Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys®: AMA & EPA Iron out Solution over Ethanol Concentrations in Gasoline.
Ethanol fuels. Effective, clean, cheap and—and bad for your motorcycle. The grain based alternative to fossil fuels has been in widespread use since 2005 across the nation and the focus of a controversial national policy promoting its use and development in an effort to wean America off of a dependency on foreign oil. Good news right? Well, not exactly, at least not for every type of gasoline powered machine on our roads.
In lower concentrations, ethanol fuel is essentially harmless to a motorcycle engine. However, gasoline blended with higher percentages of ethanol can actually harm your motorcycle’s engine. Concentrations of 15% or higher can severely and sometimes irreversibly damage the inner workings of the motor. The most commonly experienced problem is a significant degradation of the bikes overall performance.
Compounding the issue, the EPA had recently set forward a motion that will allow “E15” (15% ethanol fuels) to be sold out of the same pumps as E0, E5 or E10 fuels. This makes it extremely difficult for any biker to know with any certainty, what kind of fuel is safe to put in their machine.
The American Motorcyclist Association objected to this new plan, citing the aforementioned performance degradation and other ethanol related engine problems stemming from higher ethanol use in motorcycle engines. While the AMA has continuously supported the use of cleaner fuels, it only wishes to see the use of cleaner fuels be implemented with all drivers in mind, and that includes motorcyclists. The AMA has proposed a modification to the EPA’s newly devised system—a modification that the AMA feels will benefit all parties involved.
This newly proposed alteration to the EPA’s plan is to continue the sale of E15 fuels, but at separate pumps from E0, E5 and E10 fuels—and clearly labelled as such. This new system allows riders and users of small engine powered machinery to avoid utilizing higher grade ethanol fuels, while at the same time allowing drivers of larger vehicles the option to fuel up on low percentage ethanol fuels or go with the higher grade stuff. The EPA has approved this new approach and has since begun to spread the word on the new idea and has posted the guidelines for it upon their website to help retailers understand what has to be done in order to protect the engines of all vehicles using ethanol.
Thankfully, the AMA and EPA were able to come to a quick and painless settlement, minimizing the potential damage that could have occurred from motorcycle riders not understanding the potential harm that they faced when fueling up. The good news is that the word is out now, and retailers will soon have to make the necessary changes, so it won’t be long until we see separate, properly labelled pumps for E15 and E10 and lower percentage fuels at gas stations everywhere.
Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys® – Ethanol Fuel and Motorcycles.
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