E15 Fuel Sale Banned in the US



E15 Fuel Banned

For some time now controversy has been raging about the effects of E15 in fuel with some motorcyclists claiming their bikes’ engines have been damaged due to the additive.

However, the American Motorcyclist Association has welcomed news that President Obama has signed into law this month a provision to stop the future distribution of E15 fuels across the U.S.

The 2014 Agricultural Act, which will run until 2018, prohibits the use of grant money by the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) to purchase and install ethanol blender pumps to dispense E15 at retail gas stations. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack had intended to use REAP funding to install a further 10,000 blender pumps in the U.S. by 2016.

E15, ethanol fuel, often causes confusion at gas stops where drivers and riders sometimes accidentally use the fuel in their vehicles. This has led in some cases to a void of their vehicle’s warranty and in some extreme cases engine failure.

Alcohol in E15 fuel is mainly made from corn and contains less combustible energy than gasoline and it is thought, but not proved, to be the cause of some engine failures that car and motorcyclists have experienced.

The AMA said that it considers this farm-bill provision a major victory for the owners and riders of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and ATVs currently in operation in the U.S.

Since 2011, the AMA has campaigned to prevent the distribution of E15 fuels, seeking independent scientific tests on their effect on motorcycle and all-terrain vehicle engines and fuel systems. After the introduction of E15 into the marketplace, the AMA fought its spread, because of concerns about people using the fuel by mistake from blender pumps.

“It is gratifying to see our efforts on behalf of U.S. motorcyclists and ATV riders achieve this level of success,” said Wayne Allard, AMA vice president for government relations. “We plan to continue to monitor the E15 issue, including the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to reduce the 2014 requirements under its Renewable Fuel Standard.”

Although the EPA has approved E15 use in 2001-and-newer light-duty vehicles, which include cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles, the EPA has not approved its use in any motorcycles or ATVs.

  • Justin McClintock

    Forget how it affects motorcycles for a second and look bigger picture. Using corn to make ethanol for fuel is a losing proposition. In the free market, it is in no way, shape, or form financially viable because it’s a net energy loss versus just running straight gasoline. Subsidies are the only reasons for financial feasibility of corn alcohol additives in fuels. I’m not gonna say that no crops make sense, because some do. But the corn thing just eats at me because it’s our government making absolutely NO sense whatsoever (as usual). In their attempt to be green, they’re being about as far from “green” as you can.

    Now, back to motorcycle and other internal combustion engines. I don’t know if that amount of alcohol is enough to cause issues with your fueling system, but it might be. Traditional materials used in O-rings and the like that are gasoline tolerant aren’t always necessarily alcohol tolerant. If your fuel system wasn’t designed for alcohol blended fuels from the get-go, it’s best to avoid them. Even with my cars, I buy straight 100% gasoline when I can. Any car or motorcycle ever designed to use unleaded gasoline will be fine with that. They’ll typically get better fuel economy too.

  • Ayabe

    Who is for ethanol at all save for the corn growers? It’s a pure handout to them at the expense of the rest of us.

    All manner of failures of lawn equipment, small motors like those in pressure washers, all the way up to BMW’s issues with their HPFPs can be directly traced to the ethanol in our gas.

    Straight unleaded gas isn’t an option for everyone unfortunately leaded gas will make Al Gore cry and will fry your cat.

    • Jason

      Ethanol replaced MTBE as the oxygenate in reformulated gasoline. It is required to meet fuel standards. Considering MTBE is banned in 25 states due to issues with groundwater contamination, we aren’t going back.

      I am a supporter of ethanol. Like it or not we have an agricultural policy that promotes the overproduction of corn. We can either use that corn for fuel or feed it to livestock. The battle over E15 is a battle between the ethanol industry and the livestock industry. Even with the low EROEI (Energy Returned on Energy Invested) of corn ethanol it is still much better than livestock. The EROEI ratio for corn ethanol is 1.3. (1.3 units of energy from ethanol for every 1 unit of energy invested.) Some put it as low as 0.8 to 1.0. That is still much better than livestock. According to the USDA, it takes It takes 15 pounds of feed to make 1 pound of beef, 6 pounds of feed for 1 pound of pork and 5 pounds of feed for 1 pound of chicken, 2 pounds of feed per pound of catfish. Those are massively negative EROEI ratios and that only takes into account the grain, not the energy required to grow the grain, transport it, or raise and slaughter the cattle.

      • Justin McClintock

        The caveat there is that we’re going to feed the cows/pigs/chickens SOMETHING regardless. Unless there is a cheap, viable alternative, it’s not simply about EROEI, it’s about EROEI relative to alternatives. Sure, it’s low feeding corn to livestock. But how does it compare to OTHER livestock feeds? (Honest question because I truly don’t know the answer). But either way, we have to feed the livestock regardless. Meanwhile, the EROEI of ethanol in fuel use is not only low, but it’s significantly lower than the alternatives when that ethanol comes from corn.

        • Jason

          The “waste” from an ethanol plant is distillers grain. The distilling process only removes the starch component of the grain, the protein remains. Distiller’s grain is sold to be used as high-protein livestock feed. (I use my distiller’s grains from homebrewing to boost the protein content of my bread.) So you can make ethanol and still feed livestock.

          That said, cows are not meant to eat corn, their digestive track is made to efficiently turn grass into energy. One of the reasons that livestock raised in feedlots need a constant diet of antibiotics is to fight the stomach infections caused by forcing them to eat a diet they are not designed to digest. Cows are grazing animals and should to raised on pasture. We don’t do this because it takes longer to put on weight and because the cost of corn is so low. The feedlot method of beef production that we use in the USA is only profitable because we subsidize the production of corn and soy beans.

