In the spring of 2009 Growth Energy, a pro-corn ethanol lobby group, petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to allow ethanol to comprise up to 15% (E15) of gasoline sold in the United States from the current level of 10% (E10). As mandated by law, the EPA had 270 days to make a decision on the waiver petition, which would have been December 1, 2009. On that date, EPA announced that it would delay its decision until late summer of 2010 to allow more scientific tests to be completed.
It's now speculated that the EPA will make its decision later this month or early next month. Reports indicate that EPA may also grant a “partial waiver” for some on-road vehicles only. This means that E15 would be approved for use in cars of certain model years, but not any marine engines. While this scenario would exclude marine, there is a concern about the risk of misfueling for boaters once E15 becomes available at gas stations. There is also a concern that E15 will be marketed as a less expensive regular-grade fuel, while E10 will be available in premium grade gasoline. As consumers make fuel decisions primarily based on price, this increases the risk of misfueling.
As boaters wait for the EPA’s announcement, the NMMA and its partner organization in the “Say NO to Untested E15” coalition are encouraging concerned boaters to visit www.FollowTheScience.org to write an email to President Obama requesting that he urge the EPA to thoroughly and comprehensively test all gasoline-powered engines, including marine engines, before allowing E15 into the marketplace.
What You Can Do to Help: The ethanol issue has and will continue to have a large impact on the boating community and we need your help to spread the word. Help us reach your fellow boaters through other venues like blogs, Twitter, Facebook and other social media, by using these resources to drive them to www.FollowTheScience.org.
For your reference, all of the related policy documents and letters are available online here: http://www.nmma.org/government/federal/?catid=1543.