Federal officials mandating minimum four-gallon gasoline purchase from ethanol-blend pumps

PICKERINGTON, OH – August 8, 2012 – (Motor Sports Newswire) –  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will require all consumers to buy at least four gallons of gasoline from certain gas pumps after the new E15 ethanol-gasoline blend is introduced into the market, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The EPA revealed the requirement to the AMA in a letter dated Aug. 1, responding to AMA concerns that E15 — a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume — could be put in motorcycle and ATV gas tanks inadvertently when consumers use blender pumps. A blender pump dispenses different fuel blends through the same hose, and the vast majority of motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use today aren’t designed to operate on E15 fuel.

“With E15 gasoline, our members who make a concerted effort to fuel their motorcycles or ATVs with E10-or-less gasoline may be unknowingly refueling with residual fuel left in the hose,” Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, wrote in a June 20 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

“Unlike an automobile or SUV that has a large fuel tank, the residual fuel left in a fueling hose could be detrimental to the performance of motorcycle or ATV engines due to the small size of their fuel tanks and the higher concentration of ethanol that would, therefore, be present in the fuel,” Allard wrote.

“In addition, the use of E15 will lower fuel efficiency and possibly cause premature engine failure,” he wrote. “Use of E15 fuel voids many manufacturer warranties. In off-road engines, the effects can even be dangerous for users.”

Byron Bunker of the EPA National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory responded to the AMA on behalf of Jackson.

“EPA requires that retail stations that own or operate blender pumps either dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle if able or, in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose, require that at least four gallons of fuel be purchased to prevent vehicles and engines with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to gasoline-ethanol blended fuels containing greater than 10 volume percent ethanol,” Bunker wrote.

“Additionally, EPA is requiring that retail stations that offer E10 and E15 from the same hose and nozzle use additional labeling to inform consumers about the minimum purchase requirement,” Bunker wrote.

“Since motorcyclists and ATV users, as you suggest, have relatively small fuel tanks, they should pay careful attention to the labeling of blender pumps to ensure that an appropriate fuel is chosen, in this case E10 or E0,” he wrote.

Another problem with the new EPA policy, Allard said, is that not all motorcycle and ATV gas tanks hold four or more gallons.

“Not only do we find it unacceptable for the EPA to mandate that everyone — including our members — buy minimum amounts of gas, but the EPA answer simply won’t work because of the sizes of many motorcycle and ATV gas tanks and the fact that off-highway riders take containers of gas with them on their trips, and most times those containers are much smaller than four gallons,” Allard said.

“The EPA needs to come up with a better solution,” he said. “The EPA also needs to back an independent study to determine whether E15 is safe for motorcycle and ATV engines.”

The AMA has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines caused by the inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available, and has asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the effects of E15.

Ethanol is essentially grain alcohol produced from crops such as corn that is mixed with gasoline to produce an ethanol-gasoline blend motor fuel. In October 2010, the EPA approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). Then, in January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-06 light-duty vehicles to the approved list.

No motorcycles or ATVs are currently on the list.

About the American Motorcyclist Association
Since 1924, the AMA has protected the future of motorcycling and promoted the motorcycle lifestyle. AMA members come from all walks of life, and they navigate many different routes on their journey to the same destination: freedom on two wheels. As the world’s largest motorcycling rights organization, the AMA advocates for motorcyclists’ interests in the halls of local, state and federal government, the committees of international governing organizations, and the court of public opinion. Through member clubs, promoters and partners, the AMA sanctions more motorsports competition and motorcycle recreational events than any other organization in the world. AMA members receive money-saving discounts from dozens of well-known suppliers of motorcycle services, gear and apparel, bike rental, transport, hotel stays and more. Through the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame, the AMA honors the heroes and the heritage of motorcycling for future generations. For more information, please visit AmericanMotorcyclist.com.



  1. Government run amok. We are headed down a road that we cannot take. Remember to vote in November and end this unreasonable dictate from OUR government.