          Yes, the EROEI for corn ethanol is low. The EROEI from sugar cane is 5. However, we don’t have the proper environment to grow large quantities of sugar cane in the USA. Ideally we would use USA farmland to grow crops to feed people, not animals. We would raise livestock on marginal land that is not suitable for growing crops.

          • Justin McClintock

            Interesting. You learn something every day. That said, I still firmly believe there are better crops and the subsidies for corn are inherently the root of the problem. If I remember correctly, hemp, for example, is much better for alcohol production. But that’s got it’s own set of issues given our federal government’s stance.

            • Piglet2010

              Who was that librul (sic) commie who promoted the growing of industrial hemp? Oh yeah, George Washington.

            • Jason

              Yes, corn subsidies are what allow corn ethanol and feedlot beef to be profitable. Don’t expect any changes. The Agriculture Act of 2014 just pass congress and was signed into law by the president. It authorizes the status quo for another 10 years. Given the choice between ethanol and feedlot beef, I’ll take ethanol.

              Hemp is an excellent agricultural crop with many uses. It isn’t used for ethanol but hemp oil is a good feed stock for bio diesel.

          • Piglet2010

            Cows were not designed, but evolved. Except for the cows that live on the Flat Earth.

            • Jason

              Fair enough. Semantics aside, it doesn’t change the fact that cows have digestive problems when fed large quantities of corn.

              • Piglet2010

                When I lived next to a dairy farm, I remember seeing quite a few cow pies with nearly intact corn kernels in them.

            • Randy S

              Actually, to be pedantic, cows were domesticated and then selectively bred for a long time. To me, that makes them designed.

        • Piglet2010

          The cheap, viable alternative is to eat less meat.

  • stever

    I have to assume the headline is a lie, unless you want to amend the article to include some facts that actually support the statement “E15 Fuel Sale Banned in the US.”

    Nowhere does this article say that E15 is banned. The article says that it prohibits the use of certain grant money to install ethanol pumps. There is even a statement that the AMA will continue to press the EPA to reduce the 2014 requirements for the use of E15. This means that there is still a mandate to sell E15, which means it is not banned.

    Is there something else in the press release that actually addresses whether or not E15 is banned?

    • spikey

      Yet ANOTHER article on RideApart that was not researched in full. At this time I will quote a regular author from this site:

      “propaganda works best when it’s free.” – Wes Siler, Why We Ride Movie Review article.

      Could not have said it better myself! At this point, this is to be expected from a free website that consistently posts articles without fully researching the topic. Lets not forget they regularly review one brand (*cough* Ducati), and even then in one review the bike will be amazing and the next (same bike) it will be considered a terrible ride causing numb hands and back spasms. (*cough* Panigale 1199)

      This site has an audience, an audience that deserves so much better. Please stop insulting the readers with misleading headlines and poorly researched articles.

      • Campisi

        “Lets not forget they regularly review one brand (*cough* Ducati)…”

        Remember when people claimed that RideApart was on Honda’s dole? Yea, those were the halcyon days…

        • Thomas Høj Jørgensen

          You sure see a lot of Hondas on this site. But that seems to be more a case of them being good at lending out press-bikes, in contrast to say KTM.

    • IRS4

      Online headlines are designed exclusively to get you to click through and then comment on how awful they were.

  • John

    Ethanol itself should be illegal. My fuel mileage drops by MORE than 10% with E10!!! So what does that mean? Instead of using 10 gallons of gas, I use 11-12 gallos of E10, which means at LEAST 10 gallons of gas and a gallon of ethanol that would be more efficiently used thrown out the window.

    • Josh Karaus

      EPA cites a 3% drop when using E10 vs. pure gas. More than 10% in your car? How modern is it? What is the price difference between E10 fuel and non-oxy fuel in your area? It is approximately 40cent/gal in MN. I will take the slight mileage drop versus having to pony up the extra $$ for non-oxygenated fuel.

      • Mark Olson

        The non-oxgenated fuel is artificially expensive. You did know that, correct? By law, in Minnesota, it is ILLEGAL to sell non-oxygenated regular. It HAS to be premium.

      • John

        Of course, I ALWAYS trust what government says, they would never lie or exaggerate anything.

        Every person I’ve know has told me the same kind of loss. My car is a 2006 with EFI and noticed that something was wrong every fall but then it went away in the spring. And it gets seriously worse in corn country. I filled up in Oklahoma, I believe, and my fuel mileage was off almost 15%.

        The government is too stupid to breathe on its own.

        • Jason

          All vehicles get lower fuel economy in the winter. The EFI runs a richer fuel ratio until the engine reaches operating temperature and it takes longer to warm up when it is cold. People also tend to idle the vehicle to warm up the cabin.

          • John

            Right, but you’re talking very tiny effects, not anything like losing 4-5mpg. Trust me,it’s ethanol, because my mileage varies state to state depending on what I put in, on the same day.

            • Jason

              The effect is not tiny. From: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/coldweather.shtml

              Fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car’s gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can drop as much as 22% for very short trips (3 to 4 miles).

              The effect on hybrids is worse. Their fuel economy can drop about 31% to 34% under these conditions.

              My wife drives a Toyota Prius. Her mileage drops about 15% in the winter from high 40′s to low 40′s.


              Winter gas has more Butane not ethanol. Butane has a lower energy density than ethanol.


              • John

                Yes, but I’m talking long journeys across the country in the summer. So, yeah.

                Also, my fuel mileage drop timed with the addition of ethanol to the fuel every year. It took awhile to lock on to that, but I tested it, before and after.

                • Jason

                  That is the exact opposite of what you said above: “My car is a 2006 with EFI and noticed that something was wrong every fall but then it went away in the spring.”

