American Motorcyclist Association Chair Maggie McNally and several U.S. lawmakers are scheduled to speak at the AMA E15 Fuel for Thought Lobby Day on Wednesday, June 19, at the nation's capital.
The AMA is inviting all motorcyclists to take part in the Washington, D.C., event to help educate lawmakers about the need to research the possible harmful effects of E15 fuel on motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines.
E15 is a gasoline formulation that contains up to 15 percent ethanol by volume. Although the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved its use in 2001-and-newer light-duty vehicles, which include cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles, none of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in use are on the EPA approved list, and no manufacturer has approved E15 for use in its motorcycles and ATVs. Furthermore, use of E15 may void manufacturers warranties.
"E15 fuel is one of the most important issues that faces motorcyclists today, and I am excited to address this issue at the AMA E15 Fuel For Thought Lobby Day," McNally said. "Motorcycling has been a part of my life since childhood. When I was told that girls don't ride bikes while I was in college, I immediately got my permit. I am now an accomplished rider and instructor. Motorcycling started as a challenge and it has remained one.
"But the face of that challenge has changed. The challenge that I face now is the challenge all motorcyclists face, protecting the future of motorcycling and promoting the motorcycling lifestyle," McNally said.
U.S. Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.), who will also speak at the rally, said: "As the co-chair of the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus, and as a rider, I recognize that there are many important issues affecting us. The AMA's Fuel For Thought initiative is raising critical awareness of the damage EPA-mandated E15 gasoline can do to motorcycle and ATV engines, and I look forward to taking part in this rally."
The lobby day will begin with a motorcycle ride around the U.S. Capitol, followed by a rally. Participants will then visit their congressional delegations' offices to ask for support for legislation that calls for new E15 research into the effects on motorcycles and ATVs.
All lobby day participants will receive a fuel gift card for one tank of gas (supply is limited and on a first-come, first-served basis) and gift bag. For more information about the E15 issue and to sign up for the AMA E15 lobby day, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition to McNally and Griffin, other scheduled speakers include U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) Chris Stewart (R-Utah), Tom Petri (R-Wis.) and David Valadao (R-Calif.).
Sensenbrenner noted: "We have a responsibility to ensure Americans operating gas-powered machines are not put at risk due to faulty fuel that has not been sufficiently examined. There have been several tests highlighting E15's harmful effects on engines and their components, but the EPA has dismissed these findings. If E15 is in the marketplace, misfueling from residual gas is inevitable, and it will find its way into gas tanks.
"This is especially dangerous for small engines, such as those in motorcycles," Sensenbrenner added. "As a staunch supporter of motorcyclists and their rights, in February I introduced H.R. 875, which would require the EPA to stop the use of E15 until its harmful effects are investigated further."
Stewart said: "I am looking forward to participating in the AMA event on Capitol Hill. The use of E15 is an important issue currently being discussed in Congress. It's great to see Americans from all over the Country coming to Washington to have their voices heard.
"As I noted in our Science Committee hearing a few months ago on this subject, the more E15 is studied, the more concerns are identified regarding potential widespread impacts on a variety of engines," Stewart added. "I think that more scientific testing is necessary before introducing this new fuel."
Valadao remarked: "The federal government has imposed mandates regarding our nation's fuel supply system without fully considering the negative ramifications such regulations would have on motorists and off-roaders alike.
"Furthermore, these mandates have failed to first put in place proper safeguards to prevent misfueling and damage to motorcycles and other motor vehicles," Valadao added. "I believe the Environmental Protection Agency should suspend the E15 mandate until further study on E15's effects can be performed and protections against costly damage caused by E15 can be implemented.".
Tom Cox, president of the Antique Automobile Club of America who will also speak at the rally, said: "Between changes in gasoline formulation and motor oils, I think the EPA has early retirement in mind for our vehicles through those means rather than directly legislating them off the roads. Stopping E-15 is an extremely important initiative."
The AMA also supports S. 344, introduced by U.S. Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and David Vitter (R-La.) which would overturn the EPA waivers that allow gasoline containing E15 to be used for certain passenger cars and light trucks.
Supporters of the lobby day include EagleRider of Falls Church, Va.; Coleman PowerSports of Falls Church, Va., and Woodbridge, Va.; the National Turkey Federation; National Chicken Council; National Pork Producers Council; American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers; Specialty Equipment Market Association; and the Antique Automobile Club of America.