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How The Ethanol Debate Was Turned Around - EXCLUSIVE

The controversies surrounding motorcycle enthusiasts and ethanol-blended fuels may be resolved in the very near future according to breaking information revealed on a new Clutch and Chrome podcast.

The latest developments followed recent reports bikers could be subject to 4-gallon minimum fuel purchase at blender pumps designed to dispense both E10 and E15. With motorcycle tanks averaging just under 5 gallons in size, riders tend to use between two-three gallons when they fill-up, making the minimum requirement unworkable in the opinion of many.

Clutch and Chrome has learned of a solution that would not only eliminate the need for any minimum purchases, but essentially benefit anyone buying gas from blender pumps.

Do we have your attention yet?

Ironically, we only learned of this news because of our reporting on this possible mandate from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). After the article, 'Bikers Need To Read This Before Filling Their Gas Tank Again’ appeared on September 30, 2016, Clutch and Chrome was contacted by not only the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) but also the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), a group that represents the Ethanol industry.

Both of these organizations advise the EPA on polices which decide how much of the different types of gasoline are made available at gas stations around the United States as well as resolving issues that may arise through blended fuels, whether ethanol is used or not.

If readers are feeling slightly lost with the terms of blender-pumps and EPA mandates, we would recommend reading 'Bikers Need To Read This Before Filling Their Gas Tank Again’ before moving on. It walks through why using the incorrect blend of ethanol fuels can be harmful to motorcycles, how blender pumps work and more importantly, how the minimum fuel purchase proposal came about.

Ground-breaking Podcast

We brought representatives from the AMA and RFA together on our podcast, cleverly called ‘Another Motorcycle Podcast’, to discuss every aspect of ethanol-blended fuels. It’s fair to say these two groups have spent the last five years at odds over the volumes of ethanol-blended gasoline coming to the marketplace as well as how fueling options are presented at the gas pump.

The AMA was represented by Pete terHorst and Rick Podliska with Robert White speaking for the RFA. Interestingly enough, the news-breaking podcast started with a mini- scoop of sorts, this would be the first time any of the parties had discussed these topics in person.

Probably the most ground-breaking news from this edition of ‘Another Motorcycle Podcast’, we learned of a mechanical solution being developed that would prevent the accidental mixing of fuel by the very blender pumps at the heart of the minimum fuel purchase proposal.

Accidental blending can happen at any blended fuel pump. When E15 is sold from a blender pump, about a third of a gallon remains in the fueling hose when the spout is put back. If the next person using the pump wants to buy a single gallon of E10, a third of a gallon of E15 and two-thirds of a gallon of E10 is actually what makes it into the tank.

The new solution, which we understand is being developed outside of the ethanol industry and in the patent process, would prevent any fuel from being stored in the fueling hose. This would allow for users to only pump the fuel they want.

Obviously, the product needs to come to market and make its way onto pumps at the different gas stations, but this opportunity appears to be the best solution for a difficult problem. The only other mechanical solution to avoiding a minimum purchase requirement are gas pumps that exclusively sell E10 blended-fuel. These individual pumps aren’t favored by owners of gas station because they add costs to installation, maintenance and insurance.

Listeners of the podcast should be pleasantly surprised at how much the AMA and RFA actually agree on. The representative of the RFA, Robert White is a long-time biker and clearly has empathy for the needs of motorcycle enthusiasts. In many cases, everyone wants the same thing, to ensure the correct fuel is available and riders avoiding misfueling, or using the wrong blend of ethanol gasoline.

“A good way we could all work together is to support a comprehensive EPA information campaign,” noted AMA’s Rick Podliska.

Of course the ride though these conversations is certainly something to hear. How Rick’s suggestion could happen, the challenges of working with the EPA and a disagreement of the different volumes of ethanol-blended fuels coming to the marketplace were hot topics on ‘Another Motorcycle Podcast’. Most notably, the AMA expressed concerns about decreasing the availability gasoline free of ethanol which is used by riders of older, vintage motorcycles.

A quick tip for owners of older motorcycles or even those who want to continue to ride the road of ethanol-free gasoline. They can find stations near them or along a road trip using the helpful website

While the podcast is a little longer than our other editions, every minute of the latest ‘Another Motorcycle Podcast’ is filled with insight and information about ethanol gasoline, how it impacts the motorcycle community and shouldn’t be missed.

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