RBOC Joins BoatUS in Urging Recreational Boaters to Send Message to EPA to Stop Summertime Sale of E15 Fuel

BoatUS: “E15 is the wrong fuel for boaters, consumers and the environment”

SPRINGFIELD, Va., April 16, 2019 – In an action that many are seeing as anti-environment, anti-consumer and a big nod to the ethanol lobby, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is moving toward permitting the sale of E15 (15% ethanol) fuels during the summer ozone season (June 1 to September 15). Currently available only in the colder months, E15’s summertime ban was implemented years ago to address concerns over its contribution to ground level ozone (smog) on hot days.

The nation’s largest boating advocacy, services, and safety group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), wants EPA to immediately halt any expansion of the fuel’s availability and is asking recreational boaters to speak up now to stop the summertime sale of E15 and offers an easy way contact the EPA by going to http://bit.ly/2UyyMFV.

Boaters have no love for ethanol in their gas because its proven to damage boat engines and fuel systems. If they had their choice of fuel, more than four out of five boat owners (83%) would choose E0 (ethanol-free) fuel – if it was available. Because of the harm it causes, E15 is prohibited by federal law for use in recreational boat engines and voids many marine engine warranties.

BoatUS has long had concerns over potential consumer misfueling with E15. Most recreational boaters refuel their vessels at roadside gas stations where pump-labeling requirements are minimal. Just one small E15 orange warning label is the only protection currently in place for marine and other off-road engines. Without additional consumer education to raise awareness that there may be more E15 fuel on market, BoatUS believes the risk of misfueling will increase and, with it, instances of expensive repairs to boat engines and fuel systems.

“E15 is the wrong fuel for the boaters, consumers and the environment,” said BoatUS manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “As recently as 2011, EPA determined it did not have authority to waive Reid Vapor Pressure rules for E15 fuel. We believe this was the correct decision and that any changes should be made by Congress, not the EPA.”

The push for the summertime sale of E15 and adding more ethanol into the nation’s fuel supply is a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). When it was passed in 2005, RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since then, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecast, which now forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas.

To keep up with the RFS mandate and avoid hitting a “blend wall” in which the volume of ethanol production exceeds consumption and infrastructure constraints, in 2010 EPA granted a waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace but limited its sales to colder months to protect air quality.

BoatUS is a member of Smarter Fuel Future, a coalition that aims to reform RFS.

BoatUS Gathers Group of Advisers for Annual Debate on Boating Issues

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., Dec. 3, 2018 — A panel of distinguished boating leaders who serve as a sounding board for Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) gathered last week along with esteemed guests and BoatUS staff in Newport Beach to discuss key issues impacting recreational boating, including the changing boat-ownership model and shifting boater demographics. BoatUS is the nation’s largest recreational boat owners group in the U.S. with more than a half-million dues-paying members.

The group also discussed legislative issues that help keep the association’s focus on the evolving needs of recreational boaters, including some who now get on the water without having to own a boat via boat-sharing clubs. The National Marine Manufacturers Association, U.S. Power Squadrons, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary all provided updates on activities.

The volunteer members of the BoatUS National Advisory Council included Robert Baldridge, past chief commander, United States Power Squadrons; Ellen Bradley, senior vice president & chief communications officer, National Marine Manufacturers Association; Lenora S. Clark, former California Boating and Waterways commissioner and former Recreational Boaters of California president; Dean Travis Clarke, former executive editor, Bonnier Marine Group; Ray Durazo, incoming president, Recreational Boaters of California; Jim Ellis, National Advisory Council chairman and former president, BoatUS; John Flynn, principal, Squire Patton Boggs; Mark Brown, president, National Association of State Boating Law Administrators; and Bob Adriance, former editor, Seaworthy.

Joining the council’s members were a distinguished roster of special guests, including Beth Newburger Schwartz, president, Epoch Communications and wife of late BoatUS founder Richard Schwartz; Vern Gifford, chief, U.S. Coast Guard Office of Boating Safety; and Jerry Desmond, principal, Desmond & Desmond and RBOC Legislative Counsel.

BoatUS leadership and staff included Kirk La, chief executive officer; Chris Edmonston, vice president, Government Affairs, and president, BoatUS Foundation; Heather Lougheed, vice president, Membership; David Kennedy, manager, Government Affairs; Morgan Neuhoff, senior program coordinator, Government Affairs;

Attending from BoatUS’s parent GEICO were Chris Nowack, counsel; and Steve Parsons, vice president, assistant controller.

BoatUS: America's Water Infrastructure Act of 2018 Poised for Passage: Boaters Stand to Gain

Bill includes focus on water-quality improvements

WASHINGTON, October 1, 2018 – A safe place to hide from a storm. Better navigation. Cleaner waters. Ensuring that boaters matter when it comes to getting their fair share of federal funding. These are all things that boaters stand to gain with the passage of a bipartisan bill, S. 3021, America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018, which will provide critical funds and policy improvements for the nation’s waterways, reservoirs, levees, locks and dams. A Senate vote is expected soon.

Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), the nation’s advocate for boat owners, urges the Senate to say “yes” to the legislation, which also encompasses the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) of 2018. “The bill authorizes the needed investment in waterways where millions of Americans recreate,” said BoatUS Government Affairs Manager David Kennedy. “It also promotes policies to address water-quality concerns such as the harmful algal blooms recently seen in Florida and the Great Lakes.”

BoatUS says recreational boaters will like the bill as it supports waterway-access projects, navigation and water-quality improvements, and provides maintenance funds for harbors of refuge. It also includes innovative policy changes such as a provision directing the economic benefit of recreational boating be considered for locks on the Allegheny River system. As the primary federal legislation that addresses waterways, AWIA/WRDA serves to keep this crucial part of the nation’s infrastructure working for everyone.

“Regular passage of WRDA bills is good news for American boaters,” added Kennedy. “Keeping up with water-infrastructure maintenance and updating the laws that deal with our waterways will help keep boating one of our nation’s favorite recreational activities.”

For the bill’s full text, go to https://www.congress.gov/115/bills/s3021/BILLS-115s3021eah.pdf.

Boats and Ethanol Fuel: BoatUS Wants to Hear From You

Take a short 13-question survey

ALEXANDRIA, Va., June 21, 2018 – With the start of the boating season, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) wants to hear from boaters about their experiences with ethanol fuels in an online survey at https://bit.ly/2JM4AS5. The short, 13-question survey is an effort to gain an understanding about how ethanol fuels are affecting recreational boating this summer, gauge opinion, and seek out comments related to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

When it was passed in 2005, the RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since then, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecast, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas. To keep up with the RFS mandate and avoid hitting a “blend wall” in which the volume of ethanol production would exceed consumption and infrastructure constraints, in 2010 the EPA granted a waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace. Recently, President Trump also proposed the sale of E15 year-round.

Only fuels containing up to 10 percent ethanol (E10) are permitted for use in recreational boats, and anything greater voids many marine engine warranties. However, 92 percent of readers of Boating Industry magazine that serves the boating trades reported in 2017 that they have seen damage caused by ethanol, which also decreases fuel economy, thus increasing fuel cost, and has questionable environmental benefits. BoatUS also has concerns over potential consumer misfueling as E15 pump labeling requirements are minimal with just a small orange warning label.

BoatUS is a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition which aims to reform the broken RFS. For more information, go to www.SmarterFuelFuture.org.

BoatUS - Where Big Ethanol is King, Many Prefer Ethanol-Free Gas

Report: More ethanol-free fuel sold in Iowa than E15 and all flex fuels combined

DES MOINES, Iowa, May 3, 2018 – Even in Iowa, it appears many Hawkeye State residents aren’t fond of ethanol fuels mandated by the federal government’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

A report from the Iowa Department of Revenue shows that ethanol-free gas (E0) is a more popular fuel choice than E15 (15 percent ethanol) and all flex fuels (E20, E85) combined, with Iowans purchasing more than 200 million gallons of E0 fuel in 2016.

That’s more fuel that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) projects the entire US will be able to use in the near future while still satisfying growing annual biofuel obligations under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

The nation’s largest boating advocacy group, Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), says citizens of the number-one ethanol-producing state in the nation choosing ethanol-free fuel for their own personal vehicles and equipment is another example of the need for RFS reform. “This is the part of the country where Big Ethanol interests dominate, but right in their backyard the citizens of Iowa have spoken with their pocketbooks and wallets,” said BoatUS Manager of Government Affairs David Kennedy. “They know what ethanol can do to their vehicles, power equipment and boats. We support every effort to recognize an Iowan’s right to choose safe ethanol-free fuels. It’s time to fix the RFS.”

When it was passed in 2005, the RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since then, however, gasoline usage has not increased as forecast, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas. To keep up with the RFS mandate and avoid hitting a “blend wall” in which the volume of ethanol production would exceed consumption and infrastructure constraints, in 2010 EPA granted a waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace. Most recently on April 12, President Trump also proposed the sale of E15 year-round that would require a waiver to the Clean Air Act.

Only fuels containing up to 10 percent ethanol (E10) are permitted for use in recreational boats, and anything greater voids many marine engine warranties. However, 92 percent of readers of a prominent boating industry publication reported in 2017 that they have seen damage caused by ethanol, which also decreases fuel economy, thus increasing fuel cost, and has questionable environmental benefits. BoatUS also has concerns over potential consumer misfueling as E15 pump labeling requirements are minimal – just a small orange warning label.

BoatUS is a member of the Smarter Fuel Future coalition. For more information, go to https://bit.ly/2I56Joa.

Iowans purchased more than 200 million gallons of ethanol-free fuel in 2016.

Iowans purchased more than 200 million gallons of ethanol-free fuel in 2016.