The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced on July 5, 2017 its proposed 2018 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO), as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) program, which mirror the record high levels mandated in 2017. In particular, the volume of conventional biofuels (i.e. ethanol; E15) is set to stay at 15 billion gallons – the maximum allowed under the law – and continue to put boaters at significant risk.
The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has maintained the need for the EPA to propose lower 2018 levels to ensure that the boating public remains safe on the water and continues to enjoy access to approved fuel blends. This announcement is ultimately disconcerting for the more than 88 million boaters and 35,000 businesses that make up the recreational boating and fishing industry.
NMMA Federal and Legal Affairs Vice President Nicole Vasilaros reacted to the news with the following statement:
“We’re disappointed in the EPA’s 2018 RVO proposal, as the levels included are too high and continue to promote E15 – proven to cause significant damage to marine engines – in the fuel supply. The proposal in its current form would deny the boating public choice at the pump, while subjecting the industry to an increasing supply of a dangerous, prohibited fuel blend for their products.
“The expansion of E15 threatens access to safe fuels like E10 and without robust public education efforts, puts consumers at further risk of misfuelling. Higher RVOs also diminish the availability of E0, which many boaters demand. The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a broken law, that doesn’t reflect the market and consumer realities of today, making it more important than ever for Congress to fix the mandate.”
Although conventional biofuel levels remain the same from last year, the EPA used its waiver authority to reduce cellulosic mandated levels. This reduces the opportunity for advanced biofuels to come to market, while keeping corn-based ethanol as the main biofuel option. NMMA supports ethanol fuel blends up to 10 percent and alternative fuel options, such as biobutanol in consumer pumps.
NMMA plans to engage in the public comment period to raise industry concerns, ahead of the November 30 deadline for finalizing the 2018 RVOs. We will also carry forward efforts on Capitol Hill to push for a more comprehensive RFS reform that produces a more realistic and workable rule for all stakeholders.
For any questions, contact Nicole Vasilaros at firstname.lastname@example.org or Mike Pasko at email@example.com.