The Saga Of Ethanol E15 Continues

EthanolThe American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) informed its members that it appears that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPS) is reviving the 4-gallon minimum fuel purchase at blender pumps that dispense both E10 and E15. Everybody thought that this issue was put to rest in 2012!

As part of its E15 “Misfueling Mitigation Program”, the EPA is allowing retailers to sell fuel with 10 percent ethanol from the same pump used for blends of 15 percent ethanol. This creates a problem for motorcyclists, who could wind up with as much as a quart of E15 in their tanks even if they select the proper grade of fuel.

The ethanol lobby is promoting this approach offering this advice. “E15 can be sold on the same hose with gasoline (E0 to E10). Just require a minimum purchase of four gallons and apply a label stating ‘Minimum Fueling Volume 4 Gallons. Dispensing Less May Violate Federal Law.” The AMA spotted this minimum-purchase policy in 2012 and, with the voices of thousands of motorcyclists, made enough noise that the EPA backed away from it.

Since the average fuel tank for motorcycles holds less than 4 gallons, riders are unable to buy the required minimum of 4 gallons. And, even motorcycles with larger tanks could end up with a blend with more than 10 percent ethanol. Or, end up fueling what you think is safe fuel and end up with something much worse. Check out what some motorists experienced in Oklahoma recently. AMA thought common sense prevailed at the EPA when on Dec. 17, 2012, the agency informed the AMA it had reversed its decision to require the 4-gallon minimum purchase.

After reading the pro-ethanol group’s “roadmap”, AMA immediately sent a letter to the EPA and contacted the EPA public relations office for clarification. The agency has not yet responded to AMA’sletter. But the media inquiry prompted a response.

According to an EPA spokesperson:

Dispensing E10 in volumes less than 4 gallons from a pump that supplies E10 only is absolutely NOT a violation.
The excerpted portion you highlighted should refer only to the less than 1% of gas stations that have gasoline pumps that dispense BOTH E10 and E15 from a single hose or nozzle. The 4 gallon fueling minimum for E10 is only required for these “co-dispensing pumps” and is there to protect consumers. The 4 gallon minimum ensures that engines that are not allowed to use E15 (like those in motorcycles) do not inadvertently get too much ethanol in the tank. To comply with EPA regulations, most stations with co-dispensing pumps simply put up a sign that says the co-dispensing pump may only be used for passenger vehicles and separately offer a dedicated E10 pump for motorcycles and other engines that cannot use E15. Motorcyclists or other types of vehicles and engines that require E10 in volumes of less than 4 gallons should not have a problem finding E10 in any volume they need.

Please send a prewritten comment to your senators and representative by clicking on the “Take Action” link.

23 Responses to “The Saga Of Ethanol E15 Continues”

  1. 1 BOSS HAWG Sep 6th, 2016 at 9:48 am

    Good article.

    Took action as Cyril suggests above and I hope all the readers here take a moment to do the same with letters to their congressmen and congress-ladies.

    This E15/E10 genetically modified corn so called fuel shit will ruin your engines. Sort of like fructose in our foods/beverages and what it does to our bodies….Boycott all E15 and Monsanto GMOs!


  2. 2 SoCalPhun Sep 6th, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Sorry for the ignorance on this….

    Why are the Feds trying so hard to get E15 in our tanks? Is it for environmental reasons? Corn lobbyists?

    Looking for a non-biased answer, if at all possible.

  3. 3 Robert Pandya Sep 6th, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    There is a surplus of government mandated ethanol in storage. Cheap fuel prices have not been enough to increase consumption at existing E-10 levels. This is a mandated quantity by politicians, not scientists.

    Ethanol is the same as celery in meatloaf – a filler. Less energy density, worse mileage, hotter running engines, and fuel system erosion especially for smaller engines. Ask the lawn mower industry.

    Funny that so many gas station on my ride from Sturgis back to Texas featured Non-Ethanol fuel – often sold at a premium. They will get you coming and going I guess.

    Ethanol is useless for most of us – increased taxes, inane subsidies and the rise of global food costs as a result. Follow the money – THAT is why Ethanol exists.

