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Member Advisory: March 2, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Matt Gruhn
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Membership Advisory

Boaters Beware

E15 Can Damage Your Boat

Boca Grande—On January 21, 2011, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced it would grant a waiver to allow the ethanol blend in certain automobile, SUV, and pick up engines to increase from 10 per cent to 15 per cent. This jump from E10 to E15 is designed for these on road vehicles produced between 2001 and 2006. This EPA decision comes after the October 13, 2010 decision to waive the limitation for E15 for model year 2007 and newer on road vehicles.

This EPA waiver from E10 does not apply for usage in boats. MRAA advises its members to inform boaters and anglers of the problems of using E15 gasoline in marine engines, to be careful if using gasoline purchased at gas station for a boat, and to use gas purchased at marine fuel docks where ever possible.

The problem is many boaters purchase their fuel for their boats at the same pump where they purchase fuel for their cars, SUVs or pick up trucks and easily could put E15 into a boat engine where E15 has not been approved.

To address this anticipated problem the EPA has authorized that a small label be placed on the gas pumps to warn purchasers not to use the E15 blended gas in boats. MRAA recommends boaters and anglers use only E10 or unblended gasoline in marine engines. It has become clear over the past few years that an ethanol blended fuel in boats can cause immense safety problems, such as fire and explosion or complete engine failure. The ethanol blended fuels used in the past are known to damage fuel tanks, fuel lines, and many components of the marine engine, especially outboard engines. Many anglers and boaters purchase gasoline for outboard engines at the same pumps where they buy gasoline for their pulling vehicle.

"I have seen many damaged engines and fuel line components because of the E10 blend. I can only anticipate damage from E15 will be worse, but the EPA has failed to conduct proper testing of the effects of E15 blended fuels on marine engines. Boaters must be aware of the potential damage that could result,” said Dave Foulkrod, MRAA President.