On July 11, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) President Margaret Podlich and Government Affairs Manager David Kennedy delivered over 24,000 comments from recreational boaters to EPA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., to urge the agency to stop adding more ethanol to the nation’s gasoline supply.
BoatUS had asked the boating public to add their voice to a proposal to increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s gasoline supply for 2017. If adopted, these proposed levels will require the use of a record amount of ethanol, forcing higher-level ethanol fuel blends (including E15 or 15 percent ethanol) into gas pumps and at more gas stations.
“A sticker on the pump mixed in with all the other labels may be the only warning for E15 gasoline,” said Podlich.
Most marine engines are built to only work with up to 10 percent ethanol, and it is illegal to use gas containing more than 10 percent ethanol in any marine engine. The national boating advocacy, services and safety group has voiced its concern for the significant potential for misfueling, putting boaters at risk by using fuel that will damage their engines.
For lack of any hard evidence that this small amount of ethanol damages boat engines, I think we are wasting a lot of time and tying up progress. However, public opinion, no matter how missinformed, does count for a lot. A possible solution is for the government to abandon efforts to increase alcohol content above 10% and redirect their attention to promoting the use of the already accepted 85% blend for automobiles. There are few reports of engine damage in cars with E85, and of course everyone has a choice... use it or stick with the insignificant 10%.