                • John

                  No….because they put ethanol in 4 months a year. But in other states the use ethanol mixes all year around.

              • Mister X

                Jason, Butane is a Gas, not a liquid fuel, you are mistaken.

                • Jason

                  Mister X: Read the article linked. Butane is mixed with gasoline to adjust the Reid Vapor Pressure.

                • Mister X

                  Hey Jason, thanks for the quick correction and links, I followed a lot
                  of the additional links and see what you meant. Many years ago I was certified in
                  carburetor and fuel injection diagnosis and repair, and am aware of RVP
                  and the general cracking processes, but wasn’t aware of the Butane
                  injection, quite interesting, thanks again.

      • Sunshine1011

        Where I live regular gas is cheaper than ethanol.

        • Piglet2010

          In Iowa, ethanol free 87 octane is $0.30 more per gallon than 87 octane E10.

          • John

            Thanks tax payer subsidies!!!

    • Sunshine1011

      Plus, ethanol costs more.

      You can blame BUSH for this one, he’s the one that pushed for us to produce more fuel and to do it by using ethanol.

      • John

        I blame Congress more. But he should have vetoed it. But then, Ag bills tend to get 60+ % of the vote.

  • Jack Meoph

    The whole thing stinks of nothing but pork barrel politics for the yokels back in Iowa. Because they’re using animal feed for fuel, the price of everything associated with our nations food supply went up. There are other ways to reduce pollution, sane ways.

    • Piglet2010

      Yokels – You must mean Indiana?

  • Luis Fernando Ponce

    it sounds like the petrol producers put a finger on obama agenda

  • zedro

    Tangential note (perhaps): if you are in Quebec, all Esso stations have (supposidly) no ethanol for all grades. Shell’s high grade stuff doesn’t either but not everywhere.

  • Nemosufu Namecheck

    You know who else is well funded? OPEC

  • John

    What ACTUALLY happened – http://blog.hemmings.com/index.php/2014/02/25/new-farm-bill-hobbles-e15-ethanol-expansion/?refer=news

    By “banning”, you must mean “slowed down slightly”

  • Michael Howard

    Fighting against the mandatory adoption of E15 is a perfect example of the American Motorcyclist Association wasting its lobbying efforts. Sure wish they’d do something that actually helps us riders. [<- sarcasm]

  • tobykeller

    Wait, AMA wants to ban E15 just because people might accidentally fill their bikes with it? Why aren’t they lobbying to ban diesel too then?

    • Piglet2010

      Blender pumps (those with multiple grades but only one discharge hose) may put a significant amount of E15 into a tank even if one selects straight gasoline, if the previous person was pumping E15. Not a big deal if you are putting 40 gallons into your pick-em-up truck, but on a dual-sport or scooter with a small tank (or a small fuel can for your power equipment or dirt bike) there could be enough ethanol to cause a problem.

      • tobykeller

        Fight single-hose blender pumps then… but that’s not what the AMA seems to be doing. Multi-hose blender pumps and E15 itself don’t do any harm to motorcyclists, so why the ruckus?

        • Piglet2010

          Multi-hose blender pump???

      • PrezNixon

        Piglet — That problem has already been resolved. Every gas station that distributes E15 through a blender pump, is mandated by law to have at least one dedicated non-blender pump that distributes just the standard blend of gas. Whether that is E0 or E10, depending upon what the E10 requirements are in that region. No need to worry. Everything will be clearly marked.

        • Piglet2010

          Until the station owners whine about the extra cost and the law gets overturned through lobbying.

          • PrezNixon

            Piglet — Oh, right, and the Commies are about to flood the US any second too. Enough of the slippery slope BS, we’ve heard enough of that before. If you don’t actually have a counter-argument against my post, you don’t have to reply just to get the last word in, with whatever paranoid fears that don’t match current reality. No station owners are complaining at all about that requirement.

            • Piglet2010

              The apologist for the powers that be is easy to spot.

  • Piglet2010

    Best to limit E15 consumption to no more than about a half-pint (or one wine glass) before riding.

  • KC

    Maybe I’m seeing it from a too simple perspective but the whole thing seems counter-productive and counter-intuitive. From an end users perspective this simply makes gasline worse as a fuel source. Less fuel range, potential engine damage, higher fuel costs, a complex manufacturing chain made even more complex by adding more components and costs, etc. At a comic level, it’s like saying “add moonshine to your tank”. Nobody would do that. Something is askew with the logic.

    I think it’s interesting that Brazil is using sugar cane to make alcohol as a fuel and that there are vehicles that are designed to run it.

    • Jason

      “I think it’s interesting that Brazil is using sugar cane to make alcohol as a fuel and that their are vehicles that are designed to run it.”

      That is the key. The minimum ethanol blend in Brazil has been E25 since 2007 and they have been using ethanol blends since 1931. Their engines are designed to use ethanol blends and they don’t have any problems. In fact 87% of new vehicles sold in Brazil are flex fuel vehicles that can use any blend of ethanol from straight gas to 100% ethanol.

      The industries that are fighting E15 could have made their engines E15 compliant decades ago. Such low ethanol blends only require a change to the rubber used in the fuel system. They didn’t do this because it would have cost them a couple of dollars. The auto industry says making an true flex fuel vehicle costs $150 because E85 engines need additional sensors to adjust fuel ratios based on the ethanol blend. Of course that cost would come down significantly if E85 vehicles were standard has they are in Brazil instead of a small fraction of total production as they are in the USA. This is not new
      technology. The 1908 Ford Model T was fuel flexible vehicle and could run on any blend of ethanol from 0-100%.

