By Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.)
The latest mandate handed down from the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) is so ridiculous, even I was shocked. The EPA has now
mandated how much gasoline you must buy at certain gas stations. Say hello to
the Obama Administration's four gallon minimum.
This unprecedented EPA overreach applies when filling up at
a gas station that provides both E15 and E10, gasoline with 15 or 10 percent of
ethanol, respectively, from the same hose.
At the insistence of the ethanol industry, the Obama
Administration is pushing E15 into the marketplace, regardless of the serious
concerns about the fuel's impact on drivers. From its inception, E15 is a study
in the consequences of government interference in the marketplace. The EPA's
decision to set a minimum purchase requirement is just the most recent example.
If this seems too far-fetched to be true, here is what the
EPA recently wrote in a letter to the American Motorcyclist Association:
"EPA requires that retail stations that own or operate
blender pumps either dispense E15 from a dedicated hose and nozzle if able or,
in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose, require
that at least four gallons of fuel be purchased to prevent vehicles and
engines with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to gasoline-ethanol blended
fuels containing greater than 10 volume percent ethanol."
The EPA approved E15 for sale in the U.S. using a
partial waiver, meaning it is only approved for some vehicles on the road-cars
2001 and later.
Most of our gasoline contains only 10 percent ethanol.
Increasing the ethanol content will harm older vehicles and it is downright
dangerous for small engines like those found in boats, lawnmowers, or
motorcycles. E15 is like metal in a microwave for a small engine.
The Obama Administration's attempt to solve the serious
concern of misfueling is more government regulation. By requiring a minimum
purchase of four gallons of E10 gas, the Administration hopes to dilute the
amounts of E15 undoubtedly left in the shared hose and prevent the fuel from
ruining small engines or endangering Americans using these devices.
This type of government meddling is completely contradictory
to our free market principles, and it is a dangerous precedent to set.
If the government has the power to mandate a minimum amount
of gas we can buy, what else can they mandate?
The EPA's first-ever mandated purchase requirement appears
to have been conceived outside the normal regulatory process, making this
unprecedented government overreach even more offensive.
Americans deserve to know how a federal agency has the power
to do this. I have requested that the EPA explain their authority for this
Additionally, the very effectiveness of this heavy-handed
regulation is questionable.
Many motorcyclists may be stumped when attempting to fill up
their bike that doesn't even have the capacity to hold four gallons.
Other Americans will try unsuccessfully to fill up a one or
two gallon fuel can with E10 to take it home and use in their outboard boat
engine or lawnmower. Even worse, what will happen when they take the fuel home,
tainted with E15, and overheat their snow blower?
where we get an average of four feet of snow per year, imagine the frustration
of ruining an expensive snow blower only to find that the E15 unequivocally
voided the warranty.
This unprecedented, ill-conceived mandate is an example of
the worst kind of government interference. It both squashes the free market and
will inevitably fail to help those it claims to protect. However, the Obama
Administration does successfully do one thing: highlight the E15 partial waiver
as completely unworkable.
Republican, represents the fifth congressional district in Wisconsin.