BoatUS is taking exception to a Renewable Fuels Association advertising campaign that promotes the use of gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol in boats.
BoatUS said the RFA “continues to spread mistruths” in supporting the Renewable Fuel Standard, a 2005 federal law that requires the blending of biofuels such as corn ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply.
An RFA ad that appears as a two-page spread in the May-June issue of Marina Dock Age and unveils the association’s campaign says 10 percent ethanol blends “are increasingly becoming the fuel of choice for savvy boaters.”
BoatUS counters by arguing that although E10 is the fuel most commonly sold in the United States, it is not the choice recreational boaters prefer.
“According to those surveyed by BoatUS, 91 percent prefer non-ethanol fuel for their boats,” BoatUS said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, non-ethanol gas is facing more uncertainty, as the government mandate to increase the volume of ethanol in the nation’s fuel supply may actually reduce the availability of ethanol-free gas,” BoatUS added. “While ethanol boosts a fuel’s octane rating, the U.S. Department of Energy acknowledges that ethanol contains less energy than gasoline and ‘result(s) in lower fuel economy.’ ”
In an infographic that is not in the Marina Dock Age ad, the RFA offers this tip: “Ensure a tight seal, if water is found, dry the tank before refueling.”
Says BoatUS, “This impractical and potentially very unsafe ‘tip’ asks boaters with built-in fuel tanks to do the impossible. Removing and disposing of phase-separated fuel — a result of too much water in moisture-attracting ethanol fuels — can only be done safely by professionals and is expensive. Even for those with portable fuel tanks, this RFA spin offers no practical, reality-based solution to the challenging disposal issue of the ethanol-and-water-soaked gas.”
“Regular maintenance is key,” the RFA infographic says. BoatUS counters by arguing that 87 percent of respondents in a 2016 survey by Boating Industry magazine said they saw boat engine damage that ethanol caused.
“Ethanol is a boom for the service departments [and a] huge drag on our industry because it negatively affects the customers,” a boat manufacturer said in the survey. “It makes them hate boating. It ruins their day, their boat and their entire boating experience.”
The RFA ad includes comments supporting the use of E10 from Mike Valentine, president and owner of the Crappie Masters, and Vernon Barfield, former vice president and tech chairman of the National Boat Racing Association.
“The fact still remains that E10 fuel has been approved to safely run in all marine motors,” Valentine says in the ad. “For three seasons now, Crappie Masters has received zero complaints nor had any fuel-related engine problems reported. Every poll taken has shown 100 percent of our tournament anglers are using E10 fuel in their boats.”
BoatUS counters that the RFA sponsors both of those organizations.
The RFA said that beyond the ad in Marina Dock Age, its campaign will feature educational outreach and additional ad placement in news outlets throughout the country.