Article By MBIA Executive Director, Nicki Polan
After coming out of this great recession, it is likely we all look for ways to save money where we can as we go through life. But important for boaters to know, even though it may cost less, E15 gasoline is not an option for boaters.
The current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires more and more ethanol be blended into the U.S. gasoline supply despite the fuel’s harmful effects on engines, including those of boats, but also those in automobiles, motorcycles and small equipment like chainsaws and lawnmowers.
Currently higher ethanol blends such as E15 (fuel containing 15 percent ethanol by volume) are being forced into the marketplace with little to no effort to alert consumers of the detrimental impact to boat engines. And quite literally, the RFS could leave boaters stranded at sea, as the requirement for more ethanol blended fuel is making marine acceptable fuel harder and harder to find.
The U.S. Coast Guard has raised concerns about ethanol use in marine engines after testing completed by the Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory confirmed that fuel blends containing more than 10 percent ethanol irreparably damage critical engine components due to raised temperatures.
As boaters, we need to know this. But also concerning is labelling at the pump, which is less than adequate. Subsequently, there is a tremendous opportunity for miss-fueling by the 85% of Michigan boaters who fuel at local gas stations. In most cases, miss-fueling will void your engine warranty, so be sure to share this information with your fellow boaters, and new boaters, as more than 95 percent of consumers have never even heard of E15 according to recent polling by AAA.
The boating industry is a key part of the Michigan economy— recreational boating alone contributes more than $7.43 billion annually to the state economy and supports more than 58,800 jobs across the Great Lakes state. These jobs and economic impact are at risk if owners can’t confidently fuel their boats without worry about harming their engine because of higher ethanol blends. Not to mention that numerous other industries whose goods and services supply the boating industry would be put in jeopardy without serious reform to the RFS and wider testing of E15.
In May, the Michigan Boating Industries Association traveled to Washington D.C. to the American Boating Congress to talk about E15, among other boating issues, and asked our Michigan Congressional leaders to repeal the Renewable Fuel Standards so we can be sure marine grade fuel remains available for Michigan’s boaters. You should contact your Congressional Leader as well. You can find them at https://www.govtrack.us/congress/members/MI.
Find out more about what the industry is doing to help stop the etahnol mandate: http://www.nmma.org/government/issues/ethanol