As boaters enter the new boating season, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Detriot issued a warning to boaters about one type of fuel and said it could be “catastrophic.”
The agency warned that boaters should not use gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol, also known as E15 fuel.
“This type of fuel is federally prohibited for recreational vessel use, causes marine engine damage, and will void marine engine warranty. Additionally, E15 fuel has been shown to make engines run hotter, increasing the potential of a catastrophic boat fire,” the Coast Guard division wrote in a social media post.
In some gas stations, E15 fuel may simply be marked as “regular 88” or “regular unleaded” without any other warning signs or labels.
“Please ensure the fuel you are dispensing into your boat contains no more than 10 percent ethanol (E10),” the government agency warned.
The Detroit Coast Guard posted the warning because E15 fuel was approved on April 29 to be sold across the United States during the summer driving season amid soaring gas prices.
According to a notice published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the administration “is issuing an emergency fuel waiver to allow E15 gasoline … to be sold during the summer driving season.”
“The president is committed to doing everything he can to address the pain Americans are feeling at the pump,” former White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters about the emergency waiver, saying it’s a “critical step to address the fuel supply crisis.”
“At current prices, E15 can save a family 10 cents per gallon of gas on average and many stores sell E15 at an even greater discount, and today’s waiver will allow families to pay that lower price for months to come,” Psaki said.
There have been warnings issued by various groups and websites over the years that E15 gas can be corrosive to certain metal and rubber components in cars’ engines. In 2012, automotive group AAA issued a warning about E15 gas and called on retailers at the time to stop selling the product, arguing that it could void some vehicles’ warranties.
But the EPA has long said that fuel containing 15 percent ethanol is safe for most cars, trucks, and SUVs made in 2001 or later. Critics say E15 is a dirtier fuel; it’s usually prohibited between June 1 and Sept. 15 in some states because it can add to smog in higher temperatures, according to The Associated Press.
E15, known as unleaded 88, also isn’t recommended for use in motorcycles, the EPA has previously acknowledged—although that wasn’t mentioned in the agency’s announcement. Gasoline blended with 10 percent ethanol has become the standard for most of the nation’s gas stations.
Jack Phillips contributed to the report.