Big ethanol was dealt a serious blow in the Iowa Caucus when an open opponent of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) won the GOP contest by historic margins. Now, people across the country are learning the truth about ethanol-blended fuel mandated by the RFS. As the election moves to key boating states, such as Florida, the truth is clearer than ever. Ethanol mandates could threaten the supply of E0 fuel for boaters and thus put boaters and their engines at risk! As Republican and Democratic candidates prep for their upcoming primaries, “boater voters” are looking to have their voices heard on the unworkable RFS.
Ethanol-laced fuel such as E10, which contains 10 percent ethanol, and E15, which contains 15 percent ethanol can be corrosive to marine engines. In fact, the EPA says E15 isn’t legal to use in boats, older cars, lawn mowers and other small engines. That’s why many boaters prefer E0 fuel… when they can find it. In 2015, we learned that 91 percent of boaters want ethanol-free gas, but only about half of all boaters actually have access to the fuel.
We’ve heard from people like Terry Hill, a South Carolina marina operator, on how the ethanol mandates have affected local boaters and his business, and now groups, like BoatUS, are taking the issue directly to their members.
In recent news coverage, BoatUS states that “E0 is projected to be reduced dramatically from over 8 billion gallons in 2014 to just 200 million, possibly as early as this summer’s boating season.”
States like Florida and South Carolina rely on the boating industry. In Florida alone, “the boating industry provides more than 55,000 jobs and $10.3 billion in economic impact.” The industry could take a hit if the supply of E0 fuel diminishes.
Federal ethanol mandates are causing nightmares for boaters, yet candidates such as front runners Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have supported them throughout the 2016 election. As voters head to the polls, let’s hope they’ll remember that our next president will have the power to work with Congress and the EPA to reform the ethanol mandates. They should.