The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has provided written comments to a proposed rule published in the Federal Register on May 21, 2013 titled Control of Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles: Tier 3 Motor Vehicle and Fuel Standards. The proposed rule addresses the future of EPA policy on alternative fuels, which specifically would require car and light truck manufacturers to begin certifying for emissions using E15 fuel. While NMMA has not opposed the use of ethanol as an additive in gasoline, research has demonstrated that blends greater than 10 percent ethanol (E10) are damaging to marine equipment.
NMMA’s concerns are based on the physical properties of ethanol in gasoline. Marine engines are calibrated to operate on 2.5 to 3 percent oxygen and increasing the ethanol content above 10 percent increases the amount of oxygen in the combustion chamber. The result, called “enleanment,” is increased fuel consumption, higher running temperatures and severe internal damage.
The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS-2), signed in 2007, mandates that the United States fuel supply contain 36 billion gallons of renewable fuel by 2022. For the U.S. to meet this mandate the U.S. fuel supply would need to go to 30 percent ethanol today. NMMA believes that rushing ethanol-rich blends like E15, E20, and E30 into mass circulation is an irresponsible way to meet the requirements of the Renewable Fuel Standard. “EPA is attempting to create a piecemeal approach to achieving a federal requirement that cannot be achieved without great cost to vehicle and engine owners,“ writes John McKnight, NMMA’s vice president of government relations.
In the industry comments to the EPA, NMMA urged the agency to consider capping ethanol-fuel content at 10 percent (E10). NMMA stressed the importance of continued research into advanced biofuels such as isobutanol, a fuel additive currently being tested by NMMA and the American Boat and Yacht Council as an alternative to ethanol. For more information, please contact John McKnight at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-737-9757.