    • I agree that it seems pretty bizarre for government to be involved in this … but isn’t the alternative for the station operator to run all the fuel through the same hose and for your delicate ATV to get more E15 than it can handle if you put in a small amount of fuel?

      The best thing for you and your vehicle is for the station operator to take the first of the two options available: “dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle”. If they take the cheap route and dispense everything from a single hose, you’d be completely happy to dispense the residual E15 fuel into your tank without any labeling or indication that this is happening?

  2. Make no mistake this is about the money, not the environment. The continuing mandates to use more and more ethanol are the result of a concerted effort by the corn growers to line their pockets at the expense of the American consumers. Lobbying expenditures by the corn industry have grown steadily from $10 million per year in 1995 to nearly $20 million in 2010 and now they are doing television ads to convince you that high fructose corn syrup is good for you (its not!). The benefit to them is billions of $ in sales and government subsidies to put ethanol in our gasoline and put gobs of high fructose corn syrup in the foods we eat. There is no environmental benefit to this policy and in fact it does great harm to the environment and our health. We (the taxpayers) subsidize corn production with billions of dollars of taxpayer money. In the fifteen years between 1995 and 2009, the government spent nearly $74 BILLION to ensure that farmers produced more corn than the market would otherwise bear (supported and pushed through congress by both Democrats and Republicans!). That corn then got used to make high fructose corn syrup at an increasingly low price, but that is not enough. To really use up that production of corn they need to increase the use of ethanol and the only way to do that is to force consumers to purchase it. So the EPA mandates the use of ethanol under the guise of “energy independence” and “environment.” But that’s all BS, the real winners are the mega farms that make billions of profits and spin some of that money back to congress to keep the subsidies and use mandates in place. 10 percent of the recipients of farm subsidies collect 73 percent of the subsidies. Among those getting the largest subsidies are Fortune 500 companies such as John Hancock Life Insurance (over $2.8 million), International Paper ($1.2 million), Chevron Texaco ($447,000), many celebrities and politicians including David Rockefeller ($553,000), Ted Turner ($206,000), Scottie Pippen ($210,000), Chuck Grassley (R, Iowa, who got $225,000), Gordon Smith (R, Oregon who got $45,400), and Ken Salazar (D, Colorado, who got $161,000), and many more. So, this is not a battle against “environmentalist” or the EPA per se, it is a battle that will be won by whoever is willing to put up the most money to get their way. Writing and complaining to the EPA might make you feel good, but they are doing what they are doing not as a result of misguided good intentions, but because the politicians in power have ordered them to do so. If we don’t find a way to counter the money coming from the corn growers to mandate the use of ethanol then there is no way we will ever be able to stop this treachery.

  3. Another reason why ALL people who ride motorcycles (even the casual rider) should join the AMA. No one else looks out for us collectively.

  4. Buy 4 gallons and dump the first two on the ground to rinse the hose out, see how happy the EPA is after that!

  5. If this is true, this means that, eventually, the average person may not be able to afford a car. This adds another variable the whole planned obsolescence issue–it’s bad enough that quality of manufactured goods is deteriorating across the board, now we’ll be forced to fuel our vehicles with potentially mixed fuel that could harm the engine itself, and will eventually put many drivers out thousands of dollars (that most of them already don’t have)?

    Yet another move by the powers that be that shows they don’t care about us–its obvious they don’t mind if you and me use what little disposable income we may have on increased maintenance costs–why?? Just put yourself in the mind of some one who is so self-serving they don’t give a crap about anyone but themselves, perpetuating their empire and making a buck, and you’ll have an easier time finding the answer: people who can hardly afford to live are less likely to fight back or say no and so are (they think) the least of their concerns.

    Make some noise people! Tell ’em “we don’t need your stinking ethanol!”

  6. The mileage with ethanol blends is less than with pure gasoline.
    You will use more of it thereby paying more in gasoline taxes.
    Also, diverting corn to make ethanol will increase food prices.

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