E15 Waiver Increases Fueling Risk

The Biden administration’s April 12th move to give a waiver from the Clean Air Act to allow the sale of gasoline containing 15% ethanol (E15) during the summer months is intended to lower costs and stretch the nation’s fuel supply.  However, the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says the unintended consequence of the E15 waiver could inadvertently put a harmful fuel, prohibited for use in recreational vessels, into boat gas tanks.    

Not Permitted for Use

It is not permitted by federal law to use E15 fuel in boats, voids the engine warranty, and it has been proven to cause damage to marine engines.   It also causes engines to run hotter and contains less energy than E10.   Recreational vessel engines may only use gasoline containing no more than 10% ethanol (E10).

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“While we understand the need to save money, we are concerned that fuel retailers may market E15 (15% ethanol) fuel, such as ‘regular 88’ or ‘regular unleaded’ as a lower-cost alternative to E10,” said BoatUS manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy.   “And therein lies the problem — the majority of recreational boats are refueled at roadside gas stations and, with almost no safeguards in place, there is a real chance that boat owners, looking for a bargain will misfuel their boats with E15 fuel.” 

Warning Signs

Beware of this E15 fuel !

E15 dispensing pumps have a poor warning regime, sometimes just a single orange label on the pump, which is ineffective at informing consumers.   A 2020 Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) poll shows that only about one in five consumers know that “regular 88” — or 88 octane fuel — has more ethanol (15%) in it than 87 octane (10% ethanol) fuel.    

Without the waiver, E15 fuels are prohibited for sale during the summer months (June 1 – September 15) as a way to address the higher ethanol fuel’s contribution to ground-level ozone (smog) on hot days.    

The administration’s April 12 “fact sheet” also notes USDA is considering additional action to facilitate the use of E15 year-round and other actions to significantly increase the sale and use of higher blends of ethanol fuels.   EPA is also considering modifications to pump labeling.   “That is something BoatUS fully supports,” added Kennedy. 

Thanks to D/C Steve Baker, D-21 for this information.

E15 Waiver Increases Risk of Misfuelling
By MDA Staff Published on April 20, 2022


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