      The reason that E85 vehicles in the US have such poor fuel economy is because we use E85 in the wrong applications. Ethanol has an AKI octane rating of 99, E85 is 95, regular gas is 87. The high octane rating of ethanol and E85 allow significantly higher compression ratios which increase engine efficiency and reduce fuel consumption. We should be using E85 in small turbocharged engines tuned to take advantage the extra octane. My SAE alternative fuel textbook
      says that an engine designed to run on E100 only uses 5 % more fuel than one designed to run on regular gasoline. However, we don’t do that in the USA.
      Instead we use E85 in full size trucks and SUV’s that have low compression V8 and V6 engines. Automakers do that because they get CAFÉ credits for making E85 vehicles and they need the credits for their trucks not cars.

      • James T

        Could you please tell tell this to John

        • John

          How would this affect the fact that corn is a stupid way to make fuel? Sugar is dramatically more energy rich than corn, per acre.

      • PrezNixon


        I would contend that the automotive industry HAS been making their cars E15 compliant for decades. Since 1985 to be exact. It sounds like you might have an engineering background. If so, you would know that engineers don’t just engineer to exact standards, where the material would fail if exposed to just a little more concentration of something. They typically will engineer in a safety margin, with a 2X margin being pretty common.

        In fact, engineers would have to go out of their way to find gasket and synthetic rubber materials that are OK under 10% ethanol concentration, and fail under 15% concentration. It would be much easier, and likely much cheaper in the long run to select materials that are resistant to much greater concentrations of ethanol. That way there are both a safety margins, and manufacturing leeway. The last thing any car maker would have wanted coming out of the era of the exploding Pinto, was another fire-related product liability problem that could be traced back to the bean-counters.

        Modern day tests using mid-level mixes of ethanol (E20-E50) have tended to collaborate that conclusion, with no corrosion problems being identified above and beyond what would be considered normal even in a car that had pure gas all its life.

        • Piglet2010

          OK, so say the automakers put in a 50% margin on ethanol content when designing for E10 – so what happens when the E15 is actually E18? Will the fuel-injection mapping be able to compensate?

          • PrezNixon

            Piglet — I thought I made it clear that the anecdotal evidence from multiple tests on mid-level blends, that the real world design margin has been shown to be more in the 5X range, not the 50% range? This is confirmed over and over by actual owners working with their own splash blends in the E20-E50 range in modern ODB-II cars.

            It would actually be very rare for an automotive engineer to design in anything less than a 2X margin of error into anything but the most high performance of applications.

        • Jason

          I am an engineer and have worked in the UTV and outdoor power equipment sectors. If you look at manufacturers that are most vocally against E15 it is the small engine manufacturers, marine, motorcycle, ATV, UTV, etc. These are all industries that run engines with carbs and who’s products are used seasonally. That makes sense due to ethanol blend fuel going bad faster than straight gasoline. These industries all have customers that store their engines with fuel in the carb and then wonder why it won’t start in the spring. The customer blames the manufacturer instead of their own lack of proper winterizing. It is especially bad for real small and inexpensive engines like lawn mowers and line trimmers. When that customer goes to the small engine repair shop and finds out it will cost $50 for the mechanic to clean his carb and get his $120 linetrimmer running again that customer gets really mad.

          • PrezNixon

            Jason — It is illegal to use E15 in any of the items you listed, so I’m not sure why you would bring them up. Don’t break the E15 fueling laws, and you will be fine.

            Consumers have for decades gummed up their carbureted seasonal small engines with even pure gasoline when storing them improperly. If you go into a Stihl dealership and blame Stihl because your chainsaw engine got gummed up because you didn’t drain the fuel, you would get laughed out of the store. The same goes if a user fails to properly winterize a small engine when it has an ethanol blend fuel in it. It is user error, not the fault of Stihl, or the fuel, or the farmer, or the govt. Winterization is the responsibility of the owner, regardless of what fuel is used. End of story.

            For people who are too incompetent to winterize their really small engines (especially the really cheap ones you mentioned), they should probably get a battery-powered small tools, like line trimmers or hedge trimmers, even mowers. Because they clearly don’t have the necessary skills and sense of personal responsibility that goes along with small engine ownership.

            • Jason

              It is illegal to use E15 in any of the items you listed, so I’m not sure why you would bring them up

              That won’t stop people form using it. Manufacturers worry about what people will actually do with their products not what they are suppose to do.

              Consumers have for decades gummed up their carbureted seasonal small engines with even pure gasoline when storing them improperly.

              Yes, you can gum up carburetors with regular gas. However, ethanol blends go bad faster than regular gas. The winter storage problem is worse with ethanol blends. Manufacturers know that greater blends of ethanol will lead to more complaints and more disgruntled customers. It doesn’t matter why the customer is angry. Angry customers are bad for business.

              If you go into a Stihl dealership and blame Stihl because your chainsaw engine got gummed up because you didn’t drain the fuel, you would get laughed out of the store.

              No they wouldn’t. Like I said, I have worked in the business. I’ve worked plenty of farm shows and dealt with my share of angry customers. It doesn’t matter why the customer is angry, representatives of the company are polite, reassure the customer that they understand the problem and will look into it. If the customer is misusing the product you politely explain what they did wrong and how they could correct it. If it doesn’t cost too much you throw them a freebie or fix the issue anyway so that the customer leaves happy. Anyone that laughs in the face of a customer won’t last a day in a customer service position. Yes, you laugh at the customer after they leave, but never to their face.

              For people who are too incompetent to winterize their really small engines (especially the really cheap ones you mentioned), they should probably get a battery-powered small tools,

              That is not a solution for a company that sells gasoline powered equipment! You don’t send customers to your competitors. Of course Stihl has come up with their own solution. Stihl MotoMix: premixed fuel with fuel stabilizer available at your local Stihl dealer. Only $10 per quart!

