Thursday, March 05, 2015

House Bill Introduced To Keep Ethanol From Ruining Boat Motors

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) Reform Act of 2015 was introduced Feb. 4 by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) and co-sponsors Jim Costa (D-California), Peter Welsh (D-Vermont) and Steve Womack (R-Arkansas) to reform the RFS. Costa, Goodlatte, Welsh and Womack’s bill proposes to eliminate corn-based ethanol blending and cap ethanol blending into conventional at 10 percent, commonly referred to as ethanol 10 or E10. The sponsors believe ethanol is ruining the engines of boats, chainsaws and snowmobiles across the country. This bill will remove the remaining consumer subsidy of the ethanol industry, the mandated blending of ethanol into gasoline.

In February 2013, the EPA approved a new blender pump configuration for gas stations seeking to use a common hose and nozzle to dispense E10 and E15 fuels. The combination of E10 and E15 at the same gas pump could result in boaters being confused and filling their boats with E15 instead of E10. According to BoatUS, boaters are prohibited from using E15 in their vessels.

More than 60 percent of BoatUS members fill their boat’s fuel tanks at roadside gas stations where the higher blend ethanol fuels are often the cheapest fuel at the pump. This creates a huge potential for misfueling and puts boaters at risk,

According to The Hill, the Renewable Fuel Association (RFA), an ethanol lobby, opposes the proposed bill. The lobby reportedly issued a study last week at the National Ethanol Conference in Texas presenting the economic benefits of ethanol. Specifically, the study reported 14.3 billion gallons of ethanol was produced in 2014, potentially offsetting 515 million barrels of foreign oil.

RFA has promoted increased use of ethanol blends. The RFS became law in 2005 and required
biofuels such as corn-based ethanol to be blended with gasoline. Several years later, the EPA permitted gas stations to use E15 blends in an attempt to keep pace with the standard’s mandates. The EPA reportedly approved E15 blends to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, the American Automobile Association challenged the EPA’s claim in 2012, issuing a statement that E15 potentially damaged fuel lines. An investigative report published by the Associated Press (AP) in November 2013 corroborated claims of the harms caused by fuels with corn-based ethanol.

 “The government’s predictions of the benefits have proven so inaccurate that independent scientists question whether it will ever achieve its central environmental goal: reducing greenhouse gases,” the AP report stated. “The numbers behind the ethanol mandate have become so unworkable that, for the first time, the EPA is soon expected to reduce the amount of ethanol required to be added to the gasoline supply.”

When the bill was introduced Feb. 4, the EPA reportedly did not set blend mandates for 2015 and 2016.  [See more]  (The Log, 2/26/2015)

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