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Entries in Renewable Fuel Standard (4)

Thursday
Aug102017

Ethanol-Related Repairs Increasing, According to Survey

A new survey by Boating Industry magazine says those in the boating industry that manufacture, sell, repair and store recreational vessels are seeing a growing number of problems caused by ethanol-related fuels. Said one Minnesota boat dealer in the survey, “Ethanol fuels are great for our service department but bad for our customers!”

The reader survey results, which appear in the magazine’s July 2017 issue, report that 92 percent of survey respondents said “they have seen damage…caused by ethanol…and more business for the service department.” The most recent results are up from 87 percent from a similar survey last year.

The July feature “Ethanol Still a Significant Challenge, Survey Says,” also reported that “more than 15 percent of readers said that based on what they are seeing in their business, more than half of the necessary repairs are being caused by ethanol-related issues.” Eighty-five percent of survey takers were “very concerned” about the use of E15 (fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol).

Signed into law in 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing amount of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, to be blended into the gasoline supply. When it was written, the RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas.

To keep up with the RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA granted a waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace. However, only fuels containing up to 10 percent ethanol (E10) are permitted for use in recreational boats.

For the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the survey’s results add to urgency to fix the RFS. Said Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy, “For the people who know boats best, the readers of Boating Industry magazine who work on boats and keep them running so we can all enjoy a great day on the water, ethanol continues be concern. It will remain this way until we fix America’s broken ethanol policy.”

Go to BoatUS.com/gov/rfs.asp for more information on the Renewable Fuel Standard. BoatUS is a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition.

Sunday
May222016

Ethanol-Free Fuel Could Become Even Scarcer

As if finding ethanol-free (EO) gasoline for marine engines weren't difficult enough already, BoatUS is warning that it could become even scarcer this summer.

Gas stations aren't required by federal law to carry fuel with ethanol added. But the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program mandates that an increasing amount of biofuel, primarily corn ethanol, be blended into America's gasoline supply annually. In other words, stations might not be able to buy EO gasoline, despite consumer demand.

"Correcting the RFS before it wipes out the availability of EO for boating families and wreaks additional havoc on marine engines is the responsibility of our next president," said Margaret Bonds Podlich, BoatUS president.

"It is now time to fix this broken law. Thankfully, there are bipartisan ideas to fix the ethanol mandate in Congress, but the question remains whether our elected leaders will act and solve the problem."

As of right now, it appears that EO fuel supply will be reduced from more than 8 billion gallons in 2014 to just 200 million, possibly as early as mid-year. Already, more than 90 percent of fuel contains 10 percent ethanol, with 15 percent becoming more prevalent, even though federal law prohibits its use in marine engines, ATVs, motorcycles, lawnmowers, and cars made before 2001.

"When gasoline containing ethanol and boats mix, boat owners lose," Podlich added. "That's because of something called 'phase separation'--- think oil and vinegar--- that can turn fuel stored in a boat's gas tank into a corrosive, water-soaked ethanol mixture, unusable in any engine."

Half of those who responded to a recent BoatUS survey said they have had to replace or repair a boat engine or fuel system parts because of suspected ethanol-related damage. Average cost for repairs was $1,000.

Ethanol Damage Increasing

Additionally, Boating Industry says this:

Ethanol appears to be playing an even bigger role in service issues than it was just a year ago.

Eighty-seven percent of our respondents reported that their business has seen engine damage caused by ethanol. That was up from 73 percent in the same survey in April 2015.

While it may be helping drive service department business, frequent issues run the risk of driving more people out of boating.

As one New York boat dealer bluntly put it: “Ethanol makes us money … it sucks for the consumer.”

A Florida-based manufacturer echoed that:

“Ethanol is a boom for the service departments. Ethanol is a HUGE drag on our industry because it negatively affects the customers. It makes them hate boating. It ruins their day, their boat, and their entire boating experience.”

And it is no small problem, either, representing a significant portion of repairs based on what our survey respondents are seeing. Fourteen percent said that ethanol-related problems are responsible for more than half of all engine repairs, while 60 percent said it represents at least 20 percent of the repair issues. Those numbers are basically unchanged from 2015.

Wednesday
Jul152015

Want Even More Ethanol in Your Fuel? It Could Happen

As thousands of boat owners can attest, E10 (10 percent) has damaged or destroyed their  marine engines.

So . . . how would you feel about the EPA increasing the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation's fuel supply for 2015 and 2016? This move would require the use of a record amount of ethanol, forcing higher-level blends in more gas stations.

As if E10 (10 percent ethanol) weren't bad enough , the agency permitted E15 in 2010 to reach the total ethanol usage goal required by the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, lawnmowers, etc. can't use E15, nor can vehicles made before 2001. Even so, E15 is now found in 24 states at the same pumps as E10.

"Millions of recreational boaters fill their boat's fuel tanks where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump," says BoatU.S. "The only warning you may have is one sticker mixed in with all the other warning labels on the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk of using fuel that will damage their engines."

If you want to tell EPA how you feel about its proposal to force even more ethanol  into our fuel, go to this BoatU.S. site.

Thursday
Feb052015

Bill Introduced to Protect Boat Owners From E15

 

Renewed effort is underway to protect boater owners from putting unsafe ethanol-based fuel in their boats.

“The new bill would recognize the failure of the current Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) and its out-of-date ethanol-mandate, and make the necessary changes so there is a safe fuel for all gasoline-powered engines,” said Nicole Palya Wood, Government Affairs program manager for BoatUS.

Introduced by Rep. Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, with 30 co-sponsors, the Renewable Fuel Standard Reform Act would cap the ethanol requirements at E10 (10 percent ethanol), would prohibit the use of corn-based ethanol in the RFS, require more advanced biofuels, and take into account actual, real-world production of biofuels when setting requirements.

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Go here to ask your representative to support the reform act

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When the RFS was written in 2005, politicians assumed that gasoline use would continue to rise and mandated escalating amounts of biofuels  be blended in. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually dropped steadily. But under current law, E15 (15 percent ethanol) is being forced into the marketplace to maintain the mandate.

 E15, however, is a fuel that many gasoline engines cannot use. In fact, it can cause catastrophic damage, especially to outboard motors.

According to BoatUS, no marine engines in the US are warrantied to run on a gasoline blend greater than 10 percent ethanol. And AAA reports only about 12 million out of the more than 240 million light-duty vehicles on the roads today are approved to use E15 gasoline. Also, damage from use of higher ethanol fuels (E15 or greater) in cars and trucks will void many manufacturers' warranties.
 

Use of E15 in boat engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles, and small engines, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, is illegal, according to BoatUS.  But it now can be found at more than 100 gas stations in 16 states at the same pumps as E10 and ethanol-free gasoline.

“The potential for misfueling is significant,” the organization said. “In the US, nine out of every ten boaters own a trailerable boat that is most often filled up at a roadside gas station. Additionally, these higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuels at the pump.”

According to Wood, BoatUS supports the bill because, "The RFS Reform Act acknowledges the reality of America's declining fuel consumption, allows for the investment in other more compatible biofuels, and erases the twisted math that forces more ethanol onto a marketplace that neither demands it, nor can physically absorb it at safe levels."