NMMA saw a win for the recreational boating industry last week as a bill that would have allowed for year-round sales of higher blends of ethanol was defeated and won’t get a vote in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee this year. This is good news for the industry and follows countless meetings and discussions NMMA had with with key Senate offices to ensure they knew of the damaging impacts of E15 on marine engines. NMMA also activated the industry’s grassroots platform, Boating United, resulting in thousands of boaters throughout the country adding their voice to the issue.
Politico reported on Thursday that both Environment and Public Works Chairman John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Sen.Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), author of the bill (S. 517 (115)), said it lacked the votes to get out of committee despite having five members as co-sponsors.
“The original sponsor said the votes aren’t there; I don’t expect to see it this year,” Barrasso said. Fischer agreed that the bill would not come up for a vote this year.
Ethanol producers argue that allowing year-round sale of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol (E15) would help increase the number of credits that refiners must use to comply with the Renewable Fuel Standard — and ultimately drive down prices. They had hoped to sway Democrats by touting the fuel’s lower greenhouse gas profile than gasoline, and the hope that allowing E15 to be sold all year would create higher demand for advanced biofuels with even lower emissions. However, fifteen percent ethanol fuel is prohibited from being blended in the summer months due to its high fuel volatility, or Reid Vapor Pressure. What’s more, NMMA has been clear that year-round sales of E15, especially during summer months when boaters around the country fill up their boats at gas stations, is a risk to consumers given the negative effects E15 has on marine engines and many other small engines.
NMMA will continue addressing fuel policy to protect boaters and the recreational marine industry.