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EPA approves misfueling mitigation plans, OPEI voices concerns

The EPA has approved the first misfueling mitigation plans (MMPs) for individual companies, which was the final step necessary to be cleared before E15 could be sold by retailers. While the Renewable Fuels Association and Growth Energy welcome the approval, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) warns that misfueling with E15 could damage or destroy lawn mowers and motorcycles, for example.

 

The EPA has approved the first misfueling mitigation plans (MMPs) for individual companies, which was the final step necessary to be cleared before E15 could be sold by retailers for use in 2001 and newer vehicles. Please visit http://www.epa.gov/otaq/regs/fuels/additive/e15/documents/e15-mmp-aproved-companies-list.pdf for a list of companies that have approved MMP submissions. (Other companies seeking approval must contact the EPA.)

 

This gets us one step closer to giving the American consumer a real choice at the pump. The public has a right to choose between imported oil and home-grown energy and today's action by the EPA advances that goal,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack stated Friday. Vilsack added that “the EPA has fulfilled its responsibility to the American public to ensure that E15 is a safe and reliable fuel.”

 

The final issue delaying ultimate approval of MMPs was EPA’s concern over residual fuel left in the hose of a single hose pump, such as a blender pump, used to dispense E15 and other fuels. EPA’s concern was that a consumer who used E10 directly after a consumer had purchased E15 from the same hose could actually receive fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol because of possible residual E15 in the hose. According to the EPA, it consulted the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) and individual MMP submitters and determined that an addendum to the RFA’s E15 Retailer Handbook provided the necessary information to address the concern.

 

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), however, warns that the EPA’s ruling is dangerous. “For the first time in American history, fuel used for some automobiles may no longer [be] safe for any non-road products. It may, in fact, destroy or damage generators, chain saws, utility vehicles, lawn mowers, boats and marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, ATVs, and more,” says Kris Kiser, OPEI president and CEO.

 

In September 2011, the Engine Products Group (OPEI, National Marine Manufacturers Association, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and Global Automakers) filed a legal challenge to EPA’s E15 partial waiver decision. The decision is expected to be issued at any time by the court, OPEI reported.

 

OPEI adds that the EPA’s prior experience with the introduction of new fuels shows that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent misfueling. During the transition to unleaded fuels, the agency reported a misfueling rate of nearly 15 percent almost ten years after the introduction of unleaded gasoline.

 

Growth Energy filed the initial E15 waiver request in 2009 and in the three years since filing, the industry has worked with the EPA to meet its conditions for approval. Growth Energy and the RFA said, “Ethanol has been proven a safe and effective fuel component, reducing tailpipe emissions and improving the quality of our air, while simultaneously providing the much-needed octane to help boost engine performance.”

 

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