By Michael Bastasch
With prices at the pump worrying Americans, Republicans have railed against the Environmental Protection Agency's new gas mandate that requires consumers to buy at least four gallons when purchasing from stations with hoses containing 10 percent and 15 percent ethanol-blended fuel.
On Monday, Republicans on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology sent a letter to Environmental Protection Agency Chief Administrator Lisa Jackson criticizing the agency's approval of the sale of gasoline containing 15 volume percent ethanol.
Specifically, the EPA will require that consumers purchase a minimum of four gallons when buying from a gas station that sells gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol and 15 percent ethanol -- also known as "E15″ -- out of the same gas pump.
Gas stations may also have a dedicated hose for selling E15.
"The EPA has no business telling Americans how much fuel they must purchase," the letter from Republican committee members Jim Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin and Chip Cravaack of Minnesota.
"Furthermore, EPA's first-ever fuel purchase requirement appears to have been made outside the normal rulemaking process, seems antithetical to free markets, and highlights the flaws in the agency's hasty decision to grant partial waivers for E15 prior to comprehensive scientific evaluation and assessment," the congressmen continue.
The concern comes over a letter between the EPA and the American Motorcyclist Association regarding E15 waiver implementation.
In the letter, the EPA said that "in the case of E15 and E10 being dispensed from the same hose" the agency would require people to purchase "at least four gallons of fuel" in order to prevent vehicles with smaller fuel tanks from being exposed to fuel blends greater than 10 volume percent ethanol.
"What if a rider doesn't have a motorcycle with a four gallon tank?" Sensenbrenner asked in a statement. "Or if someone wants to fill a canister for their lawnmower or outboard boat engine, but it only holds 2 or 3 gallons? Or what if an American, struggling in this economy, just can't afford 4 gallons of gas?"
"This is just one more example of how problematic the EPA's E15 partial waiver is," he continued. "This is not a solution to misfueling risks- it's a ridiculous and unworkable mandate."
The EPA told the Daily Caller News Foundation they will review the letter and would respond accordingly.
Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA must grant waivers to approve new fuel blends. After requests from 54 ethanol manufacturers, the EPA decided to authorize waivers for fuels blends of up to 15 percent ethanol, according to the EPA.
The EPA granted the first of two partial waivers for allowing E15 blended fuel in model year 2007 and newer vehicles in October 2010.
In January 2011, the EPA granted the second partial waiver for E15 for use in model year 2001-06 vehicles.
Then this June, the EPA gave the final approval for such blends to be sold in the U.S. for cars and light trucks built after 2000.
Automakers have heavily criticized the decision to introduce E15 fuel into the automobiles.
"Ford does not support the introduction of E15 into the marketplace for the legacy fleet. Fuel not approved in the owner's manual is considered misfueling and any damage resulting from misfueling is not covered by the warranty," the Ford Motor Company said last year.
It has been reported that the American Petroleum Institute estimates that more than five million vehicles on the road could be harmed by E15 fuel.