WASHINGTON (Feb. 8, 2012)—The Specialty Equipment Market Association is urging its members to write their congressmen in support of H.R. 3199, a bill promoting a study of how gasoline containing 15 percent or more of ethanol may affect auto parts, vehicles and engines.
Sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., H.R. 3199 passed the House Science Committee Feb. 7 by a 19-7 vote.
The Environmental Protection Agency has approved E15 for use in vehicles for model year 2001 and later. The rule is designed to protect older, collector cars, but SEMA is skeptical that it would make much difference.
“H.R. 3199 acknowledges that E15 causes corrosion with incompatible parts,” SEMA said in an Action Network legislative alert. “Ethanol increases water formation which can then create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber.”
Placing a warning label on gas pumps that E15 is illegal for pre-2001 cars won't prevent motorists from accidentally filling up with E15, it said.
The bill prevents the EPA from allowing the public sale of E15 before the House Science Committee has a chance to review the completed report, SEMA said. E15 is not yet on the market, because of several lawsuits opposing its sale, it said.
On Feb. 6, SEMA joined a coalition of business associations and environmental groups in signing a letter urging the Science Committee to pass H.R. 3199.
“This bill takes a critical step towards ensuring that any mid-level ethanol blends are introduced into commerce in a manner that protects consumers and the environment,” the letter said.
Besides SEMA, signatories of the letter included the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the American Petroleum Institute, the Motorcycle Industry Council, Friends of the Earth, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the National Meat Association, the National Black Chamber of Commerce, the Grocery Manufacturers Association and the National Restaurant Association.