Federal Boating News
April 17, 2013
Congress Taking a Closer Look at Ethanol
Congress is looking at the nation’s use of ethanol in our fuel and BoatU.S. Government Affairs is keeping a close watch. Several bills have been introduced that could change the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and limit the amount of ethanol in our gas. The RFS was instituted in 2005 as a way to reduce our dependence on foreign fuels by requiring a percentage of gasoline be made up of a renewable fuel such as ethanol. Recent droughts and a lack of viable renewable fuel feedstock other than corn-based ethanol has moved Congress to reconsider this policy.
BoatU.S. recently sent a letter of support for H.R. 875, sponsored by Representative Jim Sensenbrenner. This measure requires the EPA to contract with the National Academy of Sciences to provide a comprehensive assessment of the scientific and technical research on the implications of the use of mid-level ethanol blends compared to E-10 or E free. Until this study is concluded, all current EPA RFS waivers (such as those that allow the use of ethanol blends) are null and void. The bill also defines what engines the study must look at including marine engines and what effect mid-level blends would have on pipes, hoses, and storage tanks.
BoatU.S. has long recognized that renewable fuels are part of America’s energy mix. However, while many boaters have learned to live with the use of E-10 or gasoline that contains 10% percent ethanol, higher levels of ethanol raise some serious concerns. In 2010, E-15 was approved by the EPA and is starting to appear in the marketplace. Unfortunately, there no marine engines designed to run on this fuel, and its use in many cars will void the manufacturer warranty.
Whether you believe that ethanol is the fuel of the future or your boat’s worst nightmare, stay tuned to BoatU.S. Government Affairs at www.boatus.com/gov as we follow this important issue.
April 17, 2012
Legislation to provide liability protection for E15 considered by the U.S. House of Representatives
H.R. 4345, the Domestic Fuels Protection Act of 2012, would provide liability protection for retailers, distributors and other members of the fuel supply chain for damage cause by gasoline containing up to 15% ethanol (E15). BoatU.S. has expressed our opposition to this bill. Click here to see a copy of our letter to Congressman Fred Upton, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
March 23, 2011
BoatU.S. joins in petition to EPA to ensure the availability of E10
Joining with other marine and non-road engine groups, BoatU.S. has petition the EPA to ensure the continued availability of E10 in the marketplace.
June 28, 2011
EPA Issues Final Rule for Label E15 Fuel Pumps
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued its final rule regarding measures that must be taken to prevent the mis-fueling of boats, cars older than model year 2001 and other non-road engines with gasoline containing greater than 10% ethanol. All fuel pumps dispensing E15 will be required to display the following label:
Several federal and state regulatory steps must still be completed before boaters will see E15 at the fuel pump. To see the EPA notice click here.
October 15, 2010
EPA Issues Decision on E15
The Environmental Protection Agency has issued a decision to allow the use of E15, gasoline containing up to 15% ethanol, in model year 2007 and newer automobiles. This is one step in the process of allowing more ethanol in the nation's fuel supply.
It is also expected that a decision on the use of E15 in model years 2001 to 2006 automobiles will be issued in November. No decision was made on the use of E15 in other engines, including boat engines.
For additional information from EPA:
EPA Fuels and Fuel Additives Web Page
October 1 , 2010
BoatUS Members Make Their Voices Heard
In response to a call to action by BoatU.S. over 15,000 boaters have sent messages to President Obama about allowing higher levels of ethanol in the nation's gasoline supply. It is expect that the EPA will issue a response to a petition by Growth Energy in the next few days.
September 27, 2010
More Ethanol Before Testing? Boaters Are Asked to Help NOW!
Last year, Growth Energy, a coalition of ethanol companies, asked the federal EPA to allow an increase in ethanol in our country's gasoline. Currently, the maximum allowed is 10% ethanol (E10); their request was up to 15% ethanol (E15). Tens of thousands of public comments were sent to EPA, with an estimated 35,000 comments from boaters and the marine industry. The predominant sentiment: the government needs to understand what higher blends will do to existing engines before they accept this new fuel blend.
All summer, we've anticipated the EPA's decision on this topic, which could be made literally any day now. As of today, the EPA is expected to approve a partial waiver, that is to allow gasoline with 50% more ethanol (E15) for some vehicles (perhaps 2007 and newer), and to continue to have E10 for every other gasoline engine.
It remains to be seen how exactly a dual-fuel scenario would look at your local gas dock, or gas station. If there are two blends of ethanol available, along with multiple octane to chose from, consumers are set up with more decisions to make, and there is a much larger possibility of mis-fueling. Would all users be able to find what fuel they are looking for at their local pump? One possibility is that E10 is only blended into 93 octane "premium" fuel. Not only would this push boaters to buy a more expensive fuel than usual, but some boat engines manufacturers advise against the higher octane fuels.
BoatU.S. appreciates and embraces the need to diversify our country's fuel and energy sources. However, we are concerned that EPA may put "the cart before the horse" by granting increased ethanol before we know what it will do in our marine engines.
If you believe in "science first," now is the time to urge President Obama to require the federal EPA to understand the effects of higher blends of ethanol before allowing it in our country's gasoline supply. Members can go to Follow The Science to send a message directly to the White House.
