SEMA Opposes E15 Waiver and Proposed Rule to Prevent Misfueling

SEMA has asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to suspend the partial waiver issued last October to permit the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for model-year 2007 and newer vehicles. While issuing the waiver, the EPA confirmed that there was insufficient test data to permit E15 to be used in model-year 2000 and older light-duty motor vehicles. SEMA has consistently voiced concern that ethanol increases water formation, which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber. The agency is still gathering data for the ’01–’06 vehicles. The EPA’s ruling responded to a request from the ethanol industry to raise the ethanol content in gasoline from 10% (E10) to 15%.

In comments submitted to the EPA, SEMA opposed a proposed rule on how to label gas pumps to help prevent vehicle misfueling. SEMA cited E10 as an example in which the EPA has not satisfied its mission to provide adequate information to the public on whether the fuel they are buying contains ethanol. There are no uniform nationwide requirements. Labeling rules are subject to state regulation. Some states do not require labels, and the rules for other states vary depending upon the content percentage. SEMA recommended that the EPA create national labeling requirements for both E15 and E10, and that the E15 warning label be placed as close as possible to the pump’s product-selection mechanism. Click here to read SEMA’s comments.

Consumers will not see E15 at the pump any time soon. Several lawsuits have been filed against the EPA contending that the agency did not have the authority to issue a partial waiver. Legislation may also be introduced in Congress to overturn the waiver. SEMA will continue to oppose E15 until there are conclusive scientific findings that demonstrate that it will not harm automobiles of any age as a result of corrosion or other chemical incompatibilities. SEMA represents thousands of companies that market products for these vehicles and, through its SEMA Action Network, millions of enthusiasts who buy and operate these automobiles. For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at