Policy Watch

On May 16, 2018, Reps. Austin Scott (R-Ga.) and Lois Frankel (D-Fla.), members of the Congressional Boating Caucus, introduced the Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2018, HR 5855. This bipartisan legislation would more clearly label E15, gasoline blended with 15% ethanol by volume, at gas station pumps across the country.

E15 is illegal to use in boats because of its dangerous corrosivity of marine engines, as well as motorcycles, pre-2001 model year vehicles and outdoor power equipment like lawn mowers. The issue that this bill would help address is that many consumers assume that all fuel sold at gas stations are safe for use, which is not the case, and consumer awareness at the pump is so critical because 95 percent of boat owners actually fuel their boat at a local gas station. The Consumer Protection and Fuel Transparency Act of 2018 would require better and more consistent labeling of gas pumps that dispense E15 fuel so as to prevent misfuelling and subsequent marine engine damage.

This legislation is especially important right now as the U.S. ethanol industry has been repeatedly pushing the EPA to issue a waiver for E15 to be allowed to be sold year-round. E15 is currently not allowed to be sold in the summer months, the most popular boating months in America, because of air pollution violations its use causes.

ASA staff, as well as executives from BoatUS and other coalition members, attended a press briefing put on by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) on May 22, 2018 to promote and raise awareness for the bill and will continue to advocate for recreational boaters’ safety and further grow support for this legislation in Congress.

For more information, please contact Policy Fellow, Ashley Brinkman