At a recent hearing held by the Environmental Protection Agency in Chicago concerning a proposed retail pump label for the E15% ethanol blend, Monte Shaw, executive director of the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association attended. Manufacturers of boat engines were also there, testifying to EPA that the 15% ethanol blend, if approved for widespread use will ruin boat engines.
Shaw says the intelligence of boaters was questioned. "The National Marine Manufacturers Association essentially called into question the intelligence of their customers," says Shaw. "This engine and boat group doesn't think their customers can keep the two types of fuel separate, or won't be able to tell the difference between fuel with ethanol in it and regular non-ethanol fuel."
NMMA legislative director Matt Dunn stated that the federal EPA "is not proposing enough precautions to protect consumers from widespread, inevitable consumer confusion and misfueling." Dunn went on to claim that the proposed EPA label "is not sufficiently strong enough to capture the user's attention."
Boater's intelligence questioned at EPA hearing on E15 label
IRFA's Monte Shaw says: "As the owner and operator of a boat, I'm personally insulted by these outlandish remarks. As a boater I'm responsible for the safety of my passengers and those people who are being towed behind the boat, as well as the safety of those people who are in other boats."
He adds, "When operating a boat, you have to be constantly aware and make split-second decisions. If I am capable of that – and I must be because the marine manufacturers sold me a boat – then I am certainly smart enough to read a pump label."
Need E15 label that provides customers the right information
Shaw adds: "Anyone who has seen EPA's proposed E15 label --Halloween pumpkin orange with 'CAUTION' in big letters emblazoned across the top — can't seriously say it won't capture the consumer's attention. Quite frankly, it is way over the top as it is. I suggest that the NMMA support an E15 label that provides their customers all the information they need to make an informed decision."
Shaw says such a label could simply state: 'E15: For use in 2007 and newer cars and light duty-trucks and all FFVs.' As a boat operator, I am not confused. I will not 'inevitably' misfuel my boat engine. I can take that information on the pump label and make the right decision. What the NMMA is saying is that their customers are not smart enough to make the right decision. Not only is the NMMA wrong – their position isn't very good customer relations either!"
The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association was formed in 2002 to represent the state's liquid renewable fuels industry. The trade group fosters the development and growth of the renewable fuels industry in Iowa through education, promotion, legislation and infrastructure development.