SEMA eNews Vol. 22, No. 7, February 14, 2019

Federal Bill Introduced to Require Larger Fuel Pump Warning Labels for E15 Gasoline

By Washington, D.C., Staff

SEMA-supported legislation (H.R. 1024) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would expand the current warning label required on gas pumps dispensing E15 (gasoline that’s 15% ethanol). The new label would include the words “WARNING” and “Check your owner’s manual”, be 5 x 7 inches or larger, and include pictograms depicting a boat, lawnmower, chainsaw, motorcycle and snowmobile. The current label is about 3½ x 3 inches and does not include the words “warning,” “owner’s manual,” or pictograms.

Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E15, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers in automobiles that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials. In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made it illegal to used E15 fuel in motor vehicles made before 2001, along with motorcycles, boats and gasoline-powered equipment.

The “Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2019” sponsored by Representatives Austin Scott (R-GA) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) addresses the concern that many consumers are unaware of the potential harm E15 poses for millions of gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment.  The EPA would have 180 days to update its current warning label.

“As we are presented with more choices at the gas pump, it is imperative that American consumers know exactly what kind of fuel they are putting into their engines,” said Rep. Scott. “Gas pumps today are riddled with confusing labels and fail to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of fueling small engine equipment with E15. For this reason, with the support of Congresswoman Frankel, I introduced the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2019 to ensure that E15 is more clearly labelled and consumers are made better aware of the damages misfuelling can cause to their vehicles, power equipment, and boats. By making fuel pump labels easier to decipher and coordinating public education programs at multiple levels, this legislation can save consumers time and energy at the pumps and avoid headaches and costs down the road.”

For more information, visit the SEMA Action Network website.

For details, contact Eric Snyder at erics@sema.org.

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