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House members question EPA on ethanol increase

The bipartisan letter, spearheaded by the NMMA, requests pertinent information about the agency’s consumer outreach efforts
Few gasoline stations sell non-ethanol fuel. This one is in Florida.

Few gasoline stations sell non-ethanol fuel. This one is in Florida.

In a letter sent to Environmental Protection Agency administrator Gina McCarthy, 45 members of the House of Representatives questioned the agency about what it has done to protect boat owners and other small-engine equipment consumers from accidentally misfueling with E15 and higher blends of ethanol.

The bipartisan letter, spearheaded by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, requests pertinent information about the agency’s consumer outreach efforts to date and what plans the agency has to better educate consumers in the future.

The letter came in response to increasing ethanol mandates from the EPA — with more E15 expected on the market, more needs to be done to ensure that marine engines are not damaged because of misfueling.

“Congress will continue to seek a permanent solution, but until then it is imperative that EPA take upon itself the responsibility to reduce the likelihood of widespread fueling mistakes associated with E15,” wrote the members of Congress.

A label between the price and octane level at this pump tells consumers the fuel is not blended with ethanol.

A label between the price and octane level at this pump tells consumers the fuel is not blended with ethanol.

The EPA proposed in May raising ethanol levels in the overall fuel supply for 2017. The NMMA is asking industry stakeholders to weigh in during the public comment period, which lasts until July.

“It’s important to voice up as an industry and show that we are concerned about the proposal as it was written, and we’re calling on the EPA to lower volume numbers before they finalize the rule later this year,” Michael Lewan, NMMA grassroots and government relations manager, told Trade Only Today.

Lewan said the group is urging people to use the Boating United website to take quick action via an already prepared letter.

Members of the boating industry should also use the election season as an opportunity to discuss ethanol issues with legislators because they are spending additional time locally to campaign for re-election, Lewan said.

There will be a hearing today before the committee with jurisdiction over the Renewable Fuel Standard — the law that mandates the increase of biofuels in the fuel supply.

Read about the hearing in Thursday’s Trade Only Today and read more about the ethanol issue in the August issue of Soundings Trade Only.

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