Ethanol Raises Safety Concerns
A group of consumer, manufacturing and gasoline retailer associations wants further study into the use of mid-level ethanol blends in conventional vehicles and products.
AllSAFE, whose members include the American Motorcyclist Association, the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Associaton and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, agrees with the authors of a report who say that additional testing is required. The report, released March 5 by the State of Minnesota and the Renewable Fuels Association, examined the use of E20, a gasoline fuel blend containing 20% ethanol. The Environmental Protection Agency currently restricts the amount of ethanol to 10% for use in conventional equipment.
“It is much too early to draw definitive conclusions about E20’s compatibility with products or vehicles not designed for use with this fuel, considering that other studies have shown it may harm catalysts, increase emissions, and cause premature product/vehicle failure,” says AllSAFE representative Kris Kiser.
Results of the study could impact the use of gasoline in a variety of devices from vehicles such as all-terrain vehicles, personal watercraft and motorcycles to equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws. AllSAFE estimates a total of 240 million vehicles and 100 million small engine products in the US that may be affected.
“This study falls far short of what is needed to answer important technical questions or determine national fuel policy. Vehicles must undergo very comprehensive testing, and small engines such as lawn and garden equipment, motorboats and many other products must also be thoroughly studied,” says Kiser. “Emissions data, including exhaust, evaporative and permeation effects, are particularly important, as well as safety, product performance and consumer satisfaction.”
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