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American Motorcyclist Association Issues Fatuous, Delusionary Statement Against E15

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How can you trust an organization that disseminates lies?

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By Marc J. Rauch
Exec. Vice President/Co-Publisher

The American Motorcyclist Association (AMA) has been opposed to ethanol-gasoline fuels for a long time. Consequently, they have been wrong on the issue for the same amount of time. Their incorrectness on the position has led me to think of them as the American Motorcyclist Asses.

On Monday, April 18th, the Association issued a press release lambasting the planned waiver to allow year-round selling of E15 at retail fueling stations around the country. Their complaints against E15 run the gamut from the pump-labeling being insufficient to warn consumers against using the fuel, to the usual litany of anti-ethanol myths related to engine and environmental damage. The press release includes a link to a petition that will then be sent to Joe Biden and EPA Administrator Michael Regan.

The over-exaggerated complaints against E15 are the same over-exaggerated complaints that they voiced so vociferously against E10 for many years.

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The complaint against pump labeling is always the strangest because it pre-supposes that motorcyclists are too stupid to understand the graphic icons and words that are posted on the labels. I always thought this is a terrible way for the AMA to perceive their members. It makes me happy to say that despite my being a longtime motorcyclist that I have never been a member of AMA.
Me doing Groucho
in comedy clubs
in N.Y. circa 1978

Allow me to paraphrase a wonderful Groucho Marx quote from the 1950s: "I don’t want to belong to any organization that would regard me as being stupid."

If anything, the dunce cap should be on other head(s); it should be placed firmly on the skulls of anyone and everyone at the AMA that supports their organization's anti-ethanol position. It should be fitted thusly either because they are dumb enough to believe the false information about ethanol, or for aligning themselves with the petroleum oil industry and their lies, or both.

Ethanol does not damage internal combustion engines. It doesn't damage large automobile engines, and it doesn't damage smaller motorcycle and lawnmower engines. Moreover, methanol (a cousin to ethanol) is the primary ingredient in the fuel used in the smallest working internal combustion engines (those used in RC cars/planes/boats) and it doesn't damage those engines - incidentally, the level of methanol used in RC fuel can be as high as about 75%. E15 is only about 15%. How could these rather delicate little engines stand up to 75% alcohol fuel if alcohol fuel is so harmful?

Ethanol and methanol are compatible with more types of rubber, plastic, and metal than gasoline and the aromatics that are always included in gasoline (benzene, toluene, and xylene). Side note: ethanol is even safer and less corrosive than methanol.

The fact is that like all automobiles on the road today, all motorcycles on the road today - regardless of age and manufacturer - could safely, economically, and efficiently use ethanol-gasoline blends well in excess of E10. In reality, no E15 warning label of any kind is necessary.

I've specifically written about ethanol use in motorcycles on many occasions over the past couple of decades. Back in April 2016, six years almost to this exact day, I was asked by Robert White at Renewable Fuels Association to respond to a persnickety anti-E15 article that was published on the website. The article, written by Ken Bingenheimer set up E15 as being something monstrous. I wrote a response to the article while in Taipei, Taiwan to deliver a presentation advocating ethanol. I was there on behalf of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Grains Council. The article, and my original rebuttal (with spelling errors) are still online at

The following was my response (with some spelling errors now corrected):

    Hi Ken -

    I read your post about E15 along with the comments from your friend 'Stump.' I'm surprised that you failed to warn motorcycle riders of the danger of riding their bikes too close to large areas of water because a Kraken monster could rise up out of the depths at any moment to seize them.

    I understand that the Kraken is a mythological creature, but as long as you’re peddling fairytales you might as well go all the way.

    Owning and riding a motorcycle, like owning and driving a car, doesn't magically imbue the owner with any great technical knowledge. Therefore owners of bikes and cars, like you guys, should stay away from making claims when it’s clear that you don't have any technical knowledge whatsoever. The claims you posted are completely false.

