No confusion in industry’s response to E15 ruling

The National Marine Manufacturers Association distributed a release yesterday in response to a decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to grant limited approval for the sale of gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol for model year 2007 and newer motor vehicles.  NMMA said the decision specifically excludes marine engines and other non-road engines such as snowmobiles, lawn and garden equipment, as well as other gasoline-powered small engines and does not allow E15 for marine engines of any age. There is no waiver for marine engines older than model year 2000.

Later this year, EPA will decide whether or not to allow E15 for automobiles in model year 2001 through 2006. This is for on-road engines only – marine engines are not being considered, NMMA said.

As confusing as all that sounds, the confusion that could reign at the fuel dock has NMMA concerned.

“We are extremely disappointed that EPA is allowing this fuel to enter the market without the appropriate scientific data or consumer and environmental safeguards,” NMMA President Thom Dammrich said in the statement. “This decision not only adversely impacts marine manufacturers, but creates a significant risk of misfueling for the nation’s 66 million boaters who will be left ‘holding the bag’ for performance issues and expensive repairs. We are astonished that EPA has decided to move forward with a fuel that will increase air pollution and damage hundreds of millions of existing products.”

NMMA is also concerned that EPA will not act to ensure compatible fuels remain available for the millions of boat owners and gasoline-powered equipment.

For its part, the Marine Manufacturers Association of America released a statement this afternoon and voiced its own reservations about the decision.

“With this new ruling the EPA sounds a lot like what the government did with the colored diesel fuel mess we had twenty years ago,” said Ed Lofgren, MRAA chairman.

What is your reaction to the government’s ruling?

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  1. Jay –

    Thanks for this article. Just to clarify, E15 remains prohibited for ALL marine engines and boats, as E15 is an incompatible and inferior fuel. The waiver issued by EPA currently applies only to 2007 and newer light-duty autos. However, this partial approach, which bifurcates the US fuel supply, will inevitably create widescale consumer confusion and misfueling. NMMA is strongly opposed to this EPA action even though it excludes marine equipment. We encourage all boaters and marine industry colleagues to amplify the volume of their concern to EPA over the coming months, and NMMA will pursue all available options to rollback this ill-advised decision.

    Mat Dunn
    Legislative Director, NMMA

  2. Jon,

    The sure fire way to increase the popularity of today’s only poor choice is to start the mandate on an even less desirable substitution.

    Fuels are going to continue to evolve, as an industry we need to continue to evolve too.

    Maybe, just maybe, one of the manufacturers will get out in front of this issue and make sure their product lines are capable of performing properly on the most extreme ethanol enhanced fuels. The one who does will position itself to be the leader in the not so far off future.

    If anyone out there thinks the federal government is going to look out for our (Marine Industry) best interests, hop on when the real world rolls around.

    Rob Brown
    Clark Marine

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