Heed Caution While Refueling

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The need is back for boat dealers to again remind their customers that ethanol in gasoline should be avoided when possible.

Corn is now our nation’s biggest cash crop, with about 40 percent of the yield going to producing the gasoline additive. It follows that boating should brace for another round of ethanol producers pushing for more ethanol in gasoline, buoyed by the improving economy and lots of expected bioenergy-friendly regulations coming from the Biden administration.

According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, families will again be hitting America’s highways after being held down for a year by Covid. That’s good for the corn farmers and great for ethanol producers. During the pandemic when overall gas consumption dropped, little was heard from the ethanol producers.

Prior to Covid ethanol production was leveling off because overall gas consumption was not growing: To boost production, ethanol producers successfully lobbied to have lifted a restriction on selling ethanol during summer months.

They were also successful in having E15 at the pumps, supposedly limited to certain applications (cars made after 2007), but certainly not for use in marine or small engine. The warning labels at pumps were widely seen to be totally inadequate — most states don’t even require gas pumps to be sufficiently labeled to warn of the amount of ethanol in the fuel.

As customers head into the prime boating season, it’s time to reiterate that many studies conclude ethanol (which is alcohol) is harmful to a gas fuel system, especially in marine engines. That’s because ethanol is a powerful solvent and that will negatively impact fuel filters, carburetors and more.

In addition, ethanol is hygroscopic, which means it attracts water. Water from condensation does form in a boat’s fuel tanks. The ethanol attracts and absorbs the condensation and while fuel filters can help avoid problems, an engine can shut down from water contamination and fuel phase separation.

In addition to reminding customers, the industry must continue to push for better labeling.

MRAA supports “America the Beautiful” Report
The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas has announced its support for the Conserving and Restoring America the Beautiful report. It outlines how three federal agencies and the Council on Environmental Quality will achieve a goal of conserving 30 percent of America’s land and water by 2030, also known as “30 by 30.”

The Secretary of the Interior, the Secretary of Agriculture, the Secretary of Commerce, the Chair of the Council of Environmental Quality, among others developed this report with substantial input from members of the outdoor recreation industry. The report purposely touts an increase in access for outdoor recreation, stating that “conservation can and should improve access for hunting, fishing, hiking, boating, and other forms of outdoor recreation.”

Specifically, Hunt Fish 30x30 and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, coalitions of which MRAA is a member, helped advocate for the recreational access as a pillar of conservation strategy.

Additionally, this aligns with MRAA’s 2021 priorites, which can be found here.

“We expect that a focus on equitable access and opening up opportunities for people throughout America will help grow involvement in recreational boating to the benefit of boaters and the boating industry at large, ” summarizes Matt Gruhn, President of MRAA.

To learn more about the recommendations of Hunt Fish 30x30 and the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable please click here and here

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