As the great philosopher/baseball player Yogi Berra once observed: “It’s déjà vu all over again.”
Speaking then of losses as manager of the New York Yankees, if voiced today he might be referring to the decision by the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the Clean Air Act and allow the sale of gasoline with 15 percent alcohol, known as E15, this summer, making it advisable for dealers to warn their customers to avoid using it.
Without the waiver, E15 gas is prohibited during the summer months, from June 1 to Sept. 15, in roughly two-thirds of the country to reduce the higher ethanol fuel’s contribution to smog. Even more alarming is an April 12 “fact sheet” that notes the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering additional actions to facilitate the use of E15 year-round and significantly increase the sale of even higher ethanol fuel blends.
BoatUS is already advising members that boats are never compatible with E15. It’s use for fueling boats voids engine warranties and can damage marine power plants. It causes engines to run hotter and contains less energy than E10, which is allowed for marine use.
Dealers should take the cue from BoatUS and advise their customers about E15 because many boaters fuel up at roadside gas stations with almost no safeguards against misfueling. The marine industry and small-engine manufacturers have called for warning labels on gas pumps without much success.
In fact, a 2020 Outdoor Power Equipment Institute poll revealed that only about one in five consumers knew that “unleaded 88” (88 octane gas) contains more ethanol (15 percent) than 87 octane (10 percent) gas. Customers can easily misfuel and pump E15 into their boats this summer and should be made aware of the potential problems. Existing labels on pumps are inadequate.
The waiver went into effect May 1 and is expected to be renewed for the foreseeable future.
Spotlight on Preowned Boats
In its drive to provide dealers with resources that can boost sales success, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas introduced its most recent package devoted to greater business accomplishments.
For May, as part of its monthly Spotlight on Dealership Development, MRAA has released tools focused on driving success in the preowned boat space.
“Along with the massive size of the preowned boat market that saw 1.1 million units sold in 2021 comes real potential for dealers to capitalize on opportunities within this $10 billion segment of the marine industry,” says MRAA president Matt Gruhn. “Dealers can fuel their bottom line and diversify their revenue by creating an effective process for securing, servicing, marketing and selling preowned inventory. With a proper preowned boat system in place, businesses can set themselves up for long-term stability.”
To enhance dealers’ preowned efforts, MRAA has built a designated landing page offering new tools and custom content. Specifically, MRAA.com/PreOwnedSuccess provides members and non-members educational resources and content in the form of dealer conversations, articles and blogs, expert interviews, informational videos and more. Like all MRAA Spotlight pages, visitors can bookmark the page and revisit the topics to help them work through current issues.
MRAA also created the “Ultimate MRAA Guide to the Pre-Owned Boat Market” and an article series. They are filled with expert analysis, tactics and implementable processes to help navigate the unknowns.
Finally, MRAA launched a Certified Pre-Owned Boat Market Program earlier this year. The exclusive CPO program provides a proven process, quality third-party inspections and analysis, and a direct pathway for dealers to differentiate their inventory and make a sizable margin.
With the economic outlook looking cloudy, now’s the time increase focus on preowned.