Opponents Line Up Against Ethanol Increase In Fuel

A collection of far-flung groups, including the American Watercraft Association, PWIA, and BoatU.S., have come together under the banner FollowTheScience.org to oppose the pending increase of ethanol in fuels to 15%.

9th August 2010.
By Jeff Hemmel

There’s an interesting article about the potential ethanol increase in gasoline on the MasterResource energy blog today. Basically, it focuses on the proposal to increase the percentage of ethanol in fuels to 15% (you may have read about that one before), but even more so on the groups that are finally lining up to oppose the move.

According to the article, last week a coalition of 36 groups sent a letter to Senate leaders requesting they reject attempts to attach a ethanol-increase amendment during the Senate’s consideration of upcoming energy legislation.

According to the letter, “such an amendment would be bad for consumers, bad for safety, bad for the environment, and, by placing politics over sound science, bad public policy.”

The main focus of the article is on how wildly diverse the group is behind the letter, FollowTheScience.org. Here’s an organization that somehow manages to unite the American Petroleum Institute with the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, American Frozen Food Institute, Snack Food Association, Hispanic Institute, and yes, the PWIA, BoatU.S. and the American Watercraft Association. Tell me that wouldn’t be a funny board meeting to sit in on.

The Obama administration was expected to approve the increase in June, but delayed a decision till fall. That gives the group a little breathing room to fight the change, and though they may indeed be an eclectic bunch, a lot of organizations united together stand a far better chance than a lot of individual voices in my book.

Why be opposed to the change in the first place? Lots of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that “E15″ may void lots of engine warranties, and harm engines and fuel systems in ways that manufacturers have not prepared for, and won’t be in a position to warranty. There are many stories of damage resulting from E10 (10-percent ethanol) fuel use. It can affect fuel tanks, hoses, as well as lead to water contamination.

The article concludes by noting that several months back, the increase to 15% ethanol in fuel seemed like a given. At least now, the opposition — as weird a group as they may be — stand a fighting chance.


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About the author:

Jeff Hemmel

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Jeff Hemmel writes for boats.com, Boating, PersonalWatercraft.com, and Powersports Business. The former Senior Editor at Watercraft World, Jeff is a multi-time award winner as well as a 2008 inductee into the IJSBA Hall of Fame. His first book, "The Anti-Pirate Potato Cannon...and 101 Other Things For Young Mariners To Try, Do, & Build On the Water," received a bronze medal in the 2010 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards. For more info, visit Jeff Hemmel's website.

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