FTC Publishes Ethanol Fuel Rule

By Mike Brezonick14 January 2016

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has published its final amendments to its Fuel Rating Rule. The rule is intended to help customers make informed decisions about what fuel to use when they fill up vehicles and other gasoline-fueled equipment, said the FTC.

In April 2014, the FTC sought public comment on new rating, certification, and labeling requirements for gasoline blends with more than 10% ethanol.

The final amendments require that fuel marketers rate and certify all ethanol blends with ethanol content ranging from 10% to 83%. They also require that retailers post labels with ethanol percentage disclosures and with the statement: “Use only in Flex-Fuel Vehicles/May Harm Other Engines.”

The rule was published in the Federal Register on January 14 and can be read by clicking here (opens a PDF).

Following the announcement by the FTC, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, issued the following statement:

"We appreciate efforts by the FTC to regulate and manage the rapidly-changing fuels marketplace, requiring that gas pumps be labeled with percentage of gasoline and percentage of ethanol added. However, the agency didn't go far enough,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO, OPEI. “We fear consumers will remain confused and inadvertently misfuel their small engine equipment, in particular."

OPEI said consumer surveys conducted in April and May 2015 found that Americans do not pay much attention to labels at the pump. It reported 23% of those surveyed said that they notice the ethanol content on the fuel pump.

According to most engine manufacturers, fuels containing greater than 10% ethanol can damage or destroy outdoor power equipment, including lawn mowers, chain saws, generators, utility vehicles and other small engine equipment such as motorcycle and boat engines.

Fuels containing more than 10% may void product warranties. By Federal law, it is illegal to use higher ethanol fuel blends, specifically E15, in outdoor power equipment.

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