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Wednesday, July 30, 2014
Editor and Publisher

Editorial: Will Anyone Stop -- or Even Label -- E15?

posted: 2/14/2013
Remember back when the EPA decided to approve a high 15-percent ethanol-blend fuel for sale at gas stations nationwide? The EPA made the decision despite thousands of objections from recreational boating advocates, automobile builders, boat builders, motorcycle builders, lawn care equipment producers and numerous other experts, who warned of serious engine damage that the new E15 gasoline could wreak on all but the newest cars on the road.            

At the time, EPA assured everyone who owns a boat -- or a motorcycle, a pre-2001 car, an off-road vehicle, a chain saw or a lawn mower -- with an engine that can’t handle this new fuel that any gas pump that sold E15 would be required to be plainly labeled, to prevent misfueling.            

Well, a new survey proves that, in the limited number of places where E15 is now being sold, required labeling is NOT being done. And unsuspecting consumers -- motorists and boaters alike -- are likely to fuel up with a blend that could kill their expensive engines and/or their fuel system components.            

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NNMA) reported to Soundings Trade Only writer Reagan Haynes that a whopping 35 percent of the registered sellers of E-15 are NOT properly labeling the fuel at the pump. In a story released Feb. 11, Haynes wrote that of the 17 registered sellers currently authorized to sell the fuel in Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota, six had not even placed a basic warning label on the gas pump.            

“That’s very concerning to us,” NMMA’s Cindy Squires told Soundings Trade Only. “Even with all the scrutiny on E15, these sellers didn’t bother to even label the pump.”            

Sellers now being allowed to sell E15 fuel are required to submit to a survey of their operations -- and this survey is what uncovered the alarming noncompliance with labeling requirements, Squires said. “This is from the firm that they are required to hire to check on their compliance, so it’s troubling something that simple can’t be complied with.”            

Imagine the potential for mislabeling of this engine-killing fuel when sales begin across the nation, as planned.            

The NMMA and a coalition of industry groups plan to take the case against the sale of E15 fuel to the Supreme Court. They are seeking a review of last year’s D.C. Court of Appeals procedural decision to deny a rehearing on EPA’s approval of the new high-ethanol fuel blend.            

Stay tuned, as E15 continues on its twisted, tangled path toward being sold at all the nation’s gas stations and fuel docks. There has been major backing from corn ethanol producers, who stand to reap major financial benefits -- and a lot of pressure on government officials and legislators from their lobbyists -- at every step of the way.

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