              • PrezNixon

                People misfuel with gasoline in their diesel vehicles too. But nobody blames the existence of diesel fuel, or of the existence of gasoline. You could misfuel your gas car with E85 right now. What is your point?

                • Jason

                  My point is that there is no upside of E15 for small engine manufacturers. Increased ethanol use will lead to increased problems in small engines which leads to a increased number of unhappy customers. It doesn’t matter why the customer is unhappy, and most of those unhappy customers will not admit that the problem is their own fault. They will blame the manufacturer regardless. Therefore, small engine manufacturers will fight the increased use of ethanol in gasoline.

  • James T

    As a corn grower you are sadly mistaken. Ethanol was highly subsidized during the initial push by
    the government, but in recent years incentives have run out, and the plants are
    now privately funded. While it is turn that ethanol can damage the fuel system
    on old motors by corroding rubber fuel lines and gaskets it is a huge improvement
    over MEBT. Ethanol replaced MEBT as the oxygenater in fuel because MEBT
    contaminated ground water and was deadly and has since been banned in the US. Depending
    on where you live ethanol can be much cheaper than regular gas but it is also
    less energetic than regular gas so peak power and range with fall slightly. While
    ethanol may sound less than ideal it is saving you big time at the pump. Without
    ethanol the US would have it import almost 40 million more barrels of oil per
    year. Doing so could result in a price in of around 80-90% because our refineries
    are already running at full capacity. Also the old food vs. fuel debate should
    not be happening because the byproduct of ethanol is distillers grain which is
    actually more notorious for cattle than strait corn.

    • Piglet2010

      I think you mean “methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE)”.

      • James T

        Your right

        • PrezNixon

          I think you also mean “You’re right”…. *grin* Oh, the grammar police are a nasty sort of folk! Thanks the very good content of your information you’ve posted James, we all know what you meant, even the grammar police.

          • Piglet2010

            Having the correct spelling helps a lot when doing an Internet search for information.

    • John

      That is nothing but BS. For one thing, ethanol requires nearly as much fuel as it produces and for another, it lowers fuel mileage substantially.

      So you’re number is not only totally made up, but is actually more likely that we have to import MORE fuel for using ethanol.

      BTW, you’re welcome, from all of us paying your way.

      • James T

        Go do some reaserch and find the hard facts.

        • John

          I did. That is how i know you are spewing propaganda.

          • James T

            Sorry I was going off of memory it’s actualy 41-92% http://www.card.iastate.edu/publications/synopsis.aspx?id=1160

            • John

              Right, because the ethanol industry would never lie or make up stats that support their government check.

              For one thing, this is ridiculous becaues the amount of gasoline used continued to rise even as ethanol production increased. Why didn’t it drop.

              LET ME TELL YOU. First, because it takes nearly a gallon of fuel to make it, there is no savings, except that I suppose that fuel would have been wasting feeding millions of people instead and keeping food prices low in a recession.

              But then, the EPA very conservatively estimates a 3% drop in fuel mileage….so…..right there….you’ve lost much of your gain.

              But the reality is worse than that. From Road and Track –

              “Instead you’re citing a drop between 10.2 and 15.9 percent, which, while similar to some E10-induced losses we’ve heard of, does seem large. We typically hear of mileage drops in the 6- to nearly 10-percent range, but then, folks experiencing a 3- to 5-percent drop probably aren’t fired up enough to write us.”

              I included the last part for fairness. But maybe my 2.3L Ford engine is different from the MILLIONS of other 2.3L Ford engines made and maybe it’s all just a fluke. But then, the government has a vested interest, from the EPA to the Big Ag industry to support ethanol no matter how much it damages food prices, the environment, energy usage, etc.

              The only thing that has caused a reduction in fuel use is the recession, not ethanol, and that is what is keeping gasoline prices reasonable. The 41%-92% figure is fiction because we are using tax money to hide the true costs of ethanol and so when you factor in the subsidies and costs of providing ethanol, and take that out of the picture, Ethanol is a solution without a problem, and has essentially zero effect on gas prices or gas usage. As you can see here, gas consumption went up even as ethanol production rose dramatically and only stopped growing when the recession hit.


              • Jason

                John: “LET ME TELL YOU. First, because it takes nearly a gallon of fuel to make it, there is no savings, except that I suppose that fuel would have been wasting feeding millions of people instead and keeping food prices low in a recession.”

                The corned used to make ethanol or cattle feed cannot be consumed by humans directly. To be consumed by humans it is either feed to cattle at huge efficiency loses or used as an input to wet mills that turn out food additives like high fructose corn syrup and corn oil. The argument made by the livestock industry that the corn used to make ethanol could be fed to starving children is false. Farmers could plant different crops on that land that humans could eat but that isn’t what the livestock industry wants. They simply want a greater share of field corn to go to livestock so that their feed costs will be lower and their profits higher.

                • James T

                  thank you

                • John

                  What people want and what happens due to laws of economics are often two different things. And don’t get me started on corn syrup and corn oil, that’s just another Washington subsidized boondoggle because sugar is cheaper and healthier for you.

                • Jason

                  You seem to be arguing for what should happen in a perfect world. The reality is that if the production of ethanol is decreased more corn will be turned to livestock feed and corn syrup. That land is not going to be used to grow crops to feed people.

                  The solution is to reduce or eliminate federal subsidies that support growing corn. The political reality is that is not going to happen. Those changes will be fought by not only farmers, but also by the processed food industry, livestock industry, and petrol chemical industry.

                • John

                  In a perfect world, the free market decides what it wants. Corn syrup and corn ethanol are products of a skewed market place that has taxpayers paying higher food prices and higher taxes to avoid sugar or oil imports and it isn’t even effective.

