Corn Commentary

Rebels Without a Cause

sturgis-signYou seriously have to wonder why the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) would hold a rally in Washington DC to protest the sale of 15% ethanol blended gasoline (E15), a fuel that is not approved for use in motorcycles.

“I think we need to look no further than the event sponsor – the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, otherwise known as our nation’s oil refiners,” said Renewable Fuels Association Director of Market Development Robert White about the “Fuel for Thought” rally held on Wednesday, June 19.

The AMA wants “independent testing of the E15 ethanol fuel blend in motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines before it is allowed for sale at retail gas stations,” even though it is the most tested fuel ever offered for sale in the United States, and – again – NOT approved for use in motorcycles. Period.

The AMA has “repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycles and ATVs from the inadvertent use of E15,” which is currently only available at 30 stations in six states. If I were a motorcyclist, I would be kind of offended by that. It gives the impression that they are too stupid to be able to read the bright orange warning labels on the pumps, required by law, that state the fuel can only be used in 2001 and newer cars and light trucks and flex fuel vehicles.

sturgis-1White, who is a motorcyclist himself, also points out there are many other fuels that should not be used in motorcycles. “(E15) is the only non-approved fuel for motorcycles that actually requires a label stating who can and cannot use the fuel. Think of diesel, kerosene and other fuels. I personally think of 85 octane that is not approved for any engine manufactured today, let alone motorcycles,” said White, noting that 85 octane is even for sale in Sturgis, South Dakota – site of the annual Sturgis Motorcycle Rally which RFA has sponsored for several years now specifically for the purpose of educating motorcycle owners about ethanol.

Most importantly, the EPA and the ethanol industry worked hard to make sure the concerns of motorcyclists were addressed when approving the fuel for use. “We actually strengthened our misfueling mitigation plan three times since its initial approval, all because of these concerns,” said White. “Since the latest approval in February 2013, the AMA has not found a problem with how it is sold, they just don’t want it for sale, proving that there was really no issue before.”

Bottom line to motorcyclists – don’t use E15 in your bikes, it’s illegal – but don’t stop the rest of us from being able to use it.

Listen to a press conference with Robert on the issue here: Motorcycles and E15