PICKERINGTON, Ohio — The California Air Resources Board has told the American Motorcyclist Association 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.
CARB made the comment in response to a letter from AMA Vice President for Government Relations Wayne Allard, who expressed concern 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 hasn’t approved its use in motorcycles or ATVs.
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. A blender pump dispenses different fuel blends through the same hose.
Michael Waugh, chief of the CARB transportation fuels branch, responded to Allard’s letter on behalf of CARB Chairwoman Mary Nichols. In his Nov. 6 letter, Waugh said: “Please be advised that E15 is not approved for sale in California, and if ARB chooses to allow E15 as a transportation fuel, it would take several years to complete the vehicle testing and rule development necessary to introduce a new transportation fuel into California’s market.
“Meanwhile, U.S. EPA has committed to ‘closely follow the results of their E15 Compliance Survey to determine whether additional misfueling mitigation measures are necessary.’ We will follow U.S. EPA’s continued assessment of E15 misfueling and will keep in mind these concerns should we move forward with allowing E15 in California,” Waugh wrote.
The California Air Resources Board is a part of the California Environmental Protection Agency. Its mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare and ecological resources through the effective and efficient reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering the effects on the economy of the state.
The AMA 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.
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.