The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute announced it has serious concerns with a premature rush to 15-percent ethanol (E15) or other mid-level fuel blends. The move to these fuel blends has yet to undergo a formal waiver process with the Environmental Protection Agency, and a recent Department of Energy report has been continually misinterpreted. OPEI is concerned that moving to E15 fuel will only hurt consumers at this time.
The DOE report that studied a small sample of legacy vehicles and non-road engines includes test results showing a rush to E15 fuel is not in the consumer’s best interest. It reported:
· Engine exhaust temperatures rose to an extent that may cause premature engine and equipment failure
· Safety hazards dramatically increased due to unintentional clutch engagement caused by high idle speeds
· Products were damaged to the point they could no longer operate
· Numerous adverse operational issues arose – such as erratic engine and equipment operation, stalling of engines and dramatic power reduction
For now, OPEI is asking the EPA and DOE to use the formal waiver process to fully understand the effects of these fuels and communicate the information to the public.