EPA picks E10, not E15, as standard test fuel

Publish Date: 
Mar 6, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- New regulations unveiled March 3 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency include two key provisions that help protect motorcyclists and all-terrain vehicle owners from damaging their engines and possibly voiding manufacturers' warranties, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.

The EPA adopted E10 -- a fuel containing up to 10 percent ethanol by volume -- as its standard test fuel, beginning in 2017. Some people advocated E15 as the standard test fuel, but the American Motorcyclist Association submitted comments to the EPA in June to oppose the E15 standard.

"The AMA opposes the increased distribution and availability of E15 fuels," said Wayne Allard, AMA's vice president for government relations. "And we will continue to fight against the proliferation of blender pumps at retail locations, where consumers could inadvertently fill their tanks with the wrong fuel."

The EPA has approved E15 for use in 2001-and-newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles. But the fuel is not approved for use in motorcycles or ATVs. And manufacturers have warned that use of E15 in unapproved vehicles may void the warranties.

Blender pumps dispensing E15 at service stations create a high potential for inadvertent E15 misfueling by consumers.

Also, the EPA has granted a waiver of 1 pound per square inch for E10 fuels, but declined to extend that waiver to E15. That decision means that fewer service stations will be able to sell E15 fuels between June l and Sept. 15 each year, reducing the likelihood that motorcyclists and ATV riders could inadvertently fill their tanks with it.

The vapor pressure limit -- known as Reid Vapor Pressure or RVP -- is intended to reduce the amount of fuel vapors escaping into the air during refueling. During the warmer months, the pressure inside underground fuel storage tanks increases, resulting in more vapors being forced out when the refueling nozzle is open.