The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 power equipment, engine and utility vehicle manufacturers and suppliers, issues the following statement on today’s announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency regarding federal agency quotas for renewable fuels that must be blended into gasoline in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Today’s announcement underscores the reality of an ever changing and expanding fuel marketplace, with ethanol increasing to 10.10 percent in the general fuel market in 2016.

“The EPA announcement is regrettable as the likely introduction of midlevel ethanol fuels for which our products are not designed, built or warranted will increase, and yet not providing any consumer education on the use of fuels containing more than 10 percent ethanol,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “Additionally, a mandated fuel of greater than 10 percent ethanol ignores the fueling requirements of the 400 million legacy engine products in use today including boats, snowmobiles, outdoor power equipment, UTVs and autos.”

According to most engine manufacturers, fuels containing greater than ten percent ethanol can damage or destroy outdoor power equipment, including lawn mowers, chain saws, generators, utility vehicles and other small engine equipment such as motorcycle, snow mobile and boat engines. Fuels containing more than 10 percent may void product warranties, and by Federal law, it is illegal to use higher ethanol fuel blends, specifically E15, in outdoor power equipment.

“Herein lies the conflict. EPA’s ruling seems to suggest that fuels greater than 10 percent are now being mandated into the marketplace,” Kiser added.

Surveys conducted in April and May with consumers, show nearly three quarters (74 percent) of Americans say they are not at all sure if it’s legal or illegal to put high level ethanol gas (i.e., anything higher than 10 percent ethanol) into small engine products.

“It is more important than ever, for consumers to pay attention at the pump. You must put the right fuel, in the right product,” Kiser says.