    Have a smooth week –

    Robert Pandya
    Motorcycle Enthusiast
    Prefers Corn Tortillas, not Gas

  4. 4 marcus Sep 6th, 2016 at 12:29 pm

    Robert is spot on. Follow the money. It is a bizarre labarynth of big corporate lobbyists, and even stranger political bedfellows that continue this scam. The left hates it because of the impact on food prices, and the net damage to the environment. The right hates it because it is nothing more than massive corporate welfare. Should be dead on arrival, right? Money always buys a politician.

    Here is an old but relevant article on Bloomberg. Same story all over again.

  5. 5 Woody's Sep 6th, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Mr. Pandya is exactly right. From a motor fuel standpoint there is absolutely zero advantage to the ethanol blends. It’s all about the money and a political cause. Even the argument that it would make us less dependent on oil has no numbers to back it up, as the energy used along the way, from growing the corn to electricity used in distilling it wipes out any kind of advantage once it’s been put in a vehicle and driven. It has been a boon to makers of small battery-powered devices though, as this crap is so terrible in small engines that I now have a rechargeable leaf blower, chainsaw and string trimmer.

  6. 6 EPA's nightmare Sep 6th, 2016 at 1:43 pm

    No problem. A gallon in the trash can, 3 in the tank.

  7. 7 GUNK Sep 6th, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    It’s always about the money. Up here in Canada every Shell Station sells ethanol free Hi test and so does a local Canuk fuel Stn. called Domo. All the vintage bike guys have been having a bitch of a time with shot O-rings, carb parts etc. Most of them are made from Butyl rubber. In order to deal with the E-krap the switch to Viton O-rings is on. for fuel taps, carb kits etc.. The bottom line is We shouldn’t have to put up with this garbage, But as the Guys have said The Corn lobby has deep pockets and so does Monsanto.
    Here’s a kit You can get out of England to remove all the ethanol from Your fuel. Or You can watch the vids and make Your own E- exraction kit.

  8. 8 GUNK Sep 6th, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    Woops Guess I should’a thrown in the website eh.

  9. 9 Blackmax Sep 6th, 2016 at 4:25 pm

    EPA Sucks, Ethanol Sucks !!!
    Leave us alone !!!
    Nuff Said !!!!

  10. 10 Zenaldo Sep 6th, 2016 at 8:36 pm

    Uncle Sam always know what’s best for us…just ask him…

  11. 11 domino Sep 7th, 2016 at 6:02 am

    I just rebuilt my CV carb ……AGAIN!!!
    …………….. Domino Dave …………………

  12. 12 Chrisso Sep 7th, 2016 at 7:26 am

    how corny!…fight fight fight, stand up and be counted!

  13. 13 Waillyd Sep 7th, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Please, all you boat, bike, ATV, power equipment owners goto the am a website (even if you are not a member) and send in the pre written letter to our legislator. Only takes a minute. Thank you.

  14. 14 JohnnySpeed Sep 7th, 2016 at 10:01 am

    Thanks for the refresher on the motives behind this to all the commenters. This is something we all need to get motivated to take action about. Ethanol is the worst. I’ve spent more time than I care to admit rebuilding carburetors because of garbage fuel.

  15. 15 Thos.JM Sep 7th, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    SoCalPhun – Brought to you by the AgraBusinses/Corn Growers lobbyists in DC for the financial benefit of AgraBusiness in general and the mega Corn Growers segment of AgraBusiness specifically to the detriment of both the family farmer , our health as well as the motors we ride and drive . Or to be more succinct . Its all about money . Ours that is going into their back pockets all for the privilege of enduring a plethora of consequences they could not care less about

  16. 16 ROBERT WHITE Sep 7th, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    AMA needs a history lesson. Organizations fighting to stop E15 from its national debut fought to eliminate the option of E0, E10 and E15 from the same hose in 2012. The logic used was that the maximum 0.17 gallons of residual fuel left in the hose was E15 (obviously could be E0 and E10) and the next customer only needed less than a gallon of fuel (average fuel for vehicles is 9 gallons). The stars would need to align for this scenario, but they convinced EPA of the concern and that is what led to the 4-gallon minimum on E0 and E10 when E15 is sold from the same hose.

