As Memorial Day weekend traditionally kicks off the pleasure boating season. Power boat owners in particular, should be aware of a new survey done by Boating Industry magazine. It says that those in the boating industry that manufacture, sell, repair and store recreational vessels are seeing a growing number of problems caused by ethanol-related fuels. Said one boat dealer in the survey, “Ethanol fuels are “great” for our service department but “bad” for our customers!”
It was reported that 92 percent of survey respondents said “they have seen damage…caused by ethanol…and more business for the service department.” The most recent results are up from 87 percent from a similar survey last year.
Their July feature “Ethanol Still a Significant Challenge, reports that “more than 15 percent of readers surveyed said that based on what they are seeing in their business, more than half of the necessary repairs are being caused by ethanol-related issues.” Eighty-five percent of survey takers were “very concerned” about the use of E15 (fuel containing up to 15 percent ethanol).
Signed into law in 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) requires an increasing amount of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, to be blended into the gasoline supply. When it was written, the RFS assumed that America’s use of gasoline would continue to grow. Since 2005, however, gasoline usage has actually declined, which today forces more ethanol into each gallon of gas.
To keep up with the RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA granted a waiver to allow E15 into the marketplace. However, only fuels containing up to 10 percent ethanol (E10) are permitted for use in recreational boats.
For the nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group, Boat Owners Association of the United States (BoatUS), adds that the survey also shows most boat owners refuel their boats at a roadside gas station, not at a marina. They strongly urge to look carefully at local gas stations’ fuel pumps to ensure you didn’t accidentally pump E15 fuel into your boat. The only warning label required on the stations’ gas dispenser is an ineffectual, small, square orange label about the size of a pack of cards.
A 2016 Harris Poll found that 64 percent of consumers were not sure or didn’t pay attention to the type of gas they used. Using E15 – even just a little bit – voids all boat engine manufacturer warranties. And unfortunately little effort is being made by the federal government to educate the public.
And according to Chris Edmonston, V.P of Government Affairs for BoatUS, “The reason why E15 is currently banned for sale by the EPA during summer months, is due to concerns that it contributes to smog on hot days. Ethanol-blended fuels also result in fewer miles per gallon, as ethanol has a third less energy content than gasoline, according to the Department of Energy. A better choice would be to produce other types of renewable fuels, such as biobutanol.
In the meantime, boaters beware and look before you pump.
SHOOTERS GAUNTLET MACHING GUN SHOOT
If you’ve ever yearned to fire a machine gun, you can experience it during the June 2-3 Shooters Gauntlet who is hosting their 3rd annual Stone Mountain Machine Gun Shoot. The Northeast’s most unique shooting event venue hosts the largest machine gun shoot on the east coast. It will have 70 machine gun lines that draw machine gunners and their belt feds from across the country, to Pennsylvania this June.
Just a few of the guns on the line include:
M45C Quad Mount 50 Cal - only one left still on the road
M16 .223 full auto
M16 9mm full auto
HK Model 51
SCAR16 full auto
Barrett 50 BMG
Ammo is available to purchase on site. For more information, and to buy tickets visit: https://www.shootersgauntlet.com/june2018-mg-events.
Shooters Gauntlet is located at 3904 Millstone Road, Monroeton, PA. It’s in the Endless Mountains of northern Pennsylvania, and about 15 minutes outside the town of Towanda.
If you go, don’t forget to bring ear protection and safety glasses.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.