consumers.
“Congress provided the EPA with flexibility in setting production standards, because Congress understood that market conditions could change,” Allard said. “The EPA must use that authority now to implement the best policy for the American consumer, which is to follow through with its original recommendation and not bow to political pressure.”
“In the long term, Congress must address the flawed RFS to ensure that millions of motorcyclists and other consumers have access to safe fuels for their vehicles,” Allard said.