E15 gasoline is illegal for use in boats, many other vehicles, and power equipment. Can you spot any effective warning label indicating the increased 15% ethanol content in the “regular 88” fuel? National Marine Manufacturers Association Download hi-res photo
This little orange E15 warning label on a gas pump could be all that separates boaters from misfueling their boat, says BoatUS. However, it might not be that easy to see on the gas pump. Download hi-res photo
SPRINGFIELD, Va., July 14, 2020 – With summer boating season in full swing, it’s now common to see recreational boats being filled up at gas stations across the country. However, making sure the right fuel gets in the boat’s tank isn’t always assured: 54% of consumers in a recent Harris Poll believed that the small orange E15 fuel warning label on a gas station pump isn’t good enough to protect consumers. Poll respondents believe the label, about the size of a pack of gum, needs to be larger, clearer and mandatory on all gas station fuel-dispensing pumps. E15 (fuel containing 15% ethanol) is prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines and voids many marine engine warranties.
“It’s clear that the Environmental Protection Agency has not done enough to protect boat owners and a range of consumers,” said Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “Some fuels are being marketed and sold to consumers as low-cost alternatives but without having the necessary clear warnings on the pump that highlight increased ethanol content. ‘Regular 88’ fuel, typically the cheapest choice at the pump, contains 15% ethanol (E15), enough to harm a vessel’s motor and void the engine manufacturer’s warranty. Only 22% of consumers in the Harris Poll correctly identified the fuel as E15.”
“We are cautioning our members this summer that they may find badly labeled fuel choices at the pump and inadequate education around ethanol-blended fuels that were never intended for recreational vessels,” Kennedy added. Boaters have no love for ethanol in their gas due to the proven damage it causes to boat engines and fuel systems.
BoatUS, along with additional stakeholders, is asking why, after consistent urging, EPA has not done a better job warning boaters, those with gasoline-powered equipment, and vehicle owners not warrantied for fuels above E10 to stay away from this new generation of higher ethanol fuels intended to increase America’s consumption of government-subsidized corn-based ethanol.
In comments filed June 29 by BoatUS and its partners on EPA’s proposed Fuels Regulatory Streamlining rulemaking provisions on mitigating misfueling with 10.5% to 15% ethanol (E15) fuels, the group of consumer and industry associations said, “As EPA has worked to broaden the availability of E15 in the U.S., including most recently in last year’s repeal of seasonal restrictions on the sale of higher-blend ethanol fuels, our organizations have consistently urged EPA to implement a more effective Misfueling Mitigation Program. … The misfueling of marine engines and vessels, off-road vehicles, motorcycles, and outdoor power equipment places significant burdens on both the American consumer and product manufacturers. Risks outlined for consumers include potential product damage and/or compromised performance, economic loss and potentially unsafe products.”
The partners urge public education efforts; improvement to the ethanol content warning label type, size and pump location; evaluating the adoption of different fuel pump nozzle sizes; ceasing misleading marketing of ethanol fuels; evaluating the use of physical barriers and keypad systems; and offering a dedicated pump for E0 (0% ethanol) fuel.
Suggested Tweet and Facebook post:
EPA isn’t making it any easier for boaters to choose the right fuel for their boats this summer. Don’t make a mistake that could leave you stranded on the water or void your engine warranty. https://bit.ly/3h00nXn @BoatUS, #BoatUSonWatch, #RFSbroken
About Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS):
Celebrating more than 50 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We are The Boat Owners Auto Club and help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. When boats break down on the water, TowBoatUS brings them safely back to the launch ramp or dock, 24/7. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program offers policies that give boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.