Subsequent to the
Environment Subcommittee hearing on mid-level ethanol blends, MRAA sent a
letter to Rep. Chris Stewart, Chairman of the Subcommittee asking Congress to
intercede with the EPA to prevent the sale of E15 gasoline blends until proper
research has been completed to ensure the protection of boating consumers.
MRAA told the
Subcommittee Chairman that boating consumers are confused as to what is
appropriate for boats and many times have no idea of the effects of mid-levels
of ethanol on older marine engines. Even
at 10 per cent ethanol levels our members are seeing major repair problems with
older outboard motors and inboard engine fuel systems. E15 will greatly exacerbate those
problems. The letter said boats
oftentimes are not used for several weeks or months at a time. The natural
breakdown of ethanol causes the fuel system to clog and damage to engines
imposing a safety problem to people underway.
MRAA is concerned the EPA
forced usage of corn-based ethanol before thoughtful research had been
conducted and has failed to meet its civil obligation to provide for consumer
safety. But, most alarming to MRAA is
that more than 90 per cent of boating and fishing consumers fill their boat gas
tanks at on-road service stations at the same time as their cars. As a result without proper education, they
could inadvertently use higher ethanol levels in boats.
MRAA called on the EPA to
do complete and proper research into the effects of mid-levels of ethanol
blends in gasoline before releasing the product to the marketplace and conduct
a national consumer education campaign that fully explains how the new fuel can
be used, if the results of the research support usage.