Editor's note: The above image is of a marine carburetor damaged from the use of Ethanol at %10. A larger version of the same photo appears at the bottom of this posting.
Ensuring a safe fuel supply for America’s 12 million registered boat owners may have to wait, said Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) after the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced earlier this week that the agency will further delay the final rule on how much ethanol refiners must blend into the nation’s gasoline supply under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). After almost a year of review, the 2014 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), which dictate ethanol levels, are now not set to be released until 2015.
BoatUS testified before the EPA on the proposed rule in November of 2013, which for the first time would have lowered the amount of mandated ethanol in gasoline and aligned the law with current gasoline usage. BoatUS supported this move that would have held gasoline/ethanol blends to a safe level for boats and small engines. Currently there is not a single marine engine warrantied to run on any fuel containing over 10% ethanol and this fuel is not authorized for use in recreational vessels. However, the national boat owners group has concerns over misfueling and poor pump labeling. Many boat owners trailer their vessels and refuel at roadside gas stations, filling up both the tow vehicle and boat at the same time.
“There is solid scientific data that supports levels of ethanol in gasoline over 10% damage marine engines,” said BoatUS government affairs program manager Nicole Palya Wood.
“The EPA’s failure to efficiently administer this program, utilize its waiver authority and set standards that provide protections for consumers sends a clear message that congress must act now to reform the RFS. We were hoping the EPA would utilize their waiver authority to ease the pressure on the nation’s fuel supply with regard to ethanol. Now, with their failure to act, it’s even more critical we work for a Congressional legislative fix which would bring the investment in safer, more compatible renewable fuels, which was what the RFS originally intended,” added Wood.
The refiners and obligated parties under the RFS will be held to comply with 2013 mandates until the EPA issues the final rule in 2015. This week's announcement comes on the eve of the 90-day comment period expiration for the final rule.