The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is standing behind a policy that would require a four-gallon minimum fuel purchase from pumps that dispense gasoline with 10 percent ethanol (E10) and 15 percent ethanol (E15) fuel from the same hose.
Yes, you read that correctly. The EPA is in the business of telling consumers how much gasoline they need to put in their tanks and appears perfectly content to tell consumers that filling up with less from certain pumps could risk violating federal law.
But why would the agency do that? Because the EPA knows that misfueling with higher ethanol blends is a legitimate threat to consumers and engines.
Blender pumps — which can accommodate E10, E15 and other higher ethanol-blend fuels from the same hose — have become more common as the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing volume of biofuels in the fuel supply. But blender pumps can leave as much as a quart or more of higher-ethanol fuel in blender-pump dispenser hoses after a vehicle finishes fueling.
Accidentally or unknowingly putting high ethanol blend fuels in some vehicles or equipment could cause significant engine damage over time including engine overheating, unintentional clutch engagement and metal corrosion. And to make matters worse, many small engines, such as those in motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles, recreational watercraft and outdoor equipment — not to mention the portable gas canisters many use to fill their outdoor power equipment — hold less than four gallons of fuel, and are not approved to operate on fuel higher than E10.
We’re not alone in confronting this issue. Check out what the American Motorcyclist Association has to say in their latest blog post.
We cannot let the EPA continue its mishandling of the RFS. The policy is broken and it’s costing our engines, our environment and many people’s wallets a pretty penny. It’s on us to press Congress to keep the EPA in check and repeal or reform the ethanol mandates.