    The only uncertainty in my mind is why you would make these false claims – is it just because of ignorance or are they intentional lies. If the false claims come from StarTron (a manufacturer of an engine additives that you've relied on) then I'm reasonably certain they are lies; lies made to help sell their snake oil products. Perhaps they should have stayed dedicated to making car polish products.

    You posted that "Gums rapidly form in the fuel tank and fuel delivery systems as ethanol fuels age." The substance you are referring to, which some call sludge or gunk, is caused by gasoline. This will form whether there is ethanol present in your fuel or not. This problem has been around for as long as gasoline has been used in internal combustion engines (more than 100 years). Engine treatment and cleaning products have been around for nearly as long. So to ascribe the problem to ethanol as if it’s something exclusive to ethanol is preposterous.

    To solve the problem of sludge/gum/gunk build-up you use ethanol or a product that emulates ethanol. When you wash your hands with soap, the soap doesn't make your hands dirtier; the soap facilitates the cleaning process. If your engine has a great deal of build-up, then you will have to eventually have it cleaned. This may also require changing the fuel filter and other parts. This is standard procedure in vehicle ownership. It may be that going from long-term use of ethanol-free gasoline to an ethanol blend will cause the sludge/gum/gunk to break away, but that’s what you would want to happen in order to clean your engine. However, if you have already been using E10 or if you recently had your engine cleaned and the fuel filter changed, then E15 won't cause any problems with the gum/gunk/sludge because there will be very little of it; in fact, there may be none.

    Your post continues by going deeper into myth. Ethanol does not attract moisture from the atmosphere. Moisture (water) can form in a fuel tank, but it forms because of condensation. Ethanol does not exacerbate the condensation process. And the problem of condensation has been a problem with internal combustion engines for as long as internal combustion engines have existed. Condensation can occur with gasoline or even if the fuel tank is completely empty; that’s how condensation works. So again, to attribute this problem to ethanol as if it’s specific to ethanol is ridiculous.

    Moreover, if your fuel tank and fuel system did get water in it there are two ways to remove the water: First is to drain the tank and system. The Second, and faster solution, is to add something like Dry Gas. Dry Gas is alcohol. So ethanol solves the problem, it doesn't cause the problem.

    Phase separation is actually a problem with gasoline, not ethanol. Ethanol breaks down water molecules and holds it until it’s expelled through the exhaust system when the engine is running. Gasoline does not have that same ability to break down and hold the water. That’s when you get phase separation. That’s when the engine will not start. It is true that ethanol can reach a point where there is too much water and the water molecules will not be absorbed into the ethanol, but this is several times more water than gasoline can handle. So if there’s a situation in which you inadvertently poured some water into your fuel tank, you better hope that you have ethanol and not gasoline in the tank.

    Your post continues with more silliness. You write that ethanol fuels break down quickly. It’s gasoline that breaks down quickly, which is why gasoline stored in a fuel tank for a long time requires a stabilizer. You may have noticed a bottle of whisky in your grandparent’s liquor cabinet over years and years. The whisky never broke down; it never required a stabilizer; you can drink from the same bottle of whisky for 20 years and the taste and strength will remain the same.

    An ethanol-gasoline blend may separate but the moment the engine is started, the vibrations cause the ethanol and gasoline to mix. In addition, the “short period of time” you suggest is not a short period of time. You make it sound as if it will occur over a lunch break.

    Painting the image that the separation of ethanol and gasoline is similar to the separation of water and gasoline is false. Water has no ability to combust, so if you have phase separation in your tank of water and gasoline then you will have trouble. On the other hand, if the ethanol and gasoline separate you'll never know it because ethanol combusts, and once combustion takes place the gasoline and ethanol mix together.