                  You also say this “The argument made by the livestock industry that the corn used to make ethanol could be fed to starving children is false. Farmers could plant different crops on that land that humans could eat but that isn’t what the livestock industry wants.”

                  EITHER WAY it is more effiecient than ethanol. We can make more dairy and meat at lower prices OR…..we can use up a gallon of gas to make a gallon of ethanol, drive everyone’s fuel consumption UP and the prices they pay for nearly everything UP. So a few big farmers can make more money.

                  I’m also curious about the variety of corn used for ethanol and that which is used for livestock. There may be a different variety that is better for ethanol, but I’ve not heard that it can’t be used for making corn flours. But, really, people don’t consume that much corn product directly. Wheat is the biggie. Mexicans eat a lot of corn tortillas. But I’d like to know the difference in varieties. Thanks.

                • Jason

                  John: “So a few big farmers can make more money.”

                  Farmers make the same amount of money regardless of what the corn is used for after they sell it.

                  The same corn is used for ethanol, livestock feed, wet mills, corn stoves.

                • John

                  No, that’s not true. There are specific special deductions and incentives for growing it for use in ethanol, for turning it into ethanol, for delivering the ethanol to market. By doing so, it skews the market away from selling to livestock growers and to more profitable ethanol production. And this is critical because….ethanol is more expensive to produce than gasoline. There is essentially no market for it. So government mandates it and subsidizes it. And ethanol producers lobby for more of the same. And come out with flawed studies that show that taking away the subsidies would destroy America.

                • Jason
                • John

                  Sure, they replaced it with something BETTER. A MANDATE.



                  Remember that ethanol mandates TRIPLED the price of corn. and is only now coming back down. And now everyone is SCARED about the poor corn farmer and looking for ways of pumping the prices back UP!

                • Jason

                  The renewable fuel mandate did not replace the subsidy. The mandate was passed 5 years before the subsidy expired. The mandate does not require ethanol to me made from corn, refiners can use any feedstock they want.

                  There are many more factors than ethanol production effecting the price of corn, The main factor is energy prices.. Corn production = fossil fuel. The prices go hand in hand.

                • John

                  The subsidies aren’t necessary when the mandates have tripled the price of corn, are they?

                  If corn prices go up on their own, people buy other things, other crops are planted. But not with mandates.

                • Jason

                  You seem determined to believe that the increase price of corn was due only to ethanol. In 2008 the price of wheat and rice tripled as well. Was that due to ethanol? Could it be that food commodity prices are a little more complex than you make them out to be?

                • John

                  I never said that. Probably just double. But the fact is, we’re diverting food resources, which means that people switch to other food sources, causing shortages and rising prices. It’s basic economics.

                • Jason

                  More like 25-30% and less than the use as livestock feed. The majority of the US corn crop is fed to livestock.

                  Some good reading: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007%E2%80%9308_world_food_price_crisis

                • John

                  Yes, but that doesn’t make what I’m saying incorrect. That 25-30% takes away a lot of acreage that used to be used for livestock and food.

                • Jason

                  The fact that reports state ethanol production has increased the price of corn 20-35% does in fact make your claim that the ethanol mandate increased corn prices by 200-300% wrong. You are grossly exaggerating the effect that ethanol production has on corn prices.


                • John

                  Then you agree that I’m right on everything except the amount of price increase, because the CBO backs up my other claims.

                  Let’s say it’s only 25-30%, and the fact that taxpayers are STILL footing the bill for ethanol expansion, that ethanol lowers fuel mileage, and adds lots of pollution just don’t matter……..do you think it makes sense to raise the price of food 25-30% across the board?

                • Jason

                  I agree. Your claim that ethanol production increased corn prices 2-3 times is wrong. I’m glad you acknowledge that.

                  I don’t agree that ethanol adds lots of pollution

                  There is $0.10 of corn in a box of Corn Flakes the rest is processing, marketing, transportation, and profit.


                • John

                  I think the CBO seriously understates the impact. But even if not, they fail to include all of the other price supports, taxpayer subsidies on other ethanol processes, paying $billions to leave fields unproductive (to drive up prices). With all that stuff, prices would fall right back down on food and we could put a serious dent in poverty and hunger. I’m certainly willing to stick with the statement that GOVERNMENT has caused prices to go up 2-3x what they should be.

                • Jason

                  Have you noticed that you keep changing your claim every time someone proves you wrong? First it was ethanol drives up corn prices 2-3x, now it is the government. BTW, the 2014 Farm Bill gets rid of direct payments to farmers.

                  Government subsidies drive DOWN corn prices. The whole point of the subsidy is that it allows corn farmers to produce corn and sell it at lower than market value without going bankrupt. It also encourages overproduction of corn which again, drives down prices. People in developing countries constantly complain about EU and USA subsidies because they artificially drive DOWN the price of commodities and put their small local farmers out of business. The small time corn farmer in Mexico cannot compete with massive corn producers in the USA that sell their product below the cost to produce.

                  Look at the following chart. You will notice the amount of corn used for food and livestock has remained steady while the amount used for fuel has grown massively. You will also notice that total production has grown and the extra production matches the amount used for fuel. The production of ethanol has not lowered the amount of corn available for food or livestock feed. The use of corn for ethanol has caused acres of fallow land to be planted with corn. Now I will agree that IF all of the corn used for ethanol AND livestock feed was instead ground into corn meal and distributed around the world it would feed a lot of people. That will NEVER happen, so there is not reason to pretend that it will. Also if that was USA agriculture policy it would bankrupt every corn producer in the developing world and make them dependent on US corn.

                • John

                  Also, if you could find the report that shows the corn used for ethanol is inedible, that would be GREAT. Thanks.

