Congressman Sensenbrenner Holds EPA Accountable for Harmful Regulations that Hurt American Fuel Consumers
“Taxpayers should not be held hostage at the pump by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington.”
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner sent a letter to United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy pressing her to provide answers for the Agency’s harmful E15 regulations that are putting unnecessary burdens on American fuel consumers.
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “Taxpayers should not be held hostage at the pump by unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats in Washington. Without evidence to justify its harmful E15 mandate, the EPA must take responsibility for the burdens it’s placing on the backs of American fuel consumers, and answer for the unnecessary harm it’s causing to hardworking citizens.”
Full text provided below:
Dear Administrator McCarthy:
I write to you with concerns about an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) decision to allow certain configurations of fuel-dispensing blender pumps at retailer locations.
A number of complications surround the introduction of fuels containing higher percentages of ethanol, or E15, as known to many Americans. Apart from the difficulties of managing ethanol-blended fuels, especially in the winter months, there are additional and more serious roadblocks for people who own older automobiles or specific types of motor vehicles. Many vehicles owned and operated in the United States, including lawn mowers, motorcycles, ATVs, and various watercraft, are not built to burn high-ethanol fuel. EPA’s E15 requirements may lead to wide-spread vehicle malfunction, caused by misfueling. Additionally, certain E15 and blender pump implementation options approved by EPA have presented serious obstacles to consumers at large, whether or not they desire to purchase E15.
The EPA requires that companies submit an E15 Misfueling Mitigation Plan (MMP) before various pump configurations are permitted at retail locations. Some approved MMPs result in further difficulties for consumers, rather than eliminating confusion. These configurations include a mandated minimum fuel purchase of 4 gallons to dilute any mismatched fuel that remains in the hose from a previous purchase. They also require the installation of a separate pump where fuel containing maximum 10 percent ethanol may be distributed. Blender pumps where EPA mandates a 4-gallon minimum purchase are supposed to be marked for passenger vehicle fueling only. Misuse of these pumps may be in violation of federal law.
Mandating minimum purchases and dividing consumers by vehicle type or age adds regulatory burden, more room for consumer confusion, and is out of touch with the wide range of consumer needs. Consumers should not be required to purchase a minimum amount of any product, especially for something as basic as motor fuel. Consumers may be shut out from accessing this essential need for reasons as simple as only needing a certain amount of fuel or only having the financial resources to purchase an amount lower than the mandated minimum. There would be no need to dispense a minimum volume of fuel if each blend sold had a designated hose at each pump.
In addition to continuing discussions on the practicalities of single-hose fuel pumps, we request a response from EPA to these questions about single-hose blender pumps as an option. Does EPA:
- Have supporting evidence that single-hose blender pumps reduce operating costs for retailers?
- Have evidence to suggest there is strong demand from retailers for an option to dispense multiple fuel blends from single-hose blender pumps?
- Have evidence to suggest that retailers do not incur increased costs by being required to provide, in addition to single-hose blender pumps, at least one dedicated pump where a maximum blend of E10 is available?
We appreciate your attention to these questions. Please respond by November 21, 2016.
James Sensenbrenner, Jr.
Member of Congress