By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff
SEMA submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in opposition to its proposed rule to modify or remove the current E15 warning label requirement for gasoline that contains 15% ethanol.
Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations, such as E15, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers in older automobiles that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials and certain specialty high-performance equipment installed on newer vehicles. In 2011, the EPA prohibited the use of E15 fuel in motor vehicles made before 2001, along with motorcycles, boats and gasoline-powered equipment.
The EPA’s proposed new label would weaken the warning message and be smaller in size. SEMA argued that these changes would increase the likelihood of E15 gasoline being used in incompatible vehicles.
SEMA also opposed the EPA proposal to remove the E15 warning label requirement all together. Such removal would place the responsibility to know if their vehicle is compatible solely on the consumer, which would lead to much more misfuelling. Instead of removing or limiting the warning label, SEMA suggested in its comments that the label should be strengthened by expanding it to include the words “WARNING” and “Check your owner’s manual”; be 5x7 inches or larger; and include pictograms depicting a boat, a lawnmower, a chainsaw, a motorcycle and a snowmobile.
SEMA also recommended that the EPA take this opportunity to establish a uniform national labeling standard for gasoline that contains 10% ethanol or less. The labels are currently subject to state law and some states do not require that consumers be informed that the gasoline being purchased contains ethanol.
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