The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued fuel pump labeling and other requirements for gasoline blends containing more than 10 and up to 15 percent ethanol, known as E15. These requirements are to help ensure that E15 is properly labeled and used once it enters the market, which has not yet been allowed to occur although approved to happen.
The new orange and black label must appear on fuel pumps that dispense E15. This label will inform consumers about which vehicles can use E15. The label will also warn consumers against using E15 in vehicles older than model year 2001, motorcycles, watercraft, and gasoline-powered equipment such as lawnmowers and chainsaws.
The National Petrochemical & Refiners Association, which fought E15 approval, is now claiming consumers will damage their vehicle engines tremendously if E15 is dispensed into an older model vehicle or other power equipment and recreational vehicles.
Charles Drevna, president of NPRA, said, "EPA's decision to rely solely on retail gasoline pump labels to protect consumers from misfueling with gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol is woefully inadequate and compounds the fundamental mistakes EPA made in approving the sale of E15 in 2010. The rule is a terrible miscalculation and terrible news for millions of Americans who will inevitably face costly repair bills after misfueling their cars, trucks, motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles and outdoor power equipment with gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol.
"The last time EPA allowed two types of gasoline to be sold side-by-side at retail stations – when leaded gasoline was phased out in the 1970s – EPA's own statistics reported that more than 20 percent of motorists mistakenly or intentionally misfueled their vehicles. This high rate of misfueling occurred despite the fact that EPA mandated physical barriers – fill pipe restricters on vehicles and smaller nozzles on gasoline retail dispensers – in addition to pump labels. EPA's apparent conclusion that pump labels alone will educate and warn consumers about the dangers of E15 misfueling flies in the face of EPA's own experience and data and could be classified as arbitrary."
Over the past year, EPA issued two partial waivers under the Clean Air Act that will allow E15 to be sold for use in model year 2001 and newer cars and light trucks. EPA said it based its waiver decisions on testing and analysis showing that these vehicles could continue to meet emission standards if operated on E15. However, EPA does not mandate the use of E15, nor has the agency registered the fuel, which is required before E15 can be legally sold for use in conventional vehicles.
The EPA counters the NPRA by noting that the E15 pump label requirements, developed in coordination with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), adopt elements of FTC’s existing labels for alternative fuels to promote consistent labeling. The rule also includes a prohibition against misfueling with E15; a requirement to track E15 and other fuels as they move through the fuel supply chain so that E15 can be properly blended and labeled; and a quarterly survey to help ensure that gas pumps dispensing E15 are properly labeled.