Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius FBW Comprehensive 728x90

This summer, EPA isn't making it any easier for boaters to choose the right fuel for their boats

by Scott Croft 15 Jul 15:16 UTC

With summer boating season in full swing, it's now common to see recreational boats being filled up at gas stations across the country. However, making sure the right fuel gets in the boat's tank isn't always assured: 54% of consumers in a recent Harris Poll believed that the small orange E15 fuel warning label on a gas station pump isn't good enough to protect consumers. Poll respondents believe the label, about the size of a pack of gum, needs to be larger, clearer and mandatory on all gas station fuel-dispensing pumps. E15 (fuel containing 15% ethanol) is prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines and voids many marine engine warranties.

"It's clear that the Environmental Protection Agency has not done enough to protect boat owners and a range of consumers," said Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. "Some fuels are being marketed and sold to consumers as low-cost alternatives but without having the necessary clear warnings on the pump that highlight increased ethanol content. 'Regular 88' fuel, typically the cheapest choice at the pump, contains 15% ethanol (E15), enough to harm a vessel's motor and void the engine manufacturer's warranty. Only 22% of consumers in the Harris Poll correctly identified the fuel as E15."

"We are cautioning our members this summer that they may find badly labeled fuel choices at the pump and inadequate education around ethanol-blended fuels that were never intended for recreational vessels," Kennedy added. Boaters have no love for ethanol in their gas due to the proven damage it causes to boat engines and fuel systems.

BoatUS, along with additional stakeholders, is asking why, after consistent urging, EPA has not done a better job warning boaters, those with gasoline-powered equipment, and vehicle owners not warrantied for fuels above E10 to stay away from this new generation of higher ethanol fuels intended to increase America's consumption of government-subsidized corn-based ethanol.

In comments filed June 29 by BoatUS and its partners on EPA's proposed Fuels Regulatory Streamlining rulemaking provisions on mitigating misfueling with 10.5% to 15% ethanol (E15) fuels, the group of consumer and industry associations said, "As EPA has worked to broaden the availability of E15 in the U.S., including most recently in last year's repeal of seasonal restrictions on the sale of higher-blend ethanol fuels, our organizations have consistently urged EPA to implement a more effective Misfueling Mitigation Program.... The misfueling of marine engines and vessels, off-road vehicles, motorcycles, and outdoor power equipment places significant burdens on both the American consumer and product manufacturers. Risks outlined for consumers include potential product damage and/or compromised performance, economic loss and potentially unsafe products."

The partners urge public education efforts; improvement to the ethanol content warning label type, size and pump location; evaluating the adoption of different fuel pump nozzle sizes; ceasing misleading marketing of ethanol fuels; evaluating the use of physical barriers and keypad systems; and offering a dedicated pump for E0 (0% ethanol) fuel.

Related Articles

Alameda County Boaters: expired marine flares
Collection event helps address disposal challenge Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is urging Alameda County residents who own boats as well as those who keep their boats in the county to take advantage of a Marine Flare Collection Event to be held Sunday, Oct. 18. Posted on 2 Oct
Five ways to keep your boat safe in winter storage
Will your boat be on a crook's hit list? Pretty soon, millions of recreational boats will be put into winter storage to await next year's season. As they sit unattended for months, they can easily become a target for thieves. Will your boat be on a crook's hit list? Posted on 23 Sep
The best boat winterizing checklist
And everything else you ever wanted to know about putting away a recreational boat for the season Boaters in much of the U.S. and Canada acknowledge the need to winterize their boat's engines each autumn. But what else can go wrong? Posted on 17 Sep
Enter to win $15,000
BoatUS Foundation and Berkley Recast & Recycle contest Have you ever wondered how old, discarded fishing line is recycled and reused? You may be surprised to learn that turning fishing line into new products is labor intensive, requiring a series of workers to comb through Posted on 25 Aug
Gulf boaters prepare for Marco and Laura
Tropical Storm Marco, expected to run along the Louisiana coast tomorrow A one-two punch with two tropical storms bearing down on the Gulf Coast this week is getting the attention of recreational boaters, leading some to wisely haul out their vessels to a safe location and make storm preparations. Posted on 25 Aug
Buying a boat?
Here's what they don't have to tell you Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) has helped hundreds of thousands of boat owners make good boat-buying decisions. Posted on 24 Jun
A new boating safety concern this July 4
With COVID-19 it certainly won't be the same Celebrating America's birthday, thousands of boaters are expected to hit the water this Fourth of July holiday weekend, recreational boating's traditional busiest time of the year. Posted on 23 Jun
BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship 2020
A return to tournament angling with social distancing The BoatUS Collegiate Bass Fishing Championship presented by Bass Pro Shops starts tomorrow, signaling a return to college bass fishing competition in the era of COVID-19. Posted on 9 Jun
8 ways to love boating while waiting out COVID-19
Become a smarter sailor while saving big bucks Offshore Sailing School's learn to sail, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary's Modern Marine Navigation courses free through May 15 Posted on 25 Apr
Goodbye 'Small Craft Advisory'
And hello to 'Small Craft Warning'? BoatUS supports proposal to simplify critical warning messages; NWS invites boaters to weigh in. Posted on 16 Apr
Marina Exchange FOOTER 138 South - Marlin 695 Series 2 - FOOTER