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OPEI files legal challenge to EPA E15 misfueling rule

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), along with automakers and marine manufacturers, filed a legal challenge to the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Regulation to Mitigate Misfueling” rule which was meant to address concerns about 15% ethanol blends in non-road products and older model-year vehicles. (Earlier post.)

OPEI and partner groups maintain that what they call the “weak” labeling effort is completely inadequate to protect consumers and avoid potential misfueling and damage to legacy products not designed to run on any ethanol fuel higher than E10.

We are asking that the EPA do more to protect the consumer. We need to educate the public on a new fuel entering the market that is about to fundamentally change how we purchase and dispense gasoline. And, we need to ensure that consumers can still find E10 for the millions of product—lawnmowers, chainsaws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs, boats and older cars—that still use an E10 legacy fuel.

EPA even denied our petition to mandate the continued availability of E10 so that consumers will still be able to purchase E10 at their local gasoline stations. Consumers are really on their own at this point, and we just think that is unfair and potentially harmful from both a safety and economic perspective.

—Kris Kiser, President and CEO of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute

OPEI points out that the EPA’s prior experience with fuel transitions and misfueling demonstrates that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent misfueling. As the EPA led the transition to unleaded fuels, the Agency reported a misfueling rate of nearly 15% almost ten years after the introduction of unleaded gasoline, even with a physical barrier at the pump.

Background. Growth Energy, an ethanol industry trade group, petitioned the EPA in March 2009 to raise the limit on ethanol in gasoline from 10 to 15 percent. In March 2011, auto, marine, motorcycle, outdoor power equipment, personal watercraft and snowmobile groups filed a petition asking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure the continued sale and availability of gasoline blends of no greater than E10 for the some 400 million engine products in the US.


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