The EPA has released the label (above) we may soon see at the pump warning about misfueling vehicles and equipment.
The latest regulations require all E-15 fuel dispensers to have a label that informs consumers about what vehicles can and what vehicles and equipment cannot use E-15. Most notably, no gasoline powered equipment can run on E-15, which could appear at the pump as early as this summer.
The topic continues to be a hot-button issue among advocates for the small engine industry like the Outdoor Power and Equipment Institute. OPEI’s reasoning against E-15 appearing at the pump is if contractors misfuel and put the ethanol-formulated gasoline in their lawn equipment, it will most likely ruin the engine.
Kris Kiser, executive vice president of OPEI, told Lawn & Landscape earlier this year: “One of the challenges once this fuel becomes available – and it’s one of the debates – is a label on the pump adequate enough to inform the consumer. We don’t believe it is. It’s just not how we work in this country. People mostly base their fuel purchasing decisions on price. What goes in the car goes in the can. So you might legally fuel your car but if you put that fuel in a can for your non-road products, your generator or landscape equipment, then you’ll misfuel the product.”
A story this week by TCPalm, a Florida newspaper, shows signs that ethanol-formulated gas is already hurting the landscaping industry. Dan Graff, owner of Crump’s Lawn Equipment Center, told the paper that daily his technicians work on equipment from mowers to string trimmers that have E-10 damage. He expects to see similar damage to engines once E-15 hits the market.
“All the information we’re being sent from manufacturers like Briggs and Stratton, Kawasaki, Honda and Echo, say their equipment simply won’t run on E-15 fuel,” Graff told TCPalm.
So where does the issue stand?
Here’s an update reported by TCPalm.
Trade groups that represent engine manufacturers and fuel retailers have filed legal challenges. They argue marketing circumstances could result in retailers choosing not to carry E-10 fuel anymore and instead offering only E-15. They also warn there might be a misfueling rate as high as 15 percent.
Groups that support ethanol production maintain that an increase in ethanol production and use will reduce greenhouse gas emissions, support local economies where ethanol plants are constructed, provide demand for farmers’ crops such as corn, which most ethanol is made from, and reduce the nation’s dependence upon foreign oil.
After reviewing all sides of arguments for and against the decision, the EPA is expected to make its final ruling early next year. The only thing protecting a consumer will be a small warning label affixed to the side of the pump.