SEMA eNews Vol. 14, No. 4, January 27, 2011

SEMA Opposes EPA Expansion of E15 Waiver to MY 2001 and Newer Cars

Several weeks ago, SEMA requested that the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) suspend its partial waiver to permit the sale
of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) for model-year (MY) ’07 and newer
vehicles. Instead, the EPA has taken another step in the wrong
direction by expanding the waiver to include MY ’01-’06 vehicles. The
decision seems to conflict with President Obama’s Executive Order from
earlier this week that requires government agencies to balance social
and economic costs.

The EPA agrees with SEMA that older cars (pre-MY ’01) should not be fueled with E15. The EPA reached its decision based on concern that ethanol’s corrosive qualities could harm the vehicle’s engine and other metal, plastic and rubber components. The EPA has proposed that a warning label be posted on the gas pump to prevent misfueling. SEMA opposes this solution as incomplete given the significant threat of damage that could arise from misfueling. Even for newer vehicles, the label will cause confusion since most owner’s manuals instruct the motorist not to use ethanol blends higher than E10 and warranty coverage may be denied for damage caused by misfueling.

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 (SAN), millions of enthusiasts who buy and operate these automobiles.

For more information, contact Stuart Gosswein at stuartg@sema.org.

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