US House Committee Passes HR 3199
Tuesday, Feburary 7th, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology passed HR 3199 – a bill that would require a comprehensive study of the scientific and technical research on the implications of fuel with more than 10 percent ethanol. Essentially, this bill would slow down the fast tracking of the fuel blend that is 15 percent or more ethanol. The Administration made it legal at the end of 2010 for fuel suppliers to sell the blend.
In an Opinon Editorial to the Hill newspaper, Rep. Sensenbrenner (WI) had this to say, “Many claims by E15’s supporters are questionable. For instance, ethanol’s proponents argue that ethanol is cheaper. But this claim ignores the fact that E15 lowers fuel efficiency. Since ethanol’s energy content is just 70 percent of the energy content of gasoline, American drivers will be forced to make more trips to the pump, largely negating any savings from E15.”
Sensenbrenner added, “As bad as E15 is for our cars, it is downright dangerous in small gasoline-based engines like those in our lawnmowers, boats and ATVs. E15 in a boat engine is like metal in a microwave. The United States Coast Guard warned that E15 in marine engines increases the risk of fires and explosions. And, “The EPA dismisses these concerns — from stakeholders within the government, no less — because these engines are not included in EPA’s E15 waiver, but EPA is willfully ignoring inevitable issues with misfueling and lack of availability of fuel with lower ethanol content. At a Science Committee hearing last year, we examined the EPA’s E15 decision, and witnesses testified that the agency cannot prevent misfueling.”
We at the MRF are all for reducing our dependence on foreign oil and keeping the planet healthy, but the facts are not all in when it comes to the 15 percent blend when used in a motorcycle engine. In fact, the Motorcycle Industry Council has said that the blend could be harmful to motorcycles. The EPA went so far as to say that motorcycles are prohibited from using the new blend altogether.
Until further comprehensive study, such as required by this legislation, is conducted we must issue caution when using the new blend.
The MRF will keep you updated on this and every other issue effecting motorcyclists from Washington DC.