BoatUS has reported that the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has decided to raise, rather than lower, ethanol levels in gasoline. The association of boat owners, marine engine builders and the NMMA have all objected against increased levels of ethanol under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

BoatUS reported that last week, the EPA set the 2018 RFS at 19.29 billion gallons, a 0.5% increase over the 2017 standard. The RFS requires an increasing amount of biofuels, such as corn ethanol, to be blended into the gasoline supply.

“In August, EPA originally proposed a slight lowering of the overall ethanol mandate. However, bowing to pressure from the ethanol backers, the agency actually notched the mandate higher,” said David Kennedy, BoatUS government affairs manager, in a statement. “We think the EPA’s decision unfairly supports the ethanol industry over protecting consumers, recreational boaters, and the environment. If ethanol is as good for America’s fuel supply as Big Ethanol would like you to believe, then why do we have a law that forces more ethanol each year into the market? The RFS no longer works for Americans.”

The association said that when the RFS became law in 2005, it was assumed that the use of gasoline would increase in the US. Since 2005, gasoline usage has not increased as forecasted. That forces more ethanol into each gallon of gasoline. There is currently an E15 (15% ethanol) blend of gasoline on the market, but only fuels containing up to 10% ethanol (E10) are allowed on marine engines.

“Ethanol has been demonstrated to cause harm to many gasoline engines at the present 10% ethanol level, especially legacy outboard motors, and decreases fuel efficiency, increases fuel costs for consumers, and has questionable environmental benefits,” said Kennedy. “BoatUS will continue to fight on behalf of America’s recreational boaters to fix the RFS.”