We’ve heard it all before: E15 opponents trot out tired arguments at Congressional hearing

We’ve heard it all before: E15 opponents trot out tired arguments at Congressional hearing

Posted 26 February 2013 in


Today, executives from AAA and the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) are on Capitol Hill, attempting to cast doubt on the safety of the renewable fuel known as E15. Since we expect to hear the same tired arguments trotted out once again this afternoon, let’s take a look at the parties involved:

According to its own website, AAA touts “tools to help motorists save on the high price of gas.” But if AAA were truly trying to help their members save money on gas, they would support increased access to lower-cost renewable fuel. AAA also prides itself on helping Americans drive safely. If that’s the case, they should support the most extensively trialed fuel in history: E15. E15 has been put through the paces exhaustively, with 6.5 million miles of testing. It seems strange to us that a group ostensibly responsible for protecting American motorists would spend time and resources attacking a renewable fuel that saves consumers money at the pump and provides a much needed alternative to oil.

As for the AMA, the EPA states explicitly that E15 is not intended for motorcycle engines, so we’re mystified as to why they’re testifying today: is it possible they signed up for the wrong hearing?

The most egregious part of today’s proceedings is not so much who is testifying, but who is not. Despite this being a hearing on the safety of E15, not a single ethanol expert has been invited to speak. So in lieu of a balanced panel, here are a few questions we’d ask this afternoon:

Has the EPA approved E15? Is E15 approved for use by any car or light truck model year 2001 or later? Is it legal to use E15 in a motorcycle?
Did DOE conduct extensive peer-reviewed, standardized testing of 86 cars that represented all major vehicle models, which were each operated up to 120,000 miles—or over 6 million miles in total—to ensure that E15 would not harm a vehicle?
Did DOE find any increased risk of engine damage from using E15?
As the House Science Committee members know, methodology can often skew the results of any study. How does CRC’s testing methodology compare to that used in millions of miles of testing conducted for EPA by DOE and various national laboratories? Was this testing conducted over an extended period or just a few months? How many cars were tested and how?
Do the witnesses on this panel receive funding from the oil or refining industries in support of their work on E15, fuels, or any other portion of their organization’s portfolio of policy work?

Hopefully, the members of the House Science Committee will make sure that these questions receive the answers that American taxpayers and consumers deserve.

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We’ve heard it all before: E15 opponents trot out tired arguments at Congressional hearing

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