EPA to require minimum four-gallon gas purchase at certain pumps

An Environmental Protection Agency official has reported that the agency will require customers to buy a minimum of four gallons of gasoline for certain pumps as a solution to the American Motorcyclist Association’s concern about E15.

E15 is a gas blend that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume. It has not been approved for use in motorcycles or ATVs, and the AMA is concerned it could inadvertently be pumped into motorcycle or ATV tanks when riders use pumps that dispense multiple types of fuel. Adding E15 to a motorcycle and ATV tank lowers fuel efficiency and voids many manufacturers’ warranties, and it could cause premature engine failure, according to the AMA.

“With E15 gasoline, 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,” Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations, wrote in a June 20 letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.

“Unlike an automobile or SUV that has a large fuel tank, the residual fuel left in a fueling hose could be detrimental to the performance of motorcycle or ATV engines due to the small size of their fuel tanks and the higher concentration of ethanol that would, therefore, be present in the fuel,” Allard wrote.

Byron Bunker of the EPA National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory responded to the AMA on behalf of Jackson.

“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 volume percent ethanol,” Bunker wrote.

“Additionally, EPA is requiring that retail stations that offer E10 and E15 from the same hose and nozzle use additional labeling to inform consumers about the minimum purchase requirement,” he added.

The AMA was unsatisfied with this answer, as not all motorcycle tanks hold four or more gallons.

“Not only do we find it unacceptable for the EPA to mandate that everyone – including our members – buy minimum amounts of gas, but the EPA answer simply won’t work because of the sizes of many motorcycle and ATV gas tanks and the fact that off-highway riders take containers of gas with them on their trips, and most times those containers are much smaller than four gallons,” Allard said.

“The EPA needs to come up with a better solution,” he said. “The EPA also needs to back an independent study to determine whether E15 is safe for motorcycle and ATV engines.”

E15 has only been approved for 2001 and newer cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passengers. The AMA has asked government officials and lawmakers to include motorcycles and ATVs in any scientific study into the effects of E15.

Related Articles


  1. Here’s an insanely logical idea: EPA mandates gas stations have a non-ethanol pump for use in applications which require non-ethanol fuel. This allows for E-10, E-15, E-85, and non-ethanol fuel choices at the gas station. Crazy, huh? Now, explain why this will never happen…

    1. Obviously you have no idea of the cost of a dispenser. The solution is not to require E-15 and not to do an Obamacare on mandated minmum fuel purchases. It would also be costly to mandate that the valves be placed to prevent gas residual from a previous purchasse not to be left on the hose

      1. Anytime the gov’t interferes with commerce the costs increase- that I’m quite aware of. My opinion here is based on the assumption that we will be required to have ethanol-blended fuels. For me it’s a no-brainer- there should be NO ethanol in our fuel. But given the current political climate it appears ethanol is here to stay. As for costs, the local stations here that offer ethanol-free gas use pumps that previously dispensed ethanol- new dispensers were not purchased for the non-ethanol fuel (it just uses a dedicated tank). Based on this I don’t see why it would be difficult at all to have ethanol and non-ethanol at stations using the existing dispensers. If ethanol is required, a non-ethanol choice should be required too. It’s stupid, but the only logical solution.

  2. How about this,,, Premium gas should have NO ethenal. We pay a higher price so we should get a better fuel. It’s that simple. I’d be more than willing to pay the higher price for Premium without any ethenal and be assured that the alcohal won’t be eating up my bikes motor.

  3. This is no help to me. My power tools all hate ethanol; I’ve replaced fuel lines, filters, and carb parts. My motorcycles were built in 1973, 75, 76, 78, 81, 91, and 96 — none can use ethanol. Car and truck are both 1999 — no ethanol tolerance there, either. Replacement is not in the cards, until the economy improves. LOL

    Now, AMA, if you’re listening: it’s true that most bikes don’t have 4+ gallon tanks, but even among those that do, most owners don’t wait until they’re empty before filling up. We like to ride, not push.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button