AMA Poll Shows Voters Want Federal Ethanol Laws Reformed

The American Motorcyclist Association delivered 29,379 signatures to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency today, along with a strong message in opposition to the agency’s proposal to increase the amount of ethanol in the nation’s fuel.

“The Renewable Fuel Standard proposal announced on May 29 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency would increase the risk of inadvertent misfueling for motorcyclists and all-terrain-vehicle owners by forcing the widespread availability of higher-ethanol fuel blends, such as E15,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations.

The EPA proposed setting the Renewable Fuel Standard for 2014 at the levels that were actually produced and used, which totaled 15.93 billion gallons. But for 2015, the standard rises to 16.3 billion gallons. And for 2016, the total increases again, to 17.4 billion gallons.

“By increasing the amounts of ethanol into America’s gasoline marketplace, the EPA will force the fuel marketplace to exceed the blend wall by hundreds of millions of gallons,” Allard said.

The blend wall is the point at which no more ethanol can be blended without creating higher blends like E15 and above.

None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles currently in use in the United States are certified by the EPA to use fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Inadvertent misfueling may cause engine or fuel system damage and void the manufacturer’s warranty.

During the EPA’s comment period on the proposed rule, the AMA collected signatures on an online petition opposing the higher ethanol mandate and asking the EPA to lower, rather than increase, the standard. The comment period ended today. And the AMA forwarded those signatures, along with its comments, to the EPA. The EPA intends to take final action on this proposal by November 30, 2015, which would return the agency to the program’s statutory timeline for issuing RFS annual rules.

In addition to its comments to the EPA, the AMA unveiled the results of a poll conducted by Lake Research Partners and Bellwether Research & Consulting that shows Americans are divided on the issue of growing crops for fuel.

The poll, which surveyed 1,000 likely 2016 voters, showed that 45 percent of those polled said they oppose the federal mandates that require increasing amounts of corn ethanol in our nation’s fuel supply, and 31 percent favored the mandate. After learning about the potential engine and fuel system damage caused by ethanol, 78 percent of respondents said they had “very serious concerns” about E15 use.

The poll also showed that 67 percent of people favor the agency setting ethanol volumes below what is currently required by law, with 68 percent of Democrats and 71 percent of Republicans supporting volumes lower than the statute.

“We commissioned this poll to better quantify and qualify the reactions Americans have toward the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s continuing effort to mandate more ethanol in our fuel each year,” Allard said. “The results prove that, just like our members, rank and file Americans have serious concerns about the damaging and far-reaching effects of excessive ethanol production and that they support efforts to reign in this misdirected federal policy.”

The poll was conducted via phone with professional interviewers using both landline and cell phones from July 6 through July 10. Interviewers reached 1000 likely national 2016 voters who self-identified as follows: 400 Democrats, 340 Republicans and 226 Independents.


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