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EPA’s four-gallon minimum mandate

{mosads}At
the insistence of the ethanol industry, the Obama Administration is
pushing E15 into the marketplace, regardless of the serious concerns
about the fuel’s impact on drivers. From its inception, E15 is a study
in the consequences of government interference in the marketplace. The
EPA’s decision to set a minimum purchase requirement is just the most
recent example.

If
this seems too far-fetched to be true, here is what the EPA recently
wrote in a letter to the American Motorcyclist Association:

“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.”

The
EPA approved E15 for sale in the U.S. using a partial waiver, meaning
it is only approved for some vehicles on the road— cars 2001 and later.

Most
of our gasoline contains only 10 percent ethanol. Increasing the
ethanol content will harm older vehicles and it is downright dangerous
for small engines like those found in boats, lawnmowers, or motorcycles.
E15 is like metal in a microwave for a small engine.

The
Obama Administration’s attempt to solve the serious concern of
misfueling is more government regulation. By requiring a minimum
purchase of four gallons of E10 gas, the Administration hopes to dilute
the amounts of E15 undoubtedly left in the shared hose and prevent the
fuel from ruining small engines or endangering Americans using these
devices.

This
type of government meddling is completely contradictory to our free
market principles, and it is a dangerous precedent to set.

If the government has the power to mandate a minimum amount of gas we can buy, what else can they mandate?

The
EPA’s first-ever mandated purchase requirement appears to have been
conceived outside the normal regulatory process, making this
unprecedented government overreach even more offensive.

Americans
deserve to know how a federal agency has the power to do this. I have
requested that the EPA explain their authority for this mandate.

Additionally, the very effectiveness of this heavy-handed regulation is questionable.

Many
motorcyclists may be stumped when attempting to fill up their bike that
doesn’t even have the capacity to hold four gallons.

Other
Americans will try unsuccessfully to fill up a one or two gallon fuel
can with E10 to take it home and use in their outboard boat engine or
lawnmower. Even worse, what will happen when they take the fuel home,
tainted with E15, and overheat their snow blower?

In
Wisconsin, where we get an average of four feet of snow per year,
imagine the frustration of ruining an expensive snow blower only to find
that the E15 unequivocally voided the warranty. 

This
unprecedented, ill-conceived mandate is an example of the worst kind of
government interference. It both squashes the free market and will
inevitably fail to help those it claims to protect. However, the Obama
Administration does successfully do one thing: highlight the E15 partial
waiver as completely unworkable.

Sensenbrenner, a Republican, represents the fifth congressional district in Wisconsin.

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