Representative Jim Sensenbrenner (R., Wis.) has a post on the Hill’s Congress Blog highlighting a bizarre new regulation from the EPA requiring some gas stations to sell at least four gallons of gasoline at a time. It affects those that pump both E10 and E15 (gas with 10 percent or 15 percent ethanol) through the same hose. Since E15 is pretty terrible for small engines and old cars (Sensenbrenner says it’s “like metal in a microwave for a small engine”), the theory is that when customers whose engines cannot handle it are buying gas, the four-gallon minimum would dilute any residual E15 enough to keep it from damaging small engines. That all presents a few problems, since some motorcycles don’t even hold four gallons and some people only want to fill up one- or two-gallon fuel cans for boats, lawn mowers, etc.
It’s a historic moment for the EPA, though, as they’ve never actually forced people to buy anything before. “The EPA’s first-ever mandated purchase requirement appears to have been conceived outside the normal regulatory process,” Sensenbrenner wrote, “making this unprecedented government overreach even more offensive.” He added that the White House pushed E15 into the marketplace, despite the serious problems it can cause for drivers of old cars and motorcycles. It’s just another great example of how ugly things get when unelected bureaucrats involve themselves in the most minute decisions of individuals, like how much gas they want to buy and whether or not they want to have corn in it. Thanks, Obama!