Ethanol – USA

California Air Resources Board says E15 ethanol-gas blend won’t appear in California for ‘years’

The AMA (American Motorcyclists Association) says that it, “Has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines caused by the inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available, and has asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the effects of E15 on engines.

The AMA Vice President for Government Relations Wayne Allard, wrote to the California Air Resources Board (CARB) expressing concerns about potential misfueling of E15 into motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles. E15 is a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hasn’t approved its use in motorcycles or ATVs.

CARB responded by telling the AMA, “That even if it approves the sale of the new E15 ethanol-gasoline blend in California, the blend wouldn’t appear in the market for several years.”

However there would appear to be a problem with “blender” pumps that dispense different fuel blends through the same hose.

To avoid misfueling, the EPA is requiring warning labels on gas pumps and requiring all consumers buy at least four gallons of gas when they buy from blender pumps.

Byron Bunker of the EPA National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory responded to the AMA, “EPA requires that retail stations that own or operate blender pumps either dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle if able or, in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose, require that at least four gallons of fuel be purchased to prevent vehicles and engines with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to gasoline-ethanol blended fuels containing greater than 10 volume percent ethanol.”

Residual Fuel

Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, “Unlike an automobile or SUV with a large fuel tank, the residual fuel left in a fueling hose could be detrimental to the performance of motorcycle or ATV engines due to the small size of their fuel tanks and the higher concentration of ethanol that would, therefore, be present in the fuel.”

“The problem with the new EPA policy is that not all motorcycle and ATV gas tanks hold four or more gallons.”

“Not only do we find it unacceptable for the EPA to mandate that our members buy minimum amounts of gas, but the EPA answer simply won’t work because of the sizes of many motorcycle and ATV gas tanks,” said Allard. “Furthermore, off-highway riders take containers of gas with them on their trips, and most times those containers are much smaller than four gallons.

“The EPA needs to come up with a better solution,” he said. “The EPA also needs to back an independent study to determine whether E15 is safe for motorcycle and ATV engines.”

The AMA is concerned about E15 because it burns hotter than gasoline that contains a lesser amount of ethanol. In engines not designed to dissipate that extra heat, damage in the form of premature wear can result. Although this is a concern in all motorcycles, it’s particularly problematic for air-cooled engines found in many motorcycles and ATVs. Moreover, use of E15 may even void the manufacturer warranty.

Fuelling Reports

We recently reported on the Yorkshire Region of the Motorcycle Action Group (MAG UK) recently launched a campaign regarding the increase of the maximum permissible content of bio-ethanol in petrol, from 5% to 10% (known as E10) under European Union directive 2009/30/EC, which is due to come into force in 2013.

John Chatterton-Ross, FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) Director of Public Affairs has informed us that, the FIM through their Alternative Energy Working Group will be considering the issue of Ethanol  in petrol.

The FIM Alternative Energy Working Group’s mission is to make motorcycle racing greener by integrating the latest technological developments in the field of alternative energy in FIM’s competitions and to prepare the future of motorcycling.

Information & Links

Ethanol is essentially grain alcohol produced from crops, that is mixed with gasoline to produce an ethanol-gasoline blend motor fuel. In October 2010, the EPA approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). Then, in January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-06 light-duty vehicles to the approved list.

AMA – California Air Resources Board says E15 ethanol-gas blend won’t appear in California for ‘years’ – 9th November 2012 – Click Here

AMA – Four-gallon minimum fuel mandate: EPA fails to meet deadline in response to congressional letter seeking answers – Click Here

AMA – Issues & Legislation – Click Here

FIM Alternative Energy Working Group – Click Here

Yorkshire Region of the Motorcycle Action Group – Ethanol In Petrol – Click Here


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  1. Introduction of E15 fuel into the U.S. marketplace may stall in 2014

    15th November 2013

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing to reduce the total amount of ethanol required in transportation fuel nationwide in 2014, which could slow the introduction of E15 fuel into the marketplace, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

    That’s good news for motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle riders who fear they may inadvertently put E15 fuel in their machines and possibly cause engine damage once the fuel becomes widespread nationwide, the AMA said.

    Read more


    AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) is lobbying on E15 Fuel bring the lobby to their Capitol Hill Washington DC.

    Meanwhile in the UK/EU the debate/lobby (very quietly) is on E10 fuel.

    Latest was in August 2013 – DfT Consultation

    Read more

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