    You post that ethanol causes lost power, performance, and decreased fuel economy. This is all nonsense. Ethanol delivers more power because you get more compression. More compression leads to better performance - this is why high-end performance cars and many race cars use ethanol fuels. And, the reason that a gasoline engine running on ethanol fuel will get less MPG is that the engine is optimized to run on gasoline. The same engine optimized to run on an ethanol fuel will get better MPG. In any event, if you lose 10% in miles by using an ethanol-gasoline blend, but save 20% in fuel cost, then you have a net gain, not a net loss.

    And finally, you raise the absurd issue that the Kraken E15 monster will force its way into your fuel tank. Just because E15 may become available in Colorado, it doesn't mean that it's everywhere or that it’s the only fuel choice. Also, the pump and hose is clearly labeled. I realize that on occasion someone excessively stupid or drunk will pump diesel fuel into a gasoline tank, and vice-versa, but this is another reason why you should not drive when drunk or excessively stupid.

    Incidentally, I own and ride a motorcycle, and have done so for the past 20 years. I have never, ever, experienced any of the problems that you, Stump, ABATE and StarTron claim. I have, however, over the course of driving vehicles of all types for nearly 50 years experienced fuel line freeze (which is virtually non-existent with ethanol-gasoline blends), faulty fuel pumps, broken fuel lines, and leaky seals… all of which happened to my vehicles using leaded gasoline or gasoline with MTBE.

    If you guys don't understand these extremely simple facts about internal combustion engines then you should not be writing about them, let alone giving advice to anyone else.

    Have a happy week and ride safely.

A year after my rebuttal to, in April 2017, I wrote and published "Motorcycles and Ethanol (E10 and E15) - The Shocking Truth." This essay detailed my personal ethanol experience with my Kawasaki Vulcan Classic. My successful and happy experience using ethanol-gasoline blends was a shocking truth to ethanol-hating motorcyclists. You can read this short piece by CLICKING HERE.

Around the same time period, a representative from a company called Competition Accessories wrote to me about ethanol. He cited all the typical anti-ethanol lies and then closed out his complaints by trying to impress me by saying that the American Motorcyclist Association is against ethanol and that they have 25,000 statements and signatures from motorcyclists who claim that ethanol causes problematic issues.

In my response, I cited all the usual facts about ethanol being safer and less corrosive than gasoline and aromatics, and how all the complaints made about ethanol could not have been caused by ethanol because the problems talked about were the same engine problems that occurred in all the decades before ethanol was regularly used in America. I closed out my comeback by writing:

    "Since there are more than 5 million licensed motorcycle riders in America (and more than 8 million registered motorcycles). Having 25,000 signatures represents less than 1/2 of 1% of licensed motorcycle riders. If the problems exist, in the manner in which you and AMA claim, there would be signatures and statements from far more than 1/2 of 1% of all licensed riders. Statistically speaking, you have virtually disproven your claim that ethanol routinely causes problems in motorcycles."


All negative comments about ethanol are incorrect. They are either lies, exaggerations, or myths. They were mostly invented by the petroleum oil industry, and it appears that you may have helped them in inventing the false information.

Ethanol doesn't harm engines, it cleans engines. It doesn't suck water out of the air, but it will absorb water that naturally forms because of condensation. Since gasoline can't do this, people have to resort to regularly using engine additives that can cost as much as 2 or 3 gallons of gasoline. All liquids are corrosive, especially water. However, ethanol is less corrosive and is compatible with more types of rubber, plastic, and metal than gasoline and aromatics. BTU values (energy content) are irrelevant when discussing internal combustion engines. Ethanol production and use does not affect the price of food.

If you are disseminating negative information about ethanol you are WRONG! I don't care who you are, where you went to school, or who you know; there are no negatives to using ethanol fuel. You can read my 600-page book "THE ETHANOL PAPERS" online for free.

I challenge anyone at AMA to provide truthful information that is contrary to what I have published in my book, or in any of the hundreds of individual reports I've written and published about ethanol. I will gladly debate you in any public forum or broadcast event.