Poll finds consumers believe current E15 label is ineffective in protecting consumers

WASHINGTON—The results of a new national poll initiated by a group of organizations representing manufacturers, retailers, and consumers of non-road engine equipment and products reveals the vast majority of consumers find current E15 labeling at gas pumps to be ineffective in communicating the dangers of this type of fuel for usage in small engines like those in boats, off road vehicles, motorcycles, and lawn mowers.

Led by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the American Motorcyclist Association (AMA), and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), the survey, conducted by Survey Monkey during the week of Nov. 2, polled a nationally representative pool of 515 users aged 20 to 65 on their awareness of E15, a type of gasoline blended with 10.5-15% ethanol.

Key findings included a mere 18.25% of consumers think the current E15 label used at gas pumps across the country is very effective in showing that E15 is hazardous to certain types of engines and consumers were more than four times as likely to prefer a prototype design with direct language and visual representations of the fuel’s risk, saying the improved label elements of the prototype more clearly serve as a warning than the current label.

As the EPA looks toward new labeling regulations, industry and consumer organization partners have called on the Federal government to factor in these considerations and solicit expert advice and consumer label research to better protect and inform consumers.

NMMA and its partners developed a prototype label incorporating elements that consumers rated as most effective, including visual reinforcement, coloring, and clear, unambiguous language. The poll found 91.26% of respondents thought the prototype was either somewhat effective or very effective in showing that the fuel is hazardous to certain types of engines, compared to just 55.34% for the current label.

“If there’s one thing apparent from the latest findings, it’s that we should be doing more to educate and warn consumers about the potential hazards of E15—not obscuring this information and increasing the likelihood that people will unknowingly incur costly damages,” said Nicole Vasilaros, Senior Vice President of Government and Legal Affairs at NMMA, in a released statement.

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