OPEI issues statement on Growth Energy advertising campaign

The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), an international trade association representing more than 100 small-engine, utility vehicle and outdoor power equipment manufacturers and suppliers, the following statement June 12 in response to the announcement of Growth Energy’s $1-million advertising campaign, promoting the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517), which encourages year-round sales of E15 or gasoline containing 15-percent ethanol:

While Growth Energy and other pro-ethanol lobbying organizations have spent millions of dollars to bring higher ethanol fuel blends to the marketplace, they continue to fail to acknowledge that higher ethanol fuels may damage or destroy many engines, especially non-road engines. The hundreds of millions of boats, motorcycles, snowmobiles, and outdoor power equipment — including mowers, snow throwers, generators, trimmers, UTVs, masonry and concrete saws, water pumps, power trowels, augers, tillers, power washers, chain saws, chippers, grinders etc. in use today — are not designed, built, or warranted to handle gasoline containing greater than 10-percent ethanol. Nor are millions of legacy automobiles. All engine manufacturers adhere to federally mandated and California standards, are emissions regulated, and are designed around a government-mandated certification fuel. What the pro-ethanol groups continuously fail to do is educate the tens of thousands of businesses, tradesmen, construction workers, landscapers, forestry workers, farmers and firemen, as well as everyday homeowners about the appropriate and legal use of newly introduced, mid-level ethanol blends.

Countless sources from the EPA to Consumer Reports have reported these engine products may suffer damage or fail from higher ethanol fuel blends.

“We are disappointed that once again the pro-ethanol groups fail to acknowledge that not all engines are designed to use E15, and frankly are prohibited from doing so by law. The recently announced Growth Energy advertising campaign includes no consumer education on where and when it’s appropriate to use E15, which is in a subset of the automobile fleet and nowhere else. Clearly, this campaign is a sales campaign seeking to sell fuel,” said Kris Kiser, CEO and president of OPEI. “Even the federal government has deemed it illegal to use anything greater than 10-percent ethanol fuel in outdoor power equipment. Their ‘choice act,’ is a false choice. We’re asking our consumers to choose the appropriate fuel for which their products are designed, built, and warranted. Our goal is to protect our customers and ensure our machines operate in a safe and reliable manner.”

In 2013, OPEI launched a consumer protection and education program, Look Before You Pump, which urges consumers to be aware of the ethanol content in fuel at gasoline filling stations and to choose the appropriate fuel for their equipment or vehicle. The program also reminds consumers that it is illegal to use fuels with greater than 10-percent ethanol in outdoor power equipment. Consumers should read their owner’s manual for fueling guidance and direction.

The National Association of Marine Manufacturers, the Equipment Dealers Association, the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance, the National Association of Landscape Professionals, the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, the Equipment & Engine Training Council, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Aftermarket Association are partners in OPEI’s Look Before You Pump program.

For more information, visit www.LookBeforeYouPump.com and search for #LookB4UPump on Twitter and Facebook.