                • Jason

                  It is inedible directly. I have personal experience with this because I tried to eat field corn as a kid. It can be processed into edible things with additional processing at wet and dry mills.


                  Dry Mill

                • John

                  Oh, so JUST LIKE OTHER CORN.

                • Jason

                  No. Have you never eaten sweet corn? You can pick it in the field, peel back the husk and eat it raw. No processing required.

                  Also notice that not everything that comes out of a dry mill is food.

                • PrezNixon

                  John, Corn futures are right now down 50% off of their 2012 highs. The production of ethanol has had very little impact on corn commodity prices compared to the impact of flooding in some years halting planting, and drought in other years destroying crops. The fact is that ethanol does not compete with food crops for farm land. That is because we have such a huge amount of land we pay farmers huge amounts of tax dollars to hold fallow, that the only impact ethanol has is on the amount of land kept fallow. Ethanol would only compete against food crops if we ran out of fallow land, and were forced to choose between planting corn for ethanol, vs. a food crop.

                • Piglet2010

                  Commodity future prices have more to do with market rigging and gambling than anything else these days.

                • PrezNixon

                  Piglet — Food commodity prices most closely match catastrophic weather events. Especially floods, droughts, and early freezes. Market rigging in the food commodity market is a distant 4th place, behind seasonal/migrant worker availability and fuel prices.

                  The one thing that shows absolutely zero mathematical correlation, is the price of food commodities and the number of gallons of ethanol produced each year. For example, 2013 was a record year for the most ethanol ever produced, yet corn commodity prices dropped by 50% from 2012 highs.

                • Piglet2010

                  “Food commodity prices most closely match catastrophic weather events.”

                  Tell that to “10,000% profit in 10 months trading” Hillary Rodham Clinton.

                • PrezNixon

                  Little Piggie. OK, now you’ve just exposed yourself as a fact-free political hack. Go post on some right-wing circle jerk echo chamber, the adults are having a real discussion here.

                • Piglet2010

                  Your knee-jerk judgement makes you look like a very silly boy.

                • John

                  Look who just exposed himself. Apologist.

                • John

                  Okay, maybe a broken arm is less problematic than a broken leg, but do you want both?

                  The fact is, it does compete for farm land. And if it didn’t, as you imply, prices would be dropping due to excess production. And paying people to leave their land unproductive is just another entirely ridiculous thing. But the amount of acreage went up 10%, 7 billion acres more, and you can say that this came out fallow land, and that’s fine, BUT…..the % diverted away from livestock and food when from essentially 0% to 25%, conservatively. So, that means about 10 million acres were diverted from food use to ethanol.

                  There is also the problem of soil erosion and river pollution with excess corn production.

                • PrezNixon

                  John, As far as I’m concerned, reducing how much land we pay farmers to NOT farm on, is a good thing. I don’t like paying farmers not to farm. I would never describe requiring farmers to actually farm to make money instead of getting handouts from taxpayers, as a “broken arm”.

                  The reality is that zero acres were diverted from food to ethanol. That is because you have also failed to account for the other dirty secret in corn farming. Which is corn surpluses. Every year there is an amount of corn that goes unsold to any buyer. Currently, that number is

                  1.63 billion bushels going into the 2014 planting season. That is “B” for Billions of bushels. We still overproduce more than all types of buyers can consume. There simply is no competition for resources that are in surplus. That is basic supply/demand stuff.

                  If you don’t like soil erosion, river pollution, etc, you should promote vegetarianism. Because eating meat is by far, orders of magnitude larger contributes to these problems. My guess is that the only time you suddenly become concerned about these things, is only when talking about ethanol. The term that describes this phenomena is “Concern Troll”. I’m not dumb enough to fall for that one.

                • Piglet2010

                  “I don’t like paying farmers not to farm.”

                  We can go back to the days of starving people rioting, while excess crops sit rotting in locked warehouses.

                • PrezNixon

                  I’m not saying we should get rid of the program. I’m saying that if we can manage it in a way that reduces our costs, and produces energy right here in the US, we should do both at the same time. And we should recognize both benefits come from making ethanol fuels.

                  This is a better alternative than just continuing to pay farmers more and more money not to farm, or going back to the old days like you spoke of. Neither of those are good alternatives.

                • John

                  We provide $billions in monetary relief to other countries that is wasted and stolen. It is far better to deliver excess food.

                • John

                  We have a system for it, the only one that has ever worked. It’s called a free market. Not a managed one.

                • John

                  We shouldn’t pay a thing for people to do nothing, that’s part of the problem.

                  “The reality is that zero acres were diverted from food to ethanol.” My research shows otherwise. Very few acres have come online since ethanol. I haven’t seen one economist say that ethanol subsidies and mandates doesn’t drive the price of corn. Not one.

                  People need to eat. They don’t need a fuel that takes away from their fuel mileage in the proportion that it is added. What is the point of using 10 gallons of gas, and a gallon of ethanol, when you can go just as far on 10 gallons of pure gas? It’s mindless.

                  Erosion and pollution issues is at the tail end of the stupidity that is corn ethanol. Because it’s a freaking long list.

                • John

                  The Increased Price of Corn

                  In estimating how the growing demand for corn affected

                  what consumers paid at the grocery store, CBO used a

                  range of estimates from the economics literature about

                  the responsiveness, or “elasticity,” of the supply of corn to

                  increases in its price. The upswing in the demand for

                  corn to be used in producing domestic ethanol raised the

                  commodity’s price, CBO estimates, by between 50 cents

                  and 80 cents per bushel between April 2007 and April

                  2008.19 That range is equivalent to between 28 percent

                  and 47 percent of the increase in the price of corn, which

                  rose from $3.39 per bushel to $5.14 per bushel during

                  the same period.

