The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), along with automakers and marine manufacturers, announced Sept. 21 a formal legal challenge to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) “Regulation to Mitigate Misfueling” rule, which was meant to address concerns about 15-percent ethanol blends and non-road products and older model-year vehicles.
OPEI and partner groups maintain that EPA’s weak labeling effort is completely inadequate to protect consumers and avoid potential misfueling and damage to millions of legacy products not designed to run on any ethanol fuel higher than E10.
“We are asking that the EPA do more to protect the consumer,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “We need to educate the public on a new fuel entering the market that is about to fundamentally change how we purchase and dispense gasoline. And, we need to ensure that consumers can still find E10 for the millions of product — lawn mowers, chain saws, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs and UTVs, boats and older cars — that still use an E10 legacy fuel.”
OPEI points out that the EPA’s prior experience with fuel transitions and misfueling demonstrates that labeling alone is insufficient to prevent misfueling. As the EPA led the transition to unleaded fuels, the Agency reported a misfueling rate of nearly 15 percent almost 10 years after the introduction of unleaded gasoline — even with a physical barrier at the pump.
“EPA even denied our petition to mandate the continued availability of E10 so that consumers will still be able to purchase E10 at their local gasoline stations,” added Kiser. “Consumers are really on their own at this point, and we just think that is unfair and potentially harmful from both a safety and economic perspective.”