Representatives Lois Frankel, D-Fla., and Austin Scott, R-Ga., two members of the Congressional Boating Caucus, have introduced the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act in Congress. The bipartisan bill would require better labeling at fuel pumps that dispense gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) to protect consumers from misfuelling.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to allow sales of E15 this summer — an effort to combat record-high gas prices — creates a debacle for boaters. Normally, E15 sales are prohibited during the summer months in certain states, from June 1 to Sept. 15, to reduce the E15’s contribution to smog.
Federal law prohibits the use of E15 fuel in boats. The use of the fuel also voids engine warranties, and the blended fuel has a proven track record of damaging marine engines. Unfortunately, labeling of E15 products at fuel pumps has been historically poor, leading to misfuelling by unwary boaters.
There’s some doubt that this E15 response fails to acknowledge the ramifications of energy policies that have reduced the availability of U.S. crude oil, helped send crude prices to 14-year highs and compounds the cancellation of the sales of new offshore oil leases.
The administration is not expected to schedule any new offshore lease sales through 2023. The current five-year schedule expires at the end of this month. Since the first offshore drilling platform was built off the Louisiana coast 84 years ago, the Gulf has produced about 14 percent of America’s crude production, according to reporting from Bloomberg News.
Worldwide, it’s reported the number of new offshore oil field discoveries has fallen to a 75-year low. Even if new offshore leases and new projects in existing leased areas are immediately initiated, it would take years to bring them fully online.
So, there’s no quick fix and no simple solution to bring down fuel prices. A big push is likely by ethanol producers to increase ethanol in blends at the pump going forward.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association has issued an industry-wide call to take action using the industry’s easy-to-use grassroots platform, “Boating United.” Doing so will urge members of Congress to support the bipartisan “Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act” to improve sorely needed misfuelling mitigation requirements at the pump.
You can directly voice your concerns about the E15 issue to Congress by clicking here.