House bill aims at reforming Renewable Fuel Standard, ethanol rules

A bipartisan group of lawmakers are making another attempt to reform the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., introduced the RFS Reform Act of 2015 today. The bill would eliminate requirements for corn-based ethanol blending and cap blending levels for other biofuels. It is a modified version of a bill Goodlatte introduced in the previous Congress.

Several industry associations are urging their members to support the bill due to concerns about the damage 15-percent ethanol blends (commonly known as E15) can cause to marine engines.

"The RFS Reform Act acknowledges the reality of America’s declining fuel consumption, allows for the investment in other more compatible biofuels, and erases the twisted math that forces more ethanol onto a marketplace that neither demands it, nor can physically absorb it at safe levels,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Program Manager Nicole Palya Wood.

While it is illegal to use E15 in a marine engine, there are significant concerns about misfueling at roadside gas stations where E15 (which is legal for automobiles built after 1999) can be sold alongside lower ethanol blends.

The ethanol issue is one of the key ones the industry hopes to see progress on this year, Nicole Vasilaros, director of regulatory and legal affairs at the National Marine Manufacturers Association, said in a recent interview with Boating Industry.

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