Dear EPA: Please Stop Already

Ok ok, this is my last “Dear XX”-titled post. Just having some fun.

Today comes the story that the EPA is run by a bunch of incompetent buffoons. Already knew that, you say? Well, then this is no surprise:

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved E15 for all cars from the 2001 model year and newer, although most standard cars warn in the owner’s manual that using a blend above 10 percent can void the warranty. The E.P.A. has not approved its use for any motorcycles or all-terrain vehicles. [E15] [is not] intended for use in lawnmowers, leaf blowers or other gasoline-powered nonroad equipment, especially equipment that positions an engine close to the user, where a fire could be catastrophic. To help keep E15 out of these and other engines, service stations offering E15 and E10 from the same pump station must agree to sell a minimum volume of fuel, four gallons, to the customer. But not all motorcycle fill-ups reach four gallons.

(Pardon my editing, as the statement above is a mash up of content from the rather confused NY Times blog post which I’m citing.)

What we have here is a requirement that makes absolutely no sense in the real, concrete, physical world. I own a motorcycle: I can tell you that I have never, not even at the time of purchase, put 4 gallons of fuel into my tank. You see, most motorcycle gas tanks have a capacity of only 4 or 5 gallons gallon tanks. Further, the majority of motorcycles don’t have fuel gauges; that is, you never know how full your tank is, so you stop fairly regularly – usually by tracking miles driven – to fill your tank. Now if I stop at an EPA-diktat gas station and find that I can’t fill my tank because I don’t need 4 gallons, I’m in real trouble.

The thing about this is I can guarantee you with first-hand knowledge of how bureaucracies like the EPA operate that this rule on the use of E15 wasn’t approved without about a gazillion attorneys, policy techs, political appointees and chain-of-command types reviewing the proposal. Is it really conceivable, that amongst all of these people, not a single one of them, not one!, stopped to think that motorcycle fuel tanks are too small for a 4-gallon limit? Not one of these people owns or has ever operated a motorcycle, a moped, a scooter? These people are in charge of fuel standards? Once again, the EPA beclowns itself. The EPA: a vital U.S. agency, with a critical mission, operated by a bunch of yahoos without a lick of common sense.

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