    Fast forward just a few months, and again, organizations, including AMA, fought back on the 4-gallon provision, despite it coming from their own requests to address the issue. EPA again engaged and in 2013 allowed stations to employ a new strategy, if they chose, to address the concern. If station owners do not want to use the 4-gallon minimum, they can have at least one fueling position that does not offer E15. This allows all non-approved vehicles the opportunity to fuel without any concern for the miniscule fuel residual left behind IF the last customer used E15. The 4-gallon minimum was not removed, and AMA knows this truth. EPA simply added another option to allow those station owners wanting to cater to motorcycles the ability to do so.

    All stations have the option of selling E15 from its own hose, a practice recommended by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), but one that costs retailers additional money upfront and annually though extra maintenance.

    It remains interesting that AMA is so fixated on E15. Most motorcycles require premium, and many stations have chosen to no longer offer premium fuel. The main reason is that there is just no volume and they need to make a better ROI on their equipment assets. We don’t see AMA asking the federal government to force them to sell premium, which is a much bigger issue for riders, but here they are again attempting to convince the EPA to step in and stop E15. Since right now just 0.22% of all stations in the country offer E15, and they all employ these three strategies based on their local desires, the chances of a rider finding a station that chooses the 4-gallon minimum option, is the only retailer in the area, and the last customer chose E15, is going to be rare.

    I personally own a 2009 Harley, and it has a 6-gallon tank. While I do understand that not all motorcycles can deal with the 4-gallon minimum, it is also just one of three legal ways to offer E15. If riders want to ensure that they have premium available, and that they can fuel around E15, they should talk to the retailers, not the federal government. I think it is also important to note that in over four years of E15 in the marketplace that NOT one motorcycle has misfueled with E15.

  17. 17 Woody's Sep 7th, 2016 at 3:12 pm

    It also remains interesting that we’re forced to run inferior fuel, but who’s counting?

  18. 18 Chris Sep 7th, 2016 at 3:16 pm

    @Waillyd, no disrespect, but the pre-written form letter to your representative is one of the absolute least effective means of drawing attention to any cause.

    A personally written (or typed) letter that explains the problem succinctly, how you are personally harmed, and what you’d like to see done is far more effective. Minimize emotions and stick to the facts; those staffers reading the letters (no, your representative, with few exceptions, does not read your letter) have a lot to go through and appreciate fact and reason much more than emotional blathering.

    Form letters come into your representative’s offices by the hundreds and on a daily basis. There is no effective way to answer them all or to gauge the real reach of the letter because validating that one person hasn’t sent in multiple letters is difficult. They typically get boxed and stuffed into a closet with very little consideration.

    Write, call, show up at the office, or request a meeting and do it soon. You might be surprised to learn how many states have passed laws criminalizing your right to speak out against the large agri-business firms and their practices.

  19. 19 ROBERT WHITE Sep 7th, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Stations can sell ethanol free, there is no law or regulation from the federal government that requires them to sell ethanol. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is not a mandate. Oil companies can buy credits on the open market instead of blending and many do today. Nearly 10% of all fuel stations in the country offer E0, or ethanol free, today. If you want it, ask for it.

  20. 20 Woody's Sep 7th, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    2 RWhite, whether it’s alcohol or something nastier, many areas of the country CAN’T get “straight gasoline” so I think you’re being coy with us saying that there is no law or regulation from the federal government that requires them to sell ethanol. I have to travel 50+ miles to get no-alcohol premium (great for the environment driving extra miles to fuel my ’64 classic car & ’72 bike, as well as my older chainsaws, chipper-shredder, etc. I have to go much farther to find lower grade 0% alcohol gas. What’s more, having to add healthy doses of fuel stabilizer to gasohol so it’ll be functional in seldom-used items probably doesn’t help emissions either.
    I get it, being the, “leading trade association for America’s ethanol industry, working to advance development, production & use of ethanol as a beneficial renewable fuel” pays your bills, but that also instills bias, no?

  21. 21 Milt Sep 8th, 2016 at 3:51 am
  22. 22 Woody's Sep 8th, 2016 at 9:50 am

    2Milt, good info, but sadly it won’t make a difference because the whole ethanol thing was never about the science, only the money and a political goal. Kind of like saying something “is not a mandate”, yet oil companies have to buy credits to avoid it. If you have to pay to avoid something, it’s a mandate at MY house 😉

  23. 23 burnout Sep 8th, 2016 at 9:53 am

    ”Ethanol is a dream. A bad one.” Daniel Tosh

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Cyril Huze