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MRF Updates

Farm Bill Removes Subsidies for Biofuel Blender Pumps

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation reports that the United States House of Representatives has passed a bill that would end a federal subsidy for biofuel blender pumps in rural areas. The measure passed by a vote of 251-166 and costs the U.S. taxpayers $956.4 billion.

The Senate is expected to vote on the matter next week and there is little that those in support of the subsidies can do to reinstate the money. President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law.

Putting an end to these subsides will likely result in less biofuel blender pumps in the market place and therefore less E-15 fuel.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation supports the removal of E-15 from the market until thorough, scientific study is conducted on the effects of the higher blend on the entire power train, not just the tail pipe emissions.

EPA Proposed Ethanol Rule Comment Period

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering altering the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) to lower the amount of ethanol produced in 2014. The proposed drop in ethanol production is a result of the Obama administration acknowledging that the biofuel law, RFS, is not working as well as expected. The proposal would require almost three billion gallons less be sold at market in 2014.

The Motorcycle Riders Foundation (MRF) Vice President of Government Relations and Public Affairs, Jeff Hennie, testified at a hearing held by the EPA on this proposed rule in December 2013.

The higher blends, such as E15, have not been tested on motorcycles, and the extent of the damage is just beginning to be realized by those who have used the blend. Of particular concern to motorcyclists is that many manufactures are voiding warranties in cases where E15 is used in the motorcycle and causing damage.

Demand for the higher blends of ethanol, such as E15, a blend of 15 percent ethanol to 85 percent traditional fuel, has been lower than expected. This shrinking of the marketplace has the EPA rethinking the future of biofuels.

The EPA is requesting comments on the proposal to drop the amount of ethanol produced in the U.S. in 2014. You can add your thoughts to the proposal by visiting and searching for Docket ID No. EPA-HQ-OAR-2013-0479.

The deadline for comments is January 28th, 2014. The MRF encourages you to let the EPA know how you feel about lowering the amount of ethanol to be produced.


Black Box Bill

The United States Senate is addressing privacy concerns surrounding data event recorders in automobiles. Event Data Recorders (EDRs), commonly known as “black boxes” are almost standard equipment in all new cars and trucks. They record everything the vehicle is doing, or not doing at the time of a collision or other on road mishap. The boxes can record everything from speed and vehicle angle, to seat-belt use.

U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-ND) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) have introduced legislation, S.1925, to make the data recorder the sole property of the vehicle owner. Anyone else would need a subpoena to access the data. The data would also be available should the vehicle owner consent to data retrieval or for traffic safety research.

“Technology is advancing at an unprecedented pace and that poses new risks to personal privacy and new concerns for the public,” Hoeven said. “While EDRs can serve a useful function by helping to make cars and streets safer, access to the data should be treated as personal except under very specific circumstances. Our bill makes clear what those circumstances are and helps to ensure that government and other entities respect the Fourth Amendment rights of Americans.”

The Senate legislation is similar to the bill currently being worked on by the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2414. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation supports both pieces of legislation and encourages you to contact your elected officials in the House and Senate and ask them to cosponsor these important bills.

MRF helps New York City Motorcyclists avoid EPA stamp law

In a sweeping piece of legislation addressed by the New York City Council last month, there was a small provision that would have allowed NYC police to issue fines to motorcycles not displaying the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) exhaust stamp.

This stamp is currently required by the EPA on all new motorcycles certifying that the level of sound coming out of the tailpipe meets the Federal limit of 80 decibels according to the Federal Noise Control Act of 1972.

Should the stamp not be easily visible, and most of the time they are not, the NYPD would be able to issue noise violations for a motorcycle that was not even running.

This was not the first time this has been proposed by the NYC Council. A similar provision was put forth a few years back at which time the Motorcycle Riders Foundation was very involved with having the proposal shelved.

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