Ethanol supporters respond to spate of misinformation

By Susanne Retka Schill | September 01, 2015

Ethanol supporters are responding to a new round of misinformation about ethanol.

Before Labor Day, the Boat Owners Association of the United States announced the results of an informal survey that found a “vast majority” want ethanol-free gas, but only about half of respondents say it is available at marinas and gas stations. The news release went on to say “to keep up with the RFS mandate, in 2010 the EPA permitted E15,” and that, though it is prohibited for use in marine engines and other small engines and vehicles made before 2001, “it can now be found in 24 states.” The group encouraged boaters and small engine owners to ask Congress “to amend the RFS to ensure future gasoline supply in the U.S. works for all engines.”

The Renewable Fuels Association released a statement assuring boat owners that E10 is safe for boat engines. “The poll results are, unfortunately, a clear indication that the myths surrounding boating and ethanol continue to exist,” said Bob Dinneen, president and CEO. “The National Marine Manufacturers Association has engaged in a relentless misinformation campaign regarding E15 and, in doing so, has confused the issue. It is simply not true that ethanol and boat engines do not mix. E10 is safe for boat engines. In fact, every boat manufacturer warrants the use of ethanol-blended fuel with up to 10 percent ethanol. So boaters should not have any worries about filling their engines with E10 over the Labor Day holiday.”

The American Motorcycle Association sponsored its own poll “that finds likely 2016 voters have widespread and serious concern about ethanol’s unintended consequences—including damage to engines, land conversion and food prices.”

The findings cited in the association’s news release included:

“Poll results show that a majority of voters nationwide have serious concerns about the effects of the RFS: - 78 percent of those polled had serious concerns that higher blends of ethanol such as E-15 can cause severe damage in cars, motorcycles, boats, lawn equipment and other small engines. - 73 percent of polled voters had serious concerns about an EPA analysis showing that emissions that contribute to climate change are 28 percent higher from corn ethanol than pure gasoline. - 77 percent of those polled had serious concerns about corn ethanol production consuming 34 times more water than pure gasoline. - 80 percent of polled voters had serious concerns about how diverting corn to produce ethanol could increase food prices.”

Responding to similar distortions, Mark Rauch at The Auto Channel wrote a comprehensive critique to “expert” advice being given by automotive media personality Lauren Fix on a recent interview on the radio Jacki Daily Show.  The lengthy blog, “Lauren Fix Takes Ethanol Opposition To New Level Of Stupidity,”   responds to specific errors in detail regarding such things as ethanol not being used in race cars, corrosion issues and phase separation, among other things.