ALEXANDRIA, Va.,– 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, issues the following statement in response to the announcement of Growth Energy's million dollar advertising campaign, promoting the Consumer and Fuel Retailer Choice Act (S. 517), which encourages year-round sales of E15 or gasoline containing 15% 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, chainsaws, chippers, grinders etc. in use today are not designed, built or warranted to handle gasoline containing greater than 10% 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," says Kris Kiser, CEO and President of OPEI. "Even the federal government has deemed it illegal to use anything greater than 10% 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."

OPEI launched a consumer protection and education program, Look Before You Pump, in 2013 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% 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 Assn., the National Hispanic Landscape Alliance, the National Assn. of Landscape Professionals, the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Assn., the Equipment & Engine Training Council, and the Outdoor Power Equipment Aftermarket Assn. are partners in OPEI's Look Before You Pump program.

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