Law & Order

Federal Trade Commission Strengthens Labeling Rules for Ethanol

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) amended its fuel regulations to require more specific information be posted at the pump regarding the amount of ethanol that has been added to gasoline at levels above 10% (E10).

First established in 1979, the FTC’s “Fuel Rating Rule” specifies methods for rating and certifying fuel along with labeling requirements. As of July 14, 2016, ethanol contents ranging from 11% to 83% will be called “Ethanol Flex Fuels” and retailers must post labels with either the exact ethanol concentrations or an amount rounded to the nearest multiple of 10 for mid-level blends (11% to 50%). For high-level blends, the label may reference the exact amount, round to the nearest multiple of 10, or label the fuel as “51% to 83% Ethanol.”  The ethanol flex fuel labels must include the text “Use Only in Flex-Fuel Vehicles/May Harm Other Engines.”

SEMA supports the FTC’s amended rule as a way to raise consumer awareness at the pump, since ethanol causes metal corrosion and dissolves certain plastics and rubbers, posing harm to older vehicles that were not constructed with ethanol-compatible materials.

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at