Congress Introduces Bill to Help Prevent E15 Misfuelling

SEMA-supported legislation (HR 5855) has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would expand the current warning label required on gas pumps dispensing E15 (gasoline that’s 15% ethanol). The new label would include the words “warning” and “check your owner’s manual,” be 5×7 in. or larger, and include pictograms depicting a boat, lawnmower, chainsaw, motorcycle and snowmobile. The current label is about 3.5×3 in., and does not include the words “warning,” “owner’s manual” or pictograms.

Ethanol, especially in higher concentrations such as E15, can cause metal corrosion and dissolve certain plastics and rubbers in automobiles that were not constructed with ethanol-resistant materials. In 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made it illegal to use E15 fuel in motor vehicles made before 2001, motorcycles, boats and gasoline-powered equipment.

The “Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2018” sponsored by Reps. Austin Scott (R-GA) and Lois Frankel (D-FL) addresses the concern that many consumers are unaware of potential harm E15 poses for millions of gasoline-powered vehicles and equipment. The EPA would have 180 days to update its current warning label.

“As we are presented with more choices at the gas pump, it is imperative that American consumers know exactly what kind of fuel they are putting into their engines,” said Rep. Scott. “Gas pumps today are riddled with confusing labels that fail to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of fueling small engine equipment with E15. By making fuel pump labels easier to decipher and coordinating public education programs, this legislation can save consumers time and energy at the pumps and avoid headaches and costs down the road.”

For more information, visit the SEMA Action Network (SAN) website. For details, contact Eric Snyder at erics@sema.org.

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