MRF MAY 2020 Update
By Andy Kelly
The Harris Poll conducted its 7th annual survey on behalf of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) between January 17-23 of this year. The online survey of 3,000 U.S. adults showed that the lack of education, inadequate labeling and dangerous marketing tactics around new fuel products (such as higher ethanol-blended gasoline) are likely causing consumers to use the wrong kind of fuel—also known as mis-fueling. The study found that more than 20% of outdoor power equipment owners are currently mis-fueling and 25% have done it in the past.
Now, I’m sure most people reading this know which fuels can be used in their motorcycles and small engines. But, is this information known by the general public? The Environmental Protection Agency has stated that it is illegal to use any fuel that contains more than 10% ethanol (E10) in a small engine. But with numerous choices at the pump, many uneducated consumers tend to opt for the cheaper of the fuel options. Just think: 3 in 5 Americans say they would purchase 88 Octane fuel for their outdoor power equipment, especially if it were available at a cheaper price. Only 1 in 5 people know that 88 Octane has more ethanol than 87 Octane fuel, and almost half of American consumers think the warning labels at gas stations are adequate to inform them about E15.
These are the reasons why we need to do something about what is happening to our fuel supply. The politicians in D.C. see that almost 62% of the public doesn’t care about ethanol. Given the above information on attitudes and misinformation around fueling, we all have good reason to contact our Representatives in Washington D.C. and ask that they become co-signers of H.R. 1024, the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2019.
This bill requires information to be provided to the public about the risks associated with improper use of E15 fuels in certain vehicles, engines, and equipment and defines E15 as “gasoline containing 15% ethanol”. Specifically, the bill directs the Environmental Protection Agency to revise labeling requirements for fuel pumps that dispense E15 fuels. It proposes that labels be five inches by seven inches or larger, include the word “WARNING”, and also include the text “Check your owner’s manual”. The labels will include pictograms depicting a boat, lawnmower, chainsaw, motorcycle and snowmobile.
As expressed in a recent article on ResearchAndMarkets.com, the global market for Ethanol is expected to grow by more than 5%, driven by the increasing demand from the automotive industry. Also expected is an increase in government initiatives—specifically, uplifting restrictions on selling gasoline containing a higher percentage of Ethanol.
As of late March, the MRF is planning and hoping to hold its 12th annual “Bikers Inside the Beltway” on May 19, 2020. This would be a great opportunity for you to come and meet your representatives in Washington DC