SEMA has joined with a number of other trade associations to sponsor “Smarter Fuel Future,” a website intended to raise awareness about the economic and environmental threats posed by the United States’ current biofuels policy. The policy has led the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to permit the sale of gasoline with 15% ethanol content (E15) in order to meet artificial demands to sell biofuels. The organizations are calling on lawmakers to change the “Renewable Fuel Standard” (RFS), which is driving the U.S. policy. Otherwise, the EPA may soon be seeking to permit the sale of E20 and E30 to fulfill ever-expanding RFS demands.
Congress established the RFS in 2005 and then set ambitious goals in 2007 to mandate biofuel sales. While SEMA supports the congressional intent to help reduce foreign oil imports, the mandates are excessive and not supported by the marketplace. The RFS helped drive the EPA’s decision to permit the sale of E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles but make it illegal to fuel older cars, motorcycles and other motorized equipment since the EPA acknowledged that those products could be damaged. However, the EPA is only requiring a gas pump warning label instructing unsuspecting consumers that it is “illegal” to fill-up those products with E15.
SEMA continues to oppose E15 since ethanol increases water formation, which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber. Many older cars were not constructed with materials to counteract ethanol’s harmful effects. E15 can also burn hotter than E10 gasoline and cause damage to certain high-performance specialty parts. Revisiting the RFS provides an opportunity to rescind the EPA’s E15 decision.