Beware Bad Boat Fuel

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By BoatUS

Our friends at Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) are back with a warning about fuel that could kill your engine, and tips on how to urge Congress to fix it. 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) waived Clean Air Act provisions that eliminated the three-and-a-half-month blackout period on the sale of E15 (15% ethanol) fuel during summer months, permitting it to be sold year-round.

The decision was made despite opposition from citizens and environmental, conservation, food producer, fuel retailer, taxpayer advocate, and outdoor recreation industry groups.

The ban at the pumps had been in effect from June 1 to September 15 over concerns it contributed to smog on hot days. As a result of EPA’s action, BoatUS is warning boaters to be very cautious at the gas station to ensure they aren’t filling their boats with fuel that’s bad (and illegal) for boat engines.

“This summer, recreational boat owners will need to be vigilant when refueling their trailer boats at the gas station to ensure they don’t accidentally fill up with E15,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Manager David Kennedy. “E15 is often one of the lower-priced fuel options, and that may be appealing even with its lower energy content. The challenge when filling up the boat is that the only misfueling warning you may see is a small orange labelamong the clutter of signage, prices and advertising adorning the pump. It’s very easy to miss.”

Boaters have no love for ethanol in their gas. E15 is prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines, and its use – accidental or not – voids many marine engine warranties. E15 has been proven to damage boat engines and fuel systems. A 2018 BoatUS Summer Fuel Survey reported that if they had their choice of fuel, more than four out of five boat owners (83%) would choose E0 (ethanol-free) fuel – if it was available. The same survey reported about half (49 percent) of respondents were unaware that the use of E15 fuel in marine engines was prohibited under federal law and will void the warranty.

The push to sell it year-round is a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard’s (RFS) mandate to blend biofuels such as corn-ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply. BoatUS is asking recreational boaters for help on the issue by contacting their member of Congress to urge him or her to fix the RFS. The more than half-million-member boat owners group supports fuel choice, including smart biofuels development such as isobutanol, and the availability of ethanol-free (EO) fuels that are increasingly more difficult to find. “The fuel that most boaters want for safe engine operation, E0, is being pushed out of the market,” added Kennedy.

BoatUS is a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition that aims to reform the RFS.

About BoatUS:

Celebrating more than 50 years, BoatUS is the nation’s largest organization of recreational boaters with more than a half-million members. We are the boat owners’ voice on Capitol Hill and fight for their rights. We are The Boat Owners Auto Club and help ensure a roadside trailer breakdown doesn’t end a boating or fishing trip before it begins. When boats break down on the water, TowBoatUS brings them safely back to the launch ramp or dock, 24/7. The BoatUS Marine Insurance Program offers policies that give boat owners affordable, specialized coverage and superior service they need. We help keep boaters safe and our waters clean with assistance from the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water. Visit BoatUS.com.