E15 is headed our way, but boating can survive and thrive in its presence through education and maintenance, the head of one of the leading manufacturers of fuel additives told marine industry journalists last week.
"I think the marine industry needs to be part of the solution," Jerry Nessenson, president of ValvTect Petroleum Products, said Jan. 6 during the company's webinar entitled "Marine Fuel Problems & Solutions."
"We cannot panic people into believing that because of E10 or E15 that they shouldn't buy a boat or use a boat or that they should sell the boat they have."
Instead, the industry needs to adapt fuel for marine use, practice good housekeeping at its fuel-selling marinas, implement active service procedures and provide consumer education, Nessenson told about 20 marine journalists during the 90-minute interactive session.
He said fuel treatments and maintenance procedures can ward off the damaging effects of ethanol on marine engines and fuel systems. Ethanol can cause marine engine corrosion and performance problems, deteriorate fuel lines and clog filters. Nessenson used portions of the presentation to promote ValvTect products, such as ValvTect fuel, which is sold at 600 marinas nationwide, and the additive ValvTect Ethanol Gasoline Treatment.
There are more than a half-dozen other well-known ethanol fuel treatments, including Marine Formula Sta-Bil Ethanol Treatment, Star brite Star Tron Enzyme Fuel Treatment and CRC's Phase Guard 4.
In October, the Environmental Protection Agency waived a limitation on selling fuel that is more than 10 percent ethanol for model-year 2007 and newer cars and light trucks. Marine engines are exempted. The National Marine Manufacturers Association and several other groups have filed suit in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, challenging the EPA's partial waiver.
The EPA is proposing E15 pump-label rules. Nessenson said labeling should be prominent and specific. " 'Caution' labels are not enough," he said. "They should say 'Warning: Do Not Use in Marine Engines.' "
The EPA's approval could cause other problems, including the potential for E15 to be less expensive than E10, a limited availability of E10, "misdeliveries" of E15 to marinas and fuel re-seller liability problems.
The webinar also addressed the rising cost of fuel. "Guys, this is not a pretty picture," Nessenson said. "If we look at what will impact our industry, this is concerning."
— Chris Landry