Most recreational boats in the US are “trailer” boats. Stored in the backyard or driveway, they are trailered to the water and enjoyed for the day. They are also refueled at your local gas station or convenience store, which may soon offer a fuel, E15 (or 15% ethanol), that is prohibited by the federal government for use in boat motors and violates engine manufacturer warranties.
Recreational boats should be concerned over the potential for accidental misfueling. Last week’s EPA’s debut of it’s proposed solution – a small, orange label affixed to the gas pump titled “Attention” – has only heightened the need for boaters to be vigilant.
As this new fuel starts appearing at the local fuel pump, the likelihood of putting the wrong fuel in your boat increases. This could lead to costly engine or fuel system damage, and potentially leave you stranded out on the water with a disabled vessel, compromising your family’s safety. When a boat’s engine stops running, you can’t pull over to the side of the road.
Earlier this year, the EPA authorized the use of E15 in 2001 model year and newer motor vehicles. However, the agency did not authorize its use in marine engines or a range of off-road vehicles, tools and equipment. Currently, most boaters in the US have transitioned to E10 (10% ethanol), the maximum percentage of ethanol permitted in gasoline before most engine manufacturer warranties are voided. However, many boaters still go out of their way to find ethanol-free fuel.
With the introduction of these new fuel “Attention” labels it will be hard for consumers to recognize when or where E-15 is being rolled out to their local gas stations or fuel sellers. Most consumers will encounter E-15 for the first time at their local gas station with little or no fanfare, and may be attracted to its price.
We have posted several articles in the past addressing the problems of the EPA’s new E15 fuel program. To read the entire thread of articles, click on the links below.