Ethanol industry hits back at proposed E15 labelling

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Following the introduction of a bill to warn consumers about the perceived dangers of E15 in small engines, representatives from the ethanol industry have questioned the rationale for the legislation. The biofuel proponents say that the new rules are designed to create confusion for consumers and reduce the use of higher-blend fuels, rather than offer any kind of clarity.

American Coalition for Ethanol senior vice president Ron Lamberty commented on the E15 concerns: “These ethanol labelling laws aren't about protecting consumers—they're about limiting the sale of ethanol by scaring people about things that don't really happen. Small engines use less than 2% of the fuel sold in the US and these laws are about confusing and frightening the other 98%.

“There is already a bright orange label on the pump saying E15 is for 2001 and newer cars and light trucks, and not to use it in boats or other small engines. The letters on the E15 label are at least three or four times the size of the type in the instructions that came with my chainsaw that tell me how to not cut off my arm—so forgive me if I'm not buying the ‘safety’ argument.”

Growth Energy vice president of government affairs John Fuher also commented on the bill, saying in a statement emailed to Biofuels International: “This legislation would impose unnecessary costs on fuel station owners, who are already required by the EPA to provide specific labelling on E15 dispensers. Growth Energy works to give consumers choice at the pump, and we know that the consumers feel confident in their ability to choose the fuel that is right for their engines. In fact, a survey we conducted last year found that 95% of US small engine owners say it is easy to pick the right fuel. This bill would only serve to cause further confusion for consumers and unnecessarily undo best-practice labelling instituted by the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency].”