I have been riding motorcycles for 23 years now, all on ethanol-blended fuel. I grew up in the State of Kansas in a rural community, and my family used ethanol because it was the right thing to do. Back then, you had to hunt for the ethanol blend, but now it is available at nearly every gas station in the country. In more than two decades, I have not had one issue with any motorcycle I have owned while using ethanol. I have been to Sturgis multiple years, all promoting ethanol, and have hosted promotional activities at the Legendary Buffalo Chip. I have talked with numerous riders at fuel stations along the way, and many while at the rally, all with differing opinions on ethanol. Those that speak negatively about the fuel rarely have experienced any issues personally. They are going off of warnings from organizations like AMA, the American Motorcycle Association, from a friend or colleague, or stories from their local mechanic. If they will allow you to answer questions, they usually become positive, or at least neutral. In fact, if they rode their motorcycle to Sturgis, there is a very strong chance they used ethanol along the way, and most don't realize that. In this picture, riders are lining up to fuel with ethanol as part of a promotion in 2012 during the Sturgis Rally. E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline) has become the standard fuel for most Americans. Ninety-six percent of all unleaded sold today is E10. Motorcycle manufacturers endorse it, and it appears in all late model owner's manuals. The debate used to be that E10 was not acceptable for motorcycles, but that changed in the past couple of years with the idea of E15 (15 percent ethanol, 85 percent gasoline). Suddenly, the same organizations that wanted to stop E10 wanted to ensure its availability and overnight we had a change of thought. E15 was ultimately approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for only 2001 and newer vehicles, along with all flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). No motorcycles are approved to use E15, yet AMA has made it a top priority to stop. They are having a lobby day this week in Washington. Their pitch to Congress is to stop E15 until testing can be done to see if there will be any damage or harm to motorcycles should they use it. It is illegal for a motorcycle to use E15. How about we just follow the approval and the label, and we don't use it. They also claim that the warning label, seen here, is not enough. Ironically, there are already fuels that motorcycles cannot use at many fuel retailers, and somehow we function with this issue daily. The only one of these fuels that provides any level of education to motorcyclists is E15. Just look at the label. No such label exists for diesel, 85 octane, E85 or kerosene. One would think a misfueling concern from AMA would encapsulate all fuels, not just one. In fact, E15 is now available at fewer than 30 stations nationwide, a drop in the bucket compared to these other fuels. We have managed to not use these other fuels in our motorcycles for decades. I think we can handle this one too. AMA also expressed concern with hose configurations for E15 at retail, and the amount of fuel left in the hose from a previous customer. The RFA worked with EPA to address their concern on more than one occasion and E15 can now be sold in one of three ways:
- Dedicated hose for E15.
- Common hose with E10/E0, with a 4-gallon minimum.
- Common hose with E10/E0, with at least one dedicated fueling position with a dedicated E10 hose.