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More ethanol? Act now to stop it

BoatUS couldn’t have said it better than in an email to members: “EPA Wants to Know How Much Corn You Want in Your Boat’s Gas Tank?”

It’s not a joke. Unless boaters and the industry respond in a huge way by Monday, we’re going to be living with higher concentrations of corn ethanol. That’s the deadline the Environmental Protection Agency has set for public comments about its proposal to significantly increase the amount of ethanol that must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply this year and next.

If adopted, these EPA-proposed increases will push the volume mandated to a record amount of ethanol, thus forcing higher-level fuel blends (including E15) into more gas stations nationwide. Here’s the situation:

It’s all about the Renewable Fuel Standard, a broken 2005 federal law requiring biofuels, (essentially corn ethanol) to be blended into our gasoline. When it was written, the assumption was that America’s gasoline consumption would continue to rise, so the law mandated steadily increasing amounts of biofuels to be blended with gas. But since 2005, gasoline usage has steadily declined. Thus, the fuel standard is unnecessarily forcing more ethanol into less gasoline.

To use up the increasing ethanol, the EPA in 2010 pushed E15 (up from E10) into the marketplace. Even though E15 is prohibited from being used in marine engines, snowmobiles, motorcycles and millions of other small engines, as well as any vehicle made before 2001, this fuel can now be found in 24 states at the very same pumps as E10.

According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, 97 percent of boaters fill up at retail gas stations. It’s a no-brainer that the risk of misfueling is greatly heightened wherever E15 is dispensed with E10. To add to the absurdity prescribed by the fuel standard, the U.S. Department of Agriculture plans to spend $100 million to get more ethanol at the gas pumps. Talk about pandering to ethanol producers.

We must push back hard today.

It’s easy. If you want to oppose the EPA proposal as a boater, simple go to http://goo.gl/CkfOtK, which is set up by BoatUS to quickly send your message to EPA. And Boating United has also made it easy to let EPA hear from you — just click here.

Completing the easy-to-use forms on either site takes only a minute. How about having every employee in your dealership take a moment today to do it on a computer? We’re at a critical moment in our fight to prevent any increase in corn ethanol. It’s critical that all of us who make a living in the boat business speak up.

Please don’t wait — do it now.

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