Boaters association and RFA go head-to-head over safety of E10 for boats

In Washington, as boaters head into the Labor Day weekend and fill up their boat’s gas tank for one last hurrah of the season, a vast majority say they want ethanol-free gas, but only about half surveyed by the Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS) say it is available to them at marinas and gas stations. This means that boaters are filling up with E10 fuel. While the federal government says this fuel is safe for boats – and is even looking to mandate higher use of corn-based ethanol fuel offered at gas retailers across the country – boaters are wary.

The recent informal survey sent to members of BoatUS reveal recreational boaters’ frustrations with using E10 fuel. 91% said they want ethanol-free gas for their boat and more than half of the respondents have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts due to suspected ethanol damage. The average price tag for those experiencing damage: $1,000.

But the RFA doesn’t agree. “The poll results are, unfortunately, a clear indication that the myths surrounding boating and ethanol continue to exist,” said Bob Dinneen, President and CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association. “The National Marine Manufacturers Association has engaged in a relentless misinformation campaign regarding E15 and, in doing so, has confused the issue. It is simply not true that ethanol and boat engines do not mix. E10 is safe for boat engines. In fact, every boat manufacturer warrants the use of ethanol-blended fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. So boaters should not have any worries about filling their engines with E10 over the Labor Day holiday.”

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