A key U.S. House committee has approved a bill that would require an independent scientific study of the effects of ethanol-gasoline blends on engines, the American Motorcyclist Association reports.
By a 19-7 vote Tuesday, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology approved H.R. 3199 to require the federal Environmental Protection Agency to seek an independent scientific analysis of the effects of E15 - a new gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume - on engines.
The measure, introduced by committee Vice Chairman Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), now goes to the full House for a vote. If approved, it then moves to the Senate for further consideration.
"This independent research is needed to ensure that new ethanol-gasoline blends won't damage motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines," said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. "We applaud the committee for supporting this crucial legislation."
The AMA has repeatedly expressed concerns to government officials and federal lawmakers about possible damage to motorcycle and ATV engines caused by the inadvertent use of E15 when the new fuel becomes widely available, and has asked that motorcycles and ATVs be part of any scientific study into the effects of E15.
In October 2010, the EPA approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). Then, in January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-06 light-duty vehicles to the approved list.
No motorcycles or ATVs are currently on the list.
The AMA and its partner group, the All-Terrain Vehicle Association, have expressed concerns about E15 being mistakenly used and damaging engines in motorcycles and ATVs, and about the continued availability of gasoline that has no ethanol - or gasoline with only a 10 percent blend - that is safe for use in motorcycles and ATVs.