July 26, 2010
Science First When Deciding on More Ethanol in Fuel
BoatU.S. joins broad industry coalition calling for science first when deciding on more ethanol in fuel
BoatU.S. joined 35 other organizations in sending a message to Majority Leader Harry Reid regarding efforts to force EPA to allow higher levels of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply. For a copy of the letter please go to the following link:
Joint E15 Letter
May 28, 2010
What's Going on with Ethanol?
About 75% of the gasoline available in the US now contains ethanol, at up to 10% concentration. Last year, Growth Energy, a group of ethanol manufacturers, formally asked EPA to consider allowing up to 15% ethanol in our country's fuel stream. In the Renewable Fuels Act of 2007, the ethanol industry was mandated by law to produce more ethanol, and now the manufacturers say they are facing a "blend wall" where they can not sell all that they are required to produce.
EPA opened an official comment period on Growth Energy's request on April 16th, 2009, and received tens of thousands of comments. Many of these comments were from boaters and the marine industry, asking for EPA to understand what effect increased ethanol will have on marine engines, before allowing a different fuel. There is a wide array of organizations concerned about more ethanol in fuel, including BoatU.S., much of the marine industry, outdoor power equipment users, food growers and some car manufacturers.
For more information visit http://www.boatus.com/pressroom/release.asp?id=496
EPA has said that they expect to make a determination on the higher blend of fuel by late summer.
In Congress, S. 1666, The Mid Level Ethanol Blends Act, introduced by Senator Susan Collins from Maine, calls for EPA to report to Congress on the impact of the introduction of higher levels of ethanol in the nation's fuel supply. This bill now carries 6 additional cosponsors, including Senator Richard Burr (NC), Senator Ben Cardin (MD), Senator Mary Landrieu (LA), Senator David Vitter (LA), Senator Jim Webb (VA), and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (RI). We encourage anyone concerned about getting the facts before more ethanol is allowed in our fuel to ask your Senator to sign on to this bill. Go to:
Select your state to determine your senators.
Your message should include the following:
- The current 10-percent ethanol blend known as E-10 has caused significant problems for marine engines and boat fuel systems, in some cases necessitating expensive replacement of in-hull fiberglass fuel tanks.
- EPA should not approve E-15 before doing a through study of its impact on marine and other non-road engines.
- No boat in use or on the market today has been designed — or is warranted — to run fuel with greater than 10-percent ethanol.
April 14, 2010
Boaters Should Ask Their Senators to Support S. 1666
Boaters should ask their Senators to sponsor S. 1666, legislation to require the Administrator of the EPA to satisfy certain conditions before allowing higher levels of ethanol in the fuel supply.
Ask your two Senators to sponsor S. 1666, legislation introduced by Senator Collins of Maine, that would require EPA to perform testing and report on the impact of mid-level ethanol blends on non-road engines which includes boat motors. A copy of this legislation can be found here. You can find contact information for your Senators at the following web link:
Contact your Senator
You could also request your member of the House of Represenative sponsor similar legislation. To find out who is your Representative go to the following web link:
Contact your Representative
December 9, 2009
The Ethanol Debate - Part 2
Margaret Podlich of BoatUS Argues Against E15
As the EPA considers whether to raise the limit for ethanol in blended gasoline to 15 percent, Margaret Podlich, Vice President of Governmental Affairs for BoatUS, argues that more testing is needed first.
Recorded: Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Running Time: 30 minutes
December 3, 2009
EPA Delays Decision on More Ethanol in Gas
The Environmental Protection Agency has delayed a decision on a petition from the ethanol industry to allow a greater amount of ethanol to be mixed with gasoline. A BoatU.S. statement about this decision can be found here: EPA Delays Decision on Ethanol Press Release
Click here to read the EPA notice.
November 2, 2009
Ethanol Legislation Could Protect Your Engine
A bill now in Congress, S. 1666, could help ensure that all ethanol-blended gasoline sold is compatible with boat engines currently in use as well all other types of gasoline engines.
S.1666, the "Mid-Level Ethanol Blends Act of 2009" requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to study the compatibility of blended fuels with current engines and fuel systems before it could allow ethanol concentrations higher than 10-percent.
The current, 10-percent ethanol blend known as E-10 has caused significant problems for marine engines and boat fuel systems, in some cases necessitating expensive replacement of in-hull fiberglass fuel tanks. No boat in use or on the market today has been designed — or is warranted — to run fuel with greater than 10-percent ethanol.
S. 1666 is supported by BoatU.S. and a diverse coalition of organizations, including environmental groups, engine manufacturers, food groups, consumer groups, and refiners. To ask your Senators to cosponsor S. 1666, go to this link.
For more information on the ethanol problem, see National Marine Manufactures Association information web site at this link.
May 18, 2009
Comment Period Ended
Comment Period Extended to July 20 - EPA has extended the comment period for E15 to July 20. Please take the time now to email EPA, if you haven’t already, asking them to test E15 before allowing it for use.
Click Here To read Ethanol Industry's 15% Solution Raises Concern from May 8, 2009
Click Here To read Laboratory Will Not Certify Pumps for Gas With 15% Ethanol from May 8, 2009
Click Here To read EPA Considers Higher Ethanol Mix from April 17, 2009
Click Here To read A Slugfest Over Higher Ethanol Blends from March 6, 2009
Click here to view the March 26th, 2009 Coalition letter to EPA from BoatUS and others!
Click here to view BoatUS Press Release: Boaters Urged to Speak Up on Ethanol Increase Before July 20 Deadline
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