E15 and Boaters: Still at Risk of Being Left High and Not So Dry
Posted September 18, 2018
For some time we’ve worked to spread the word about the potential risks to U.S. consumers posed by E15 fuel, which contains 50 percent more ethanol than E10 fuel that’s standard across the country. Now, with the administration thinking about facilitating E15 sales year-round, it’s a good time to revisit some of the specific ways E15 can negatively impact consumers. Such as boat owners.
Three years ago in this post, we pointed out that E15 can damage marine engines. Some of the specifics cited then involved the unique needs of marine engines and the fact that you don’t want to have a fuel-associated engine malfunction in the middle of a lake.
The post also quoted a thermodynamic development engineer, who said the additional oxygen in E15 (vs. E10) means it burns hotter, and that higher temperatures can affect the strength of the engine’s components – which you don’t want to discover far from shore, as our cartoon depicted:
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) calls year-round E15 sales “unfortunate” and warns it could put 142 million boaters at risk. NMMA points out the risk to boaters from misfuelling with E15. John McKnight, NMMA senior vice president of environmental health and safety:
“Boat engines and fuel systems cannot process E15 safely. However, according to a Harris Poll commissioned by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, only 20 percent of consumers notice ethanol content at a gas pump. Because 95 percent of boats are towable, most recreational boat owners are at risk of misfuelling at their local gas station.”
“There’s a reason that previous proposals to expand the sale of E15 have failed – it’s simply bad policy.”
Again, expanding the presence of E15 into the national fuel supply, putting consumers at risk, is the byproduct of an outdated policy that should be repealed or significantly overhauled. Beyond marine engines, studies have shown E15 can damage vehicle engines and fuel systems – potentially leaving consumers on the hook for expensive repair bills. It’s well past time to address the broken RFS.
About The Author
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.