As the sun shines on Capitol Hill this week, motorcycles are rolling in to to participate in the American Motorcycle Association (AMA) “E15 Fuel for Thought Lobby Day” sponsored by the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers Associations (AFPM). While ethanol industry representatives has shown frustration, Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) couldn’t help but chuckle.
“This is a rally without a cause. E15 is not mandated for any vehicle and EPA has specifically prohibited its use in motorcycles and other small engines. E15 is a choice some consumers with 2001 and newer automobiles may and should be allowed to make to reduce gasoline costs or promote a cleaner environment. EPA has assured that E10 will still be available at all gas stations offering E15. E10 is fully approved by all motorcycle manufacturers today. Indeed, ethanol provides the high octane many motorcycles require. Where is the problem? Why do bikers want to eliminate consumer choice for automobile drivers fed up with skyrocketing gasoline prices?”
Dinneen continued, “I guess we should be flattered that AMA would dedicate Members of Congress’ and riders’ precious time to a fuel option they cannot use and is only available in a handful of gas stations nationwide. Hard to believe that E15 is a bigger concern than road safety and driver awareness of motorcycles. After all, the ethanol industry and the Environmental Protection Agency have worked diligently to address concerns previously raised by the AMA.
CEO of Growth Energy Tom Buis questioned the fact of the exercise. “The fact of the matter is that the EPA and stakeholders have taken the necessary steps to ensure proper labeling to prevent any possible misfueling. Today’s demonstration might as well be the AMA protesting the sale of diesel at gas stations.”
Ron Lamberty, Senior Vice President for the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) and a retail station owner for more than 30 years pointed out that claims made by the motorcycle lobby are contrary to the real world actions of motorcyclists that he has seen at his gas stations over the past several decades.
“I’ve operated stations for 30 years and every August during the nation’s largest motorcycle rally in South Dakota, most of the bikers pull into our stations and have never had trouble finding the fuel they want. And in most cases, it’s the most expensive fuel the station sells,” said Lamberty.
He said AFPM’s motives are obvious, but called AMA to task for not challenging the oil lobby group for its decade-long policy of selling sub-standard 85 octane gas in the Black Hills home of the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
“AMA claims it is looking out for its members who might mistakenly buy E15 because of its lower price, yet they’ve never said a word about low grade 85 octane gas in the Black Hills, which has been the lowest price fuel out there for decades,” added Lamberty. “AMA whines about labels not being enough, yet the E15 label is blaze orange and 150 percent as large as an octane label, which is what motorcyclists have relied on for years to help them purchase the fuel they want.
“Buis summed up the answer about the “rally without a cause”. “Well, we all know the answer – this is just more of the same from special interest that want to keep us addicted to failed status quo of our dependence on foreign oil while simultaneously preventing consumers who can use E15 a choice and savings at the pump.”