Congressional Boating Caucus Hosts Capitol Hill Briefing on Ethanol Labeling
Tuesday, July 24, 2018
Posted by: William Higgins
On Thursday, the Congressional Boating Caucus and the Congressional Motorcycle Caucus hosted a panel discussion on why Congress needs to pass the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2018 – bipartisan legislation that would more clearly label harmful and corrosive E15 ethanol blended gasoline at pumps across the country and better protect engines in boats, motorcycles, pre-2001 model year vehicles, and outdoor power equipment.
Congressman Austin Scott (R-GA-08) – a member of the Congressional Boating Caucus and a lead sponsor of the legislation – delivered opening remarks highlighting the bill and encouraging all stakeholders to keep working for its passage. NMMA’s Nicole Vasilaros moderated the panel, which featured representatives from a broad group of industries impacted by E15, including John Booher, Briggs and Stratton; Martin Peters, Yamaha; Mike Sponseller, Dunn Lewis Motorcycles (on behalf of the American Motorcyclist Association and Motorcycle Riders Foundation); and Chris Edmonston, Boat U.S.
According to Ms. Vasilaros, the “Look Before You Pump” campaign has helped with educating consumers on fuel choice and type, but more safeguards are needed to protect consumers from misfuelling. Vasilaros added that marine engines are federally prohibited from using E15 and Congress must ensure all boaters are aware of this.
Yamaha’s representative estimated that there are more than 10 million marine engines in use today. Mr. Peters made it clear that retrofitting all legacy products to run on E15 is simply not realistic.
The vast majority of boats are towable, meaning boaters typically fill up at their local gas station, said Mr. Edmonston. This is just one of the many reasons why Edmonston believes a more comprehensive education and labeling effort, extending past marinas, is required.
Mr. Booher called the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act a great opportunity to inform consumers of what type of fuel they are receiving and what it can be used for. Similarly, Mr. Sponseller praised the bill for simplifying the education process and breaking down language barriers by deploying instructive images.
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