Savvy boaters know E15 Ethanol is bad for marine engines and many other small engines, but have been fighting a losing battle against the mandates of the Renewable Fuel Standard, the law that mandates biofuels like ethanol be included in increasing amounts in the U.S. fuel supply, and the efforts of the corn growers and ethanol lobbies.  President Trump is currently evaluating changes to the Renewable Fuels Standard and the National Marine Manufacturers Association has issued a Boating United alert to rally the industry and individuals to take action against the possible sale of E15 year-round.

In an interview with “Trade Only Today” magazine, National Marine Manufacturers Association Legal and Federal Affairs Vice President, Nicole Vasilaros said, “We’re starting to hear from the rumor mill there could be new action on E15 and the Renewable Fuel Standard and are concerned that lots of the negotiation process and the president talking with the corn and oil industries could mean year-round sales of E15.  Last summer we had heard there would be a push for year-round sales of E15 and were able to galvanize our grassroots effort and through a lot of pushback efforts, they backed off because they didn’t have enough votes to push the bill through.”

The word spreading through congress and the marine and small engine industry is that the ethanol industry is lobbying hard to allow for the expanded year-round sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, or E15.

Vasilaros said. “It’s just a rumor and a watch right now but that would be concerning to our industry.  There’s already too much E15 out there, and before we put more out, we need to address current problems, and provide more consumer education.  It’s one of those things that’s behind closed doors and unfortunately, we haven’t been part of the process as have other interested parties.”

The boating industry has always opposed gasoline with more than 10 percent ethanol.  Scores of studies and tests have shown it causes damage to marine engines, as well as other small engines such as lawnmowers.  A coalition of industries affected by E15 issued a statement in late February asking the Trump administration to participate in the negotiation process over RFS reform.  To date, those negotiations have included the corn and oil industries, but excluded others.

NMMA, as part of the National Taxpayers Union, says the discussions should be more inclusive. The coalition, which opposes the RFS in its current form, includes a variety of stakeholders, from the Sierra Club to those representing the marine industry and chain restaurants.

NMMA is urging everyone who works in recreational boating or other affected industries, plus the public who use marine and other small engines that can be adversely affected by ethanol, to take action now and tell President Trump and his administration to protect boaters, off-road enthusiasts and other users of fuels that may include ethanol, including homeowners who mow their own grass, edge their lawn and enjoy other activities that involve using small gasoline engines.

After president Trump met with U.S. Senators representing oil refiners and corn/ethanol producers in late February to discuss options for reforming the RFA and came to no consensus, a group of organizations who felt they were directly affected, but not included, jointly issued the following response:

“For the last 10 years, the current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) has proven time and time again that it has not been working for the American public.  From consumers forced to pay more for their food and shoulder the burden of engine failure, to makers of truly advanced fuels that have been undermined by the ethanol mandate, to the wildlife that have seen their habitats disappear, to the fisheries and drinking water supplies that have been fouled by chemical runoff, to all federal taxpayers who pick up the tab for distorted energy and agricultural markets, these impacts have been pervasive and affected far more facets of society than the two industries represented in today’s White House discussions.

“As we move forward to address this broken policy, we would remind decision-makers that any meaningful reform must include the broad range of stakeholders and American values that have suffered under the RFS.  We urge Congressional leaders to engage in an inclusive process for action on the ethanol mandate,”

The organizations offering this response included the American Sportfishing Association, Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, Mighty Earth, National Council of Chain Restaurants, National Marine Manufacturers Association, National Taxpayers Union, National Wildlife Federation, Sierra Club, Southeast Milk, Inc. and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

A Reuters report said President Trump has called for more talks between representatives of the oil and corn industries after their February meeting failed to yield an agreement about revising the RFS.  The policy, which was intended to help farmers and reduce reliance on foreign countries for fuel, has divided farmers and energy companies — both key Trump supporters and affected manufacturers and consumers of small engines that are particularly ill affected by ethanol, especially blends higher than 10 percent.

A NMMA lobbyist said when the RFS was amended in 2007, it was done with the assumption that fuel consumption would increase, but that didn’t happen.  New standards made vehicles more efficient and fuel consumption actually declined.

A coalition including the NMMA and several boating and fishing industry groups opposes increasing  the level of ethanol blends citing reports by the U.S. Department of Energy showing blends with more than 10 percent of ethanol, E15 and higher, were harmful to marine engines.

President Trump is currently evaluating changes to the RFS, which mandates ethanol in our country’s fuel supply.  The ethanol industry is lobbying hard for the expanded year-round sale of E15.  This would mean more ethanol and fewer choices for boaters at the gas pump.

Boating United (http://boatingunited.com)  is a community of boating businesses, enthusiasts and supporters.  Their website is a place to see the latest news and upcoming regulations that will affect boaters, fishermen and boating.  They have links to more information on ethanol and any possible RFS reform.

Currently there is a link with a basic e-mail letter than can be sent to President Trump and Secretary Pruitt letting them know your concerns with increased ethanol levels in the U.S. fuel supply.  This is available through the Boating United website or by direct link at https://www.votervoice.net/BroadcastLinks/V9SvFJzWk1hZUvVjLvdK6w.

Ethanol is not a good fuel for marine engines and many boaters have already have issues with E10.  Increased levels of E15 have the potential to cause many more problems.  Take a few minutes to check this out and tailor a personal e-mail or send the one provided.

 

 

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Capt. Jerry Dilsaver has been fishing since he was a child and writing about fishing, hunting and the outdoors since 1986. He is from Southport-Oak Island, N.C. and continues to live there in semi-retirement. His writing features this area prominently, but he has fished and written about the East Coast from Virginia to Florida, the Gulf Coast, California, Alaska and several of the Great Lakes in the U.S., plus several countries in Central America and several Caribbean Islands. He has been on staff at Carolina Adventure, North Carolina Sportsman and South Carolina Sportsman Magazines and his byline has appeared in several other magazines and newspapers.

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