Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resources 2022 - LEADERBOARD

Whoa, boaters! Slow down on the recent E15 news

by Scott Croft 19 Apr 09:48 PDT

There's been a lot of pain at the pump lately with gas prices. The Biden administration's April 12 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, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) says the unintended consequence of the waiver could inadvertently put a harmful fuel prohibited for use in recreational vessels into your boat's gas tank.

BoatUS notes recreational vessels are never compatible with E15 (15% ethanol). It is not permitted by federal law to use E15 fuel in boats (as well as motorcycles, off-road vehicles and power equipment), 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).

"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."

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.

Kennedy further explains: "To refuel, boaters head to their local gas station with the boat in tow for a fill-up. Newer tow vehicles may be compatible with E15. "Regular 88" is selected and dispensed into tow vehicle's gas tank. Then the boater pulls the trailer rig forward to refuel the boat. Without a clear understanding, the "Regular 88" fuel dispensing nozzle is put in the boat's fuel tank fill, and you soon end up with a tank full of prohibited E15 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.

It is also notes EPA is considering modifications to pump labeling. "That is something BoatUS fully supports," added Kennedy.

Related Articles

Test your emergency beacon knowledge
Take this 4-question true-false BoatUS Foundation quiz The proliferation of personal locator beacons (PLBs), whose diminutive size belie their enormous on-water safety advantage, are no longer thought of exotic rescue electronics. Posted on 16 Jun
Boating season kicks off this weekend
3 things boaters get wrong with spring commissioning You made it through your long to-do list of spring commissioning items and you're ready to go in the water this Memorial Day holiday weekend - the traditional kickoff to the summer boating season. Posted on 25 May
Affordable 3-hour courses start on Kent Island, ND
Getting into recreational boating isn't as easy as you would think - until now The Chesapeake Bay may be a boating mecca, but getting into recreational boating isn't as easy as you would think. Posted on 21 May
Will hurricane season be starting earlier?
Let BoatUS help you prepare your boat now No, you're not going crazy. The current six-month Atlantic Hurricane Season, set in 1965, begins June 1 and runs through November 30. Posted on 17 May
Three safety changes you need to know
As National Safe Boating Week approaches National Safe Boating Week arrives May 21–27 with an annual reminder for boaters to champion recreational boating safety all summer long. Posted on 10 May
BoatUS warns boaters to be wary of USCG letters
Official-looking vessel documentation renewal notices can lead to confusion and higher costs Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) is advising boaters with vessels that have a U.S. Coast Guard Certificate of Documentation to be wary of any letter arriving by U.S. mail offering renewal. Posted on 6 May
Three clean refueling tips for boaters
For Earth Day and every day from the BoatUS Foundation At the first-ever Earth Day celebration in 1970, pollution was commonly accepted as the price of prosperity, and many Americans remained unaware of environmental concerns. Posted on 13 Apr
A vessel safety check keeps your boat up-to-date
Ensures you're in compliance with new boating safety equipment regulations How do you know your boat is ready for a safe summer boating season and complies with new U.S. Coast Guard regulations? Posted on 12 Apr
BoatUS: 21 Gas saving tips for boaters
Save on fuel and still enjoy a fulfilling season on the water Gas prices are up. What can boaters do to prepare for a summer of boating? The 800,000-plus member BoatUS has 21 fuel-saving tips boaters can do to help save on fuel and still enjoy a fulfilling season on the water. Posted on 19 Mar
BoatUS app shortens on-water response times
Helping boaters on the water get home It's the only on-water towing app with the ability to link the captain of a recreational boat with the closest local TowBoatUS towing captain, eliminating the need to call to BoatUS national dispatch. Posted on 15 Mar
Sea Sure 2020 - SHOCK-WBV - FOOTERMaritimo 2022Mar - S75 FOOTERMarine Resources 2022 - FOOTER