4 Reasons The EPA’s Ethanol Decision Will Ruin Your Motorcycle Trip

I listen to NPR when I’m driving the car, and I heard something interesting today on WBEZ about ethanol. Of course I’m thinking about my motorcycle and E15 ethanol gasoline.

Listen below:

Sure, Big Corn wants us to go to 15% ethanol in our gas. It works fine in most vehicles, larger, four-wheeled ones especially. With $100 million dollars to add these higher ethanol blend pumps, the chance that a biker will fill their tank with it is a lot higher.

Here’s four ways that increased ethanol at our gas stations will ruin your ride.

  1. Ethanol blends higher than 10% is shown to degrade small engines, causing it to run lean, misfire, or cause other problems. This includes ATVs, motorcycles, chainsaws, rototillers, any small engine.
  2. Rushing at the gas station could end up with a gas tank full of high-ethanol gas. We haven’t seen this with E85 (85% ethanol) because E85 isn’t at nearly as many gas stations as this might end up.
  3. A requirement of the purchase of 4 gallons or more of regular gasoline in ethanol-enabled gas pumps means that many motorcycles will be left with contaminated gas. It takes 4 gallons of regular (E10) gas to disperse the additional ethanol available in E15 (or other high blends).
  4. Further subsidizing the ethanol industry while leaving people hungry in our country just doesn’t feel good (but I feel that way about most business subsidies). Put THAT in your tank!

Honda Nighthawk at a gas stationEver been in the middle of nowhere and there’s only one gas station around? What happens when the higher ethanol blends are the only gasolines available? Do we then “illegally” fill our tanks, knowing that it’s detrimental to our machine? I don’t trust that we will have the access that we need to E10 (10% ethanol blend) gasoline. I’m not taking the side of Big Oil. I’m in the middle. They’re both giants with lots of money, and we’re stuck trying to enjoy our bikes in the meantime. And I like the EPA. This is just bad for bikers.

By the way, I’m not in that no-ethanol-at-all camp. I tried that when I was at a BP station that had premium no-ethanol gas available and I only got around 46 mpg, and I prefer being over 50, though that hasn’t happened in a while. The mpg I was getting around that same time, though, the 46 was less than that.

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