Most boaters fill their boats’ fuel tanks at roadside gas stations, where the
chances of misfueling with E15 fuel may be increasing as more 15-percent
ethanol fuel enters the marketplace.
Recreational Boaters’ Challenges with Ethanol Fuels
love for the corn-ethanol mandate: 83 percent would choose E0 if available
A survey of
recreational boaters’ experience with refueling their vessels this past summer
shows little love for corn-ethanol fuel blends mandated by the federal
government’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
The survey was
completed by Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the national advocacy, services and
safety group for recreational boaters, to gauge boaters’ use of ethanol-free
and ethanol-fuel blends during the peak 2018 boating season. The results
identify potential misfueling issues and allow recreational boaters to be heard
as RFS policy is being debated on Capitol Hill. Only fuels containing up to
10-percent ethanol (E10) are permitted for use in recreational boats, and
anything greater has been shown to damage marine engines and will void
Summer Fueling Survey identified
boaters’ fuel of choice: About half (49 percent) of respondents
said they filled up their boats with E0 (ethanol-free) fuel this summer.
However, if they had their choice of fuel, more than four in five (83
percent) would choose E0 (ethanol-free) fuel – if it was available.
Forty-one percent reported the availability of E0 has stayed about the
same over the last three years. However, by a margin of more than two to
one (31 percent to 14 percent), some respondents said the availability of
E0 was becoming more difficult to locate over the last three years.
refueling locations: The survey reported that boaters refuel
their boats at a combination of locations both off and on the water.
Fifty-three percent of respondents said they refuel their boat at roadside
gas stations, followed by on-water fuel docks (50 percent) and filling gas
cans or portable gas tanks at roadside gas stations (32 percent).
issues: BoatUS has concerns over potential consumer misfueling as E15 (15 percent
ethanol) pump-labeling requirements are minimal with just a small orange
warning label on roadside gas station pumps. About half (49 percent) of
survey respondents reported being unaware that the use of E15 gasoline in
marine engines was prohibited under federal law and will void the engine
warranty. More than 4 in 5 survey respondents (84 percent) could not
correctly identify the color of the small misfueling warning label
required on gas station dispenser pumps that sell E15. Both may be
indications that current pump labels are not effective and misfueling
repairs: About one in three of those surveyed (36 percent) reported having been
advised that repairs to their boats’ engines and/or fuel systems were
required as a result of ethanol fuel.
When it was
passed in 2005, RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to
grow. Since then, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecast, which
today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas. To keep up with the RFS
mandate and avoid hitting a “blend wall” in which the volume of ethanol
production would exceed consumption and infrastructure constraints, in 2010 the
EPA granted a waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace.
information, go to Advocacy.BoatUS.com.
BoatUS is a member of SmarterFuelFuture.
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