What do you think of the new pending EPA regulation requiring a 4-gallon minimum purchase at gas pumps?
– that mix of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline – has apparently taken an unexpected turn.
Following months of discussion
about the safety
of E15, the biofuel went on sale at a gas station in Kansas last month
. We heard that that station was requiring anyone buying E15 to purchase at least four gallons of the stuff so as to prevent the biofuel from getting into small tanks – lawnmowers, etc. – that are not supposed to burn E15. Turns out, this rule might be more expansive than we originally thought.
The American Motorcyclist Association has been in communication with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency about the use of blender pumps, which can dispense varying percentages of ethanol along with the gasoline (so, it can pump our E10 or E85, for example, as well as E15, depending). The AMA was looking for clarification because of "possible misfueling due to residual fuel left in a blender pump hose used to dispense 15 percent ethanol blend (E15) gasoline" because "our members who make a concerted effort to fuel their motorcycles or ATVs with E10-or-less gasoline may be unknowingly refueling with residual fuel left in the hose." The AMA's main question was: "What specifically does the EPA recommend that motorcyclists and ATV users do when using a blender pump that dispenses E15 gasoline?"
To which the EPA wrote back:
The stations must also inform customers about this minimum purchase requirement.
EPA requires that retail stations that own or operate blender pumps either dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle if able or, in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose, require that at least four gallons of fuel be purchased to prevent vehicles and engines with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to gasoline-ethanol blended fuels containing greater than 10 vol% ethanol.
In other words, that four-gallon requirement is a nationwide rule, not just something that one station in Kansas implemented. What isn't clear is whether those blender pumps will never be able to dispense fewer than four gallons, no matter what the fuel type is. It sure reads like this is the case, but phone calls and emails to the EPA for more clarification were not returned. You can read the letters the AMA sent to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson and the response here (1
) and see the AMA's press release below
. If we hear back from the EPA, we will let you know.
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