On March 22, U.S. Rep. David Loebsack (D-Iowa) introduced H.R. 4673, the Renewable Fuel Utilization, Expansion, and Leadership Act” or the “REFUEL Act.” The bill would provide federal grants to purchase and install new or existing infrastructure (i.e., pumps, storage tanks, internal tank lining, piping, and electric vehicle chargers). The infrastructure must be used in the “process of dispensing fuel containing covered renewable or alternative energy.”
The bill contradicts the will of Congress, which prohibited funding for special ethanol blender pumps in the FARM bill.
Despite congressional intent to stop blender pumps from being subsidized, this bill follows U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack’s end-around efforts to use other programs to fund blender pumps.
These pumps would be a key component in helping to expand the availability of E15 fuel, a blend of gasoline that includes up to 15 percent ethanol by volume.
None of the estimated 22 million motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles in use in the United States is certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to operate on fuel containing more than 10 percent ethanol. Inadvertent use of E15 in vehicles not designed for its use can damage fuel system and engine components and void manufacturer’s warranties.
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