Congresswoman Lois Frankel (D-FL-21) and Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA-08), members of the Congressional Boating Caucus, recently reintroduced bipartisan legislation to more clearly define and label E15 ethanol blended gasoline at pumps. The legislation, known as the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act, would better protect consumers from misfuelling with E15 – a major NMMA advocacy priority that the association helped spearhead.
“With the EPA working to authorize year-round sales of E15 ahead of the 2019 summer season, the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act is needed now more than ever,” said NMMA president, Thom Dammrich. “Representative Frankel and Representative Scott have been tireless advocates in the effort to protect countless American consumers and 141 million recreational boaters from the dangers of misfuelling, and we thank them for reintroducing this commonsense legislation. NMMA looks forward to working with both leaders to get this bill across the finish line and encourages all Members of Congress to support this critical measure.”
“As we are presented with more choices at the gas pump, it is imperative that American consumers know exactly what kind of fuel they are putting into their engines,” said Congressman Scott. “Gas pumps today are riddled with confusing labels and fail to adequately warn consumers of the dangers of fueling small engine equipment with E15. For this reason, with the support of Congresswoman Frankel, I introduced the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2018 to ensure that E15 is more clearly labelled and consumers are made better aware of the damages misfueling can cause to their vehicles, power equipment and boats. By making fuel pump labels easier to decipher and coordinating public education programs at multiple levels, this legislation can save consumers time and energy at the pumps and avoid headaches and costs down the road.”
“When families set out for a fun day on America’s waterways, we want them to be safe. Our bipartisan bill helps boaters know what kind of fuel will keep their motors running,” said Rep. Frankel.
The Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2019 would require more detailed labeling of gas pumps that dispense E15 fuel, or fuel with a 15% ethanol, 85% gasoline blend. E15 fuel has been determined to not be suitable for small engines in outdoor equipment and non-road products as E15 can cause corrosion, reduced fuel storage, and less engine lubrication resulting in engines to run hotter. Examples of impacted equipment include items such as lawn mowers, weed eaters, generators, motorcycles, all-terrain vehicle (ATVs), and boats, among others. E15 can also cause issues for vehicles, especially those manufactured before 2001.
As a life-long boater, classic car enthusiast & life long education in fuel production i'd like to provide some feedback to NMMA.
First of all, there are no verified reports of misfuelling. It’s simply a theory that the oil industry likes to use to scare people. We see much talk of the supposed “dangers of misfuelling,” yet there is never any evidence of misfuelling actually occurring.
• Talking about misfuelling is one of the oil industry’s best tools to cast doubt about biofuels in general. E15 is becoming increasingly popular among car owners because it has higher octane than E10 while also being up to $0.10 per gallon cheaper than E10. That’s why drivers have already surpassed 7 billion miles on E15 and counting. The oil industry does not want this trend to continue, so they talk about the myth of misfuelling as a reason to slow the expansion of E15.
• Here are the facts about ethanol:
o Ethanol is a high-octane, cleaner-burning biofuel that enhances engine performance
o Ethanol is blended with gasoline to raise octane to levels that are necessary to operate modern vehicles
o Ethanol displaces toxic chemicals in gasoline that have been linked to cancer, groundwater contamination, and smog
o Ethanol is so successful as an octane booster, that 98 percent of the country’s gasoline supply is E10 (containing 10 percent ethanol)
o E10 is perfectly safe for use in boat engines, and boat engines have been warrantied for E10 for decades.
o The National Boat Racing Association exclusively uses E10 for all its races, and companies like Mercury Marine, Kawasaki, OMC (Johnson/Evinrude), Pleasercraft, Tigershark (Artco), TRACKER, Honda, and Yamaha all approve the use of E10 in their engines.
• It is true that E15 is not currently approved for use in boats, but that is primarily because there hasn’t yet been enough testing on E15 in marine engines. So, just be aware at the pump, and recognize that the idea of widespread misfuelling issues is a myth.
• Meanwhile, the final paragraph of this piece is filled with misinformation:
o While E15 is not currently approved for use in small engines, there are no definitive studies that show it isn’t suitable for use in those applications. In fact, the base gasoline in Brazil is blended with 27% ethanol. The exact same boat motor we buy in America are sold in Brazil with a warranty. Yes, not a single change! This was reported to me by the manufacturers in a meeting with NMMA and its members a few years ago.
o Ethanol is not corrosive; however, many of the other chemicals in gasoline are highly corrosive. Pour pure ethanol (grain alcohol) into a plastic solo cup and leave it there. Nothing will happen. Do the same thing with E0 gasoline containing no ethanol and see what happens – it will cause the cup to deform.
o Ethanol has a high heat of vaporization, which means it helps make engines run cooler, not hotter.
• As a boater myself, I urge people to know the facts about ethanol, and educate themselves on what fuel or fuels meet their price and performance needs whether on the water or on the highway.
Mitch Miller- Michigan Boater