Ethanol education campaign snowballs with ISMA, OPEI partnership

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) announced Oct. 7 that it will partner with the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) in the ‘Look Before You Pump’ campaign, an ethanol education and consumer protection program. The campaign reminds consumers to always use fuels containing no greater than 10-percent ethanol when powering their outdoor power equipment or other non-road product, such as boats, snowmobiles and motorcycles, not designed for higher ethanol fuel blends.

ISMA is the leading association representing snowmobile manufacturers, which encourage policies, programs and activities to improve the lifestyle activity of snowmobiling. Under the partnership with OPEI, ISMA will distribute ‘Look Before You Pump’ messaging and materials to its membership and other stakeholders.

Created by OPEI, an international trade association representing 100 small-engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, the ‘Look Before You Pump’ campaign is most known by its emblematic prominent, red warning hand symbol indicating ‘OK’ for 10-percent ethanol and ‘No’ for mid-level ethanol blends (such as E15, E30, E85). The campaign was launched in October 2013, in response to higher ethanol blended fuels being made available in the marketplace for ‘flex-fuel’ automobiles, as well as to warn consumers not to inadvertently mis-fuel their engine products not designed to handle these higher ethanol fuel blends.

“The level of support for ‘Look Before You Pump’ continues to grow,” said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. “No one wants to damage or destroy their equipment. But the changing fuel marketplace demands education, as evidenced by retailers, dealers and manufacturers — and now major industry organizations such as ISMA — being more proactive in telling American consumers and business owners to be more mindful when selecting the right fuel for their products.”

According to Ed Klim, president of ISMA, “it is important our customers know their fuel selection is important.”

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) also joined forces with OPEI this summer in spreading the campaign messaging. In addition, major retail outlets including Lowe’s, Walmart and True Value, as well as independent dealers, began using the ‘Look Before You Pump’ message in their stores, customer circulars and catalogs this past year.

OPEI, ISMA and NMMA urge consumers to read their equipment operating manual before filling engines with gasoline to ensure they use the right fuel. For more information, visit and search for #LookB4UPump on Twitter and Facebook.

BACKGROUND: A summer 2013 OPEI/Harris Interactive study shows the vast majority of Americans (71 percent) are “not at all sure” if it is illegal or legal to put high level ethanol gas (i.e. anything greater than 10-percent ethanol) into engines such as those in boats, mowers, chain saws, snowmobiles, generators and other engine products.

Subsequent research in April 2014, through Scripps Howard’s Under One Roof panel survey, shows that slightly more than 72 percent are not aware that new fuels are available for certain automobiles on the market that are illegal for use in outdoor power equipment and all other non-automobile engine equipment. Just over 28 percent of respondents to the survey said they select the same gasoline for their outdoor power equipment as they do for their car or truck. Slightly more than 12 percent said they select fuel by price, while more than 43 percent select fuel as stated in their owner’s manual.


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