Mercury Marine has joined the National Marine Manufacturers Association in expressing disappointment with the Environmental Protection Agency’s announcement Friday to delay the final rule—one that will tell fuel refiners how much ethanol must be blended into the nation’s fuel supply—until 2015. The EPA said it will not finalize 2014 applicable percentage standards under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program this year, according to a press release from the Fond du Lac, Wis., based company.
“While we’re encouraged that the EPA is not blindly implementing flawed standards, we support the NMMA’s position that high-ethanol fuel blends have been proven to cause damage to marine engines, and now is the time for decisive refinement of the strategy rather than an additional study,” said Randy Caruana, vice president of sales and marketing for Mercury Marine, in the release.
The EPA’s decision to wait until next year creates growing uncertainty in the marketplace and fails to provide a consistent standard that boaters can follow, according to the release. Ethanol has been shown to damage gaskets, valves and seals in engines, possibly voiding warranties for boat engines if gasoline with more than 10 percent ethanol is used.
“By punting its decision, the EPA has done nothing to alleviate concerns regarding the continued availability of low-ethanol fuel blends relied upon by the boating industry,” said Nicole Vasilaros, the NMMA’s director of federal and legal affairs, in the release. “Consumers remain at high risk. We have serious, well-documented and data-driven concerns with the safety of high-ethanol fuel blends, which have been proven to cause damage to marine engines. This damage hurts manufacturers during a time of important economic recovery. The RFS is a broken law which sets unrealistic fuel mandates and requires a long term fix from Congress.”