Manufacturers group urges continued ethanol research

AllSAFE, a group representing powersports, marine and other manufacturers, cautions that more work needs to be done to evaluate whether mid-level ethanol blends, such as E20, are compatible with conventional vehicles and products, the organization said in a statement March 12.

E20 is a proposed gasoline-ethanol fuel containing 20 percent ethanol. Today, 10 percent ethanol is the maximum allowed by EPA in conventional vehicles and products. The group is responding to a feasibility study on E20 released March 5 by Minnesota and the Renewable Fuels Association. The year-long study said vehicles using E20 performed comparably to vehicles using the current E10 blend. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty is lobbying the federal government to commission its own research and to make E20 the standard blend nationally by 2013. Minnesota already has a law in place stating that by August 2013, all gas sold in the state must be E20. The Environmental Protection Agency still needs to approve the law.

“This study falls far short of what is needed to answer important technical questions or determine national fuel policy,” said Kris Kiser, AllSAFE representative. “Vehicles must undergo very comprehensive testing, and small engines such as lawn and garden equipment, motorboats and many other products must also be thoroughly studied. Emissions data, including exhaust, evaporative and permeation effects, are particularly important, as well as safety, product performance and consumer satisfaction.”

AllSAFE members include the Motorcycle Industry Council, the American Motorcyclist Association, the Personal Watercraft Industry Association and the Specialty Vehicle Institute of America, as well as organizations from other motorized sectors.

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