Racing series says ethanol is safe for marine engines

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The Renewable Fuels Association and the National Boat Racing Association announced that hydroplane and runabout racing boats will compete in 2011 NBRA series event races with E10 fuel, which contains 10 percent ethanol.

"We are thrilled to partner with NBRA to dispel any notion that ethanol is an unfit fuel for marine engines," said Robert White, the Renewable Fuels Association's director of market development, in a statement. "The use of E10 in these racing boats proves that this fuel is as effective during your weekly commute in your automobile as it is on your weekend boating trips."

Fan packs of ethanol information will be given to the first 200 attendees at each event. The renewable fuels group's "Fueled With Pride" logo will be displayed on uniforms, course buoys and flags, T-shirts sold at the races by the racing association, trophies presented at national events, near refueling areas of all boats and on signs throughout the viewing area.

Through the Ethanol Driver Contingency Program, cash awards will be given to those who promote their use of E10.

"American boaters have been utilizing ethanol-blended fuel safely and effectively for years," racing association spokesman Vernon Barfield said in a statement. "Ethanol-blended fuel provides the high-performance engines in this series with the horsepower and performance they need to win. We are excited to show that our racing boats are able to perform to their best capability using E10 fuel, shaking the myths that ethanol harms marine engines."

Many groups in the recreational marine industry, including the National Marine Manufacturers Association, have said studies show ethanol can be damaging to marine engines. These groups are currently fighting the Environmental Protection Agency's recent approval of fuel with 15 percent ethanol for cars in model years 2001 or newer.

The EPA did not approve E15 for boat engines, but industry groups say the distinction could be confusing for consumers.

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