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EPA Raises Ethanol Blend Levels

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) reports that the Obama administration, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), last week raised the amount of ethanol and other renewable fuels that must be blended into the nation's gas supply, announcing that 18.11 billion gallons of renewable fuels must now be blended into the nation's gasoline supply in 2016.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF), as directed by our Sustaining State Motorcyclists’ Rights Organizations (SSMRO’s), does not support the use of ethanol fuels higher than E10 (10% ethanol) or any other newly developed fuel blends, including alternative renewable fuels, without further testing on motorcycle engines and obtaining specific recommendations from motorcycle manufacturers approving their use.

This increase comes as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard, a mandate that was meant to encourage the use of domestic ethanol in U.S. gasoline supplies, and supporters claim it helps reduce carbon pollution and cuts American dependence on foreign fuel. Higher ethanol blends, however, void new motorcycle warranties and have been reported to cause damage to motorcycle fuel systems and other engine components.

Interestingly, while the EPA announcement of the 18.11 billion-gallon figure is significantly above the 17.4 billion gallons initially proposed in May, it falls far below the 22.3 billion-gallon amount laid out by Congress in 2007 legislation and raises new questions about the viability of the controversial Renewable Fuel Standard moving forward.

As part of its 2016 Legislative Agenda, the MRF will continue to call for further motorcycle engine testing with these blends and seek manufacturer recommendations regarding their use, and as always, the MRF will continue to keep its members apprised of any actions regarding the ethanol issue.