            • John

              Now let’s look at what your precious ethanol has done to food prices. Notice that mass ethanol production started in the first couple of years of the Bush presidency and look at the spike in costs. Even when gutted by the recession, look how quickly it rebounded to beyond 2007 levels. Yet the economy hasn’t rebounded. So EVEN IF you can claim the cost of gasoline is somehow lower, which is obviously debatable, look at the unintended consequences of it – https://images.angelpub.com/2011/51/12116/food-commodity-price-index-15-year.jpg

              • James T

                While you do make some valid points the corn used for
                ethanol is not commonly used in food production. Also, the byproduct of ethanol
                is “distiller’s grain” which is then used to feed cattle and other livestock. In addition ethanol is not the only variable that
                affects gas prices, you can blame many more people than just the farmers that
                make up less than 2% of our population and feed our country and then some.

                • John

                  I understand, I grew up on a farm. But the problem remains that acreage that is used for ethanol could be used for more food, but, hey, this is a win-win for Big Ag – subsidies for ethanol AND high prices on everything else due to more scarcity.

                  Ethanol is a pretty huge variable when it drops everyone’s fuel mileage by a minimum of 3%, which, I believe, is the *theoretical* loss, not the actual loss. Not to mention engine damages. This is just like the ACA. People are reporting bad news and the government just calls them liars and say it’s can’t be. Well. It is.

              • PrezNixon

                John, Actually, if you put a graph of fuel prices over the top of that graph, you will see it will match almost exactly. Yet the graph of the production of ethanol won’t fit at all. There will be no dips, and no valleys in ethanol production where you see dips and valleys in that Food Price Commodity Index.

                If you are looking for a causal relationship, fuel prices are a much better fit. Which makes sense, because the cost of gasoline/diesel impacts all layers of the food distribution system. From farming, to commodity delivery, to the actual food manufacturing, to the supply chain for all the non-corn ingredients and packaging materials, to the plastics that are made of petroleum, to the delivery of the completed food items to warehouses, to the delivery to stores, to the heating and lighting of the stores themselves. All of that is very energy intensive. Meanwhile, a box of corn flakes only contains 7 cents worth of corn. Even doubling the cost of corn wouldn’t explain the food price increases shown in your graph.

                A general upward trend goes right along with other trends in society, such as higher minimum wages going into effect, higher health care costs, etc that we know also contribute to food costs. I don’t think you’ve thought this whole thing through very much.

                • John

                  Yes, except that the cost of fuel doesn’t have that big of an effect on food prices by itself. Are claiming that doubling the cost of fuel will double food prices?

                  There are things that can’t be controlled, And there are things that function all by themselves. Ethanol is stupid on many, MANY different levels, including the fact that it hasn’t reduced our dependency on oil one bit. The only thing that has done that is the recession.

                  You can’t mandate that a certain amount of ethanol be produced from corn and not cause a shift in prices, short of undoing a whole lot of other things that haven’t been undone.

  • Michael Sullivan

    Wouldnt want to see e15 or ethanol “banned” only labeled better. As a rider and a lawn and landscape business owner I have been afraid o fill up at strange fuel depot’s.

  • Jason

    I would expect that “premium” gas would have a higher ethanol blend to give it the higher octane rating. Why add octane boosters when you can simply blend in more ethanol?

    Have you tried finding ethanol rated o-rings for your carbs? I sense a business opportunity here. Ethanol rated carb kits for motorcycles and small engines.

    • Chris Optional Freeman

      and floats, needles, diaphragms, etc. higher octane does not translate to more ethanol. octane is a completely different compound.

      • Jason

        Octane is not a compound. Octane rating is a measurement of how much a fuel can be compressed before it will ignite. Different fuels have different ratings.

        Regular gasoline in the US has an octane rating of 87 AKI.
        “Premium” gasoline in the US has an octane rating of 93 AKI
        Ethanol has an octane rating of 99 AKI.

        You would need an E50 blend to get an octane rating of 93 AKI by just mixing regular gas and ethanol.

  • Mark D

    I have an older carbureted bike, and I’m pretty sure its been filled with E10 since I bought it. I’ve never had any problems with rubber parts, and while carbs will gunk up faster if you let them site for a few months with E10 in them, a little additive will prevent that. I can’t imagine E15 being much worse, unless you let your ‘hog sit between September through April without draining its carbs. Which basically means 85% of the AMA membership will be affected. (I am also an AMA member).

    • Piglet2010

      “…a little additive will prevent that.”

      Sta-Bil™, Sea Foam™, or both?

      • Mark D

        Sta-Bil usually does the trick. Every once and a while I’ll add some to the tank even when I’m not storing the bike.

        • Piglet2010

          I think I will start using Sta-Bil regularly in the TW200, as it is not my primary ride and is really hard starting if it sits for more than a week or so.

    • tobykeller

      I’ve read that the threat is less about gunking stuff up and more that ethanol can eat away at rubber parts that aren’t designed for it… mainly older fuel lines and gaskets.

      • Mark D

        Great, now I’m going to ride in constant fear of a massive, sudden, and unexpected gasket blowout.

  • Piglet2010

    The manual for my 2013 Bonnie says E15 is fine to use – for whatever that is worth.

    • Chris Optional Freeman

      England, where triumph is manufactured, has ethanol in some gas. also its a fuel injected bike if its a 2013.

      • Piglet2010

        Yes, the 2013 Bonnie is fuel injected, even though the manual is still written as if it had carburetors. :(

  • John

    So, I guess it just doesn’t matter how incorrect the headline and article is, you guys are just going to run full steam ahead with it. Wonderful.