SEMA eNews Vol. 22, No. 18, May 2, 2019

SEMA Opposes EPA Proposal to Permit Year-Round Sales of E15 Gasoline

By SEMA Washington, D.C., Staff

SEMA submitted comments to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in opposition to its proposed regulation that gas stations be allowed to sell E15 year-round. E15 is gasoline that contains 15% ethanol. Currently, the EPA prohibits the sale of E15 between June 1 and September 15 due to concerns that higher blends of ethanol combined with warmer temperatures may lead to increased ground-level ozone formation and smog.

Large volumes of ethanol are required to be blended into gasoline under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) enacted by Congress in 2005. The law’s blending mandates appear to be driving the EPA’s push to expand E15 sales since sales of E10 gasoline are not meeting required RFS blending levels. While the RFS law was intended to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil, it did not take into consideration the fact that ethanol can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers, especially in older cars and certain high-performance equipment that is not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials.  

The EPA recognized the threat ethanol poses to older vehicles when it made it illegal for motorists to fuel pre-’01 vehicles with E15 gas. Besides opposing an expansion of E15 sales, SEMA has urged the EPA to revisit the E15 warning label to ensure that consumers understand that E15 is incompatible with older vehicles, motorcycles, ATVs, boats, small engines and many other machines. The current E15 label is about 3½ x 3 in. SEMA supports making it larger and including the words “WARNING” and “Check your owner’s manual,” along with pictograms of a classic vehicle, boat, motorcycle, ATV, lawnmower, chainsaw and snowmobile.

Download SEMA’s comments to the EPA.  

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

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