Gas is ridiculously expensive, but putting slightly cheaper E15 Fuel in you tank could cost you a lot more in the long run. Not only can it damage your fuel system and engine, which could saddle you with costly repairs, ironically you will also be making more trips to the pump. Confused? Well, simply put, more energy is used to produce a gallon of E15 (than regular gasoline) and it’s 35% less efficient on the road, equaling less miles traveled & more trips to fill up, resulting in a higher overall gas cost for you. Plus more farmers growing corn for ethanol use translates into a price increase in groceries to feed your family.
Thankfully, new legislation was introduced recently to limit ethanol blended fuel to no more than 10% (which at this point has not shown to cause engine damage). So let’s take a look at what is going on currently between the government and the agencies that are trying to protect not only our motorcycles, but our cars, boats, ATV’s, dirt bikes and all other gasoline run small engines.
This week, two United States Senators, David Vitter (R-LA) and Roger Wicker (R-MS), have taken a stand for consumers by introducing new legislation that would invalidate the EPA Administrator (Environmental Protection Agency) from approving the introduction of gasoline with an ethanol level of higher than 10%. Senator Vitter states “it is irresponsible for EPA to allow E15 without sufficient testing and technical analysis. I support an all-inclusive energy strategy, but experimenting before understanding the consequences and potential cost of using E15 is unfair to consumers.” The EPA has admitted that it did not test E15 on small displacement engines or motorcycles but states that it has been the most tested fuel in the history of the EPA. Unfortunately their test focused on exhaust emissions and other associated components, but not on possible engine or fuel system damage. For these reasons, many agencies such as AAA, American Petroleum Institute, ABATE, the Motorcycle Industry Council and the MRF (Motorcycle Riders Foundation), have all urged the President’s administration to halt the sale of E15 until it is proven safe for all vehicles.
Why is the government pushing E15 fuel? Well, they are trying to meet the Renewable Fuels Standards in an effort to reduce our nations dependency on fossil fuels and to potentially save us money. But unfortunately, as stated by the American Petroleum Institute “the EPA’s actions to approve E15 for consumer use were irresponsible. They knew E15 vehicle testing was ongoing but decided not to wait for the results and millions could be impacted by the damage of E15 fuel.”
So what does E15 do to your engine? The simple answer…extreme damage. E15 is so corrosive that it must be delivered to gas stations in stainless steel tanks. It destroys gaskets, rubber fuel boots and throttle bodies. It also prompts false “check engine” lights to come on, messes with fuel gauge readings, causes fuel pump failures and damages carburetors, emission systems & engine components. And if left in your tank over time, it will turn into a brown goo that can clog fuel lines among other parts. It can also be so detrimental to your vehicle that multiple car companies (BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Kia, Mercedes & Volkswagon) have gone on record to say that they will not cover any damage caused by the use of E15 fuel and that your warranty will be voided. So most vehicles that are 2012 or older could be affected by the use of this fuel, although newer vehicles with specific Flex Fuel Systems have been approved to use it.
So as a motorcyclist, be informed. Be careful as to what you are putting into your tank. Ethanol could be slowly destroying your bike’s engine and fuel system, not to mention the damage it could be doing to your other vehicles, which could cost you a pretty penny in the end! If you have to use ethanol-based gasoline in your bike (it is getting harder and harder to find non-ethanol fuel), we recommend that you use an engine treatment such as STA-BIL Ethanol Treatment, Motorex Fuel Stabilizer Additive, Liquid Performance Ethanol Equalizer, or Star Brite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment, which can prevent fuel gelling while fighting corrosion and other ethanol issues. So protect your engine and save yourself some money by being vigilant about your fuel!