SEMA is hopping on the bus, joining other auto and pro-motorist organizations calling for the EPA to abolish E15 mandates that could lead to engine damage for unsuspecting motorists who fill up with higher ethanol concentrations in older vehicles.
The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) said it has joined a number of other trade associations in sponsoring "Smarter Fuel Future," a website aimed at raising awareness about the economic and environmental threats posed by the country's current biofuels policy.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) policy permits the sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) content in order to meet what SEMA called "artificial demands to sell biofuels."
The trade groups are calling on lawmakers to change the "Renewable Fuel Standard" (RFS), which is driving the U.S. policy. Otherwise, the EPA may soon be seeking to permit the sale of E20 and E30 to fulfill ever-expanding RFS demands, according to an article in a recent SEMA e-newsletter.
Congress established the RFS in 2005 and then set ambitious goals in 2007 to mandate biofuel sales, SEMA said. While the Diamond Bar-based trade association said it supports the congressional intent to help reduce foreign oil imports, "the mandates are excessive and not supported by the marketplace. The RFS helped drive the EPA's decision to permit the sale of E15 for 2001 and newer vehicles but make it illegal to fuel older cars, motorcycles and other motorized equipment since the EPA acknowledged that those products could be damaged."
However, the EPA is only requiring a gas pump warning label instructing unsuspecting consumers that it is "illegal" to fill-up those products with E15, SEMA noted.
The organization said it continues to oppose E15 "since ethanol increases water formation, which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber. Many older cars were not constructed with materials to counteract ethanol's harmful effects. E15 can also burn hotter than E10 gasoline and cause damage to certain high-performance specialty parts."
SEMA is calling for the EPA to revisit the RFS, which could provide an opportunity to rescind the agency's E15 decision.