The EPA's out-of-touch agenda

Yesterday, the EPA published its final rule on the appropriate use of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15), including its attempts to mitigate misfueling concerns. This follows the agency’s decision to grant a waiver allowing this higher ethanol blend into the national gasoline supply. This waiver came at the request of the ethanol industry, but it will come at the expense of American jobs and consumers.

Specifically, the new misfueling rule prohibits the use of E15 in vehicles and off-road engines not covered by the partial waiver decisions and it requires all gasoline pumps to have a specific label for ethanol with 15 percent gasoline. 

However, small engine manufacturers and vehicle manufactures alike have asked the EPA to wait to allow E15 in the marketplace, warning of costs to American consumers and raising several safety concerns. In response to an inquiry I sent to manufacturers about the potential effects of E15 on their products, a Wisconsin-based small engine manufacturer replied, “we are confident that EPA’s proposed misfueling regulation will not prevent E15 from being mistakenly used in non-approved small engines.” 

For every American who owns and operates a boat, lawnmower, or tractor, E15 poses a real and serious threat to both the engine and the individual operating these products. Overheating, combustion, and premature engine failure have been cited as potential consequences from E15.

Additionally, even for those vehicles included in the EPA’s waiver, many automakers warned that E15 could harm engines.

When the Committee on Science held a hearing to evaluate the science behind E15, the EPA defended its decision to allow E15 in the marketplace, saying the DOE conducted tests that ensure the increased ethanol blend will not negatively impact vehicles made since 2001. This statement stands in direct opposition to concerns I received from automakers. In fact, all 14 automaker responses overwhelmingly predict that E15 will damage engines, void warranties, and reduce fuel efficiency.

Along with its final rule, the EPA refused a petition to require the continued sale of fuel with no ethanol or a lower blend of ethanol. 

As long as the federal government continues to prop up the ethanol industry with mandates, subsidies and protective tariffs, there is a real concern that E15 could crowd out the market in the future. It is high time that the House rein in the EPA’s overregulation and ideological agenda.

Americans need a fuel that will help them get more miles out of a gallon of gas and more miles out of their car. With the decision to blindly allow E15, this agency is pursuing its own political agenda at the expense of American consumers. 

Rep. Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) is the Vice-Chair of the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology and represents the 5th District of Wisconsin.

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