"With the continuation of the RFS as it is and with only a sticker at the pump to protect boaters from costly repairs, engine failure, or even getting stranded out on the water, we are risking the safety of all of recreational fishermen who boat, which is no small number - it's 70 percent of us," said Scott Gudes, vice president of Government Affairs for the American Sportfishing Association.
The RFS is the 2005 law that mandates the blending of biofuels such as corn-ethanol into our gasoline. When written, it was assumed that America's use of gasoline would continue to rise. However, US gasoline usage has actually dropped steadily since 2005 and now the law forces more corn ethanol into fewer gallons of gasoline.
Boaters and anglers need access to safe and approved fuels. The letter said the RFS "...has discriminatorily affected the boating public - groups of boaters and anglers who purchase fuel for their boats... We write to ask that you to set a new course for the RFS - one that takes into account the objective concerns expressed by the boating community."
Because of its ability to damage boat engines, federal law prohibits the use of gas blends greater than E10 (10 percent ethanol) in recreational boats. However, as the RFS forces E15 (15 percent ethanol) and higher blends into the market, the chance of misfueling increases. A 2016 Harris Poll found that 64 percent of consumers were not sure or did not pay attention to the type of gas they used. ASA, BoatUS, NMMA and MRAA believe that the increased volumes of E15 and other higher ethanol-blend fuels also reduce the availability of E10 and ethanol-free gas.
The letter asks for common sense reforms, such as ensuring that any future ethanol volumes do not exceed 9.7 percent of the nation's total fuel supply; protecting true consumer choice at the pump by not artificially decreasing the supply of ethanol-free gasoline, and implementing new and more effective misfueling mitigation protections that will educate and protect all consumers.
Additionally, an appeal by the coalition of the four groups to the boating public and their members to petition for RFS reform with their local congressional representative and President Trump received over 26,000 responses from across the country.