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BoatUS and NMMA caution boaters on misfueling

BoatUS and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are urging boaters to be mindful when they select fuel for their boats.

As the Memorial Day weekend starts off the summer boating season, BoatUS and the National Marine Manufacturers Association are urging boaters to be mindful when they select fuel for their boats.

The groups say the federal government’s Renewable Fuel Standard is increasing the risk of consumer misfueling.

A mistake at the pump can be the source of expensive, warranty-voiding repairs and dangerous engine failure, the groups say.

“Boaters can’t assume that every fuel sold at gas stations will work in marine engines,” BoatUS president Margaret Podlich said in a statement. “Boats can only run on 10 percent or less ethanol content (E10) fuel — and we know many boaters prefer to use ethanol-free (E0) when possible. Unfortunately, as a result of the federal ethanol fuel mandates (RFS), boaters may face a much harder time this summer finding the E0 fuel they want. And with more E15 (gasoline with 15 percent ethanol) forced into the fuel supply by the RFS, the threat of accidental misfueling — especially at gas stations with blender pumps — is growing.”

“Our priority is always to keep boaters safe,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said. “By increasing the share of fuels in the marketplace that are unsafe for marine engines, the federal government’s RFS is putting boaters at risk. Research shows the costly price of accidentally misfueling a boat with E15 can include stalling, corrosion, fuel leaks, damaged valves and complete engine failure — each of which could put boaters and their safety in jeopardy. Now more than ever, with E15 on the rise, the threat of misfueling is real.”

An estimated 95 percent of boats are filled at retail gas stations, but a 2016 Harris Poll commissioned by the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute found that a startling 60 percent of consumers believe any gas sold at retail stations is suitable for all engines and products, the groups said.

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