EPA seeks comments on ethanol increase

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The Environmental Protection Agency is accepting comments on a proposal to increase the allowable ethanol content of gasoline to 15 percent, a move opposed by many in the marine industry.

In March, Growth Energy and 54 ethanol manufacturers submitted a petition for a waiver to allow ethanol blends of 15 percent, or E15, compared to the E10 currently in use as part of the EPA's renewable fuels standard.

Both the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Marine Retailers Association of America oppose the petition.

Ethanol in gasoline has been shown to damage marine engines, fuel-handling systems, fuel tanks, and pollution control and safety equipment.

"It's been pretty well devastating," Ed Lofgren, president of 3M Marine Service and chairman of the MRAA, previously told Soundings Trade Only.

"The biggest repair costs for my customers have been fuel, and these fuel problems have been exacerbated by ethanol in the last few years," he said. "If they increase ethanol in fuel, the problem could get worse."

Ethanol supporters are trying to circumvent the Clean Air Act process and get an administrative action declaring that E15 is the same as E10, according to the NMMA.

"That's a slippery slope where it is gradually increased over time," NMMA legislative director Matthew Dunn previously told Soundings Trade Only. "We will take firm action to prevent that from happening."

Click here to comment on the proposal.

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