Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Enhanced ethanol-rich fuel a danger to boat owners

E15 is going to be to boaters what E-Check is to a lot of Ohio motorists.

Maybe even worse.

While the environmental checking of a motor vehicle is an intrusion into one's time and possibly a raid on the wallet if work is required, E15 will most certainly wreck havoc on outboard engines.

The federal government's Environmental Protection Agency has given the all-clear for fuel manufacturers to deliver gasoline with 15 percent ethanol, or E15 for short.

Problem is, gas-fired outboard engines cannot tolerate more than 10 percent ethanol. Anything more than that percentage and engine components become compromised and will need replacement.

At an owner's expense, too, since outboard engine manufacturers void their warranties whenever an owner uses fuel with an ethanol content greater than 10 percent.

Just about everything involved with E15 is bad for an outboard, says BoatUS, the nations' leading pro-boating organization.

For starters it absorbs moisture, contains oxygen which can lead to over heating of an engine and prematurely ages certain - but vital - outboard components.

The trick, then, for boaters is to ensure the gasoline they buy at a service station on the way to the boat launch - the most popular venue for such purchases - has no more than 10 percent ethanol.

And those boaters who buy their fuel at a marina also must be diligent in demanding that their fuel has no more than 10 percent ethanol. Better yet, says BoatUS, is for that fuel to be ethanol free.

"When filling up at service stations, many boaters are used to pulling up to a pump and filling their tow vehicle first and then putting the same fuel nozzle in the boat," said BoatUS official Bob Adriance. "If that happens with E15, it could be a big mistake."

And costly, too.

At least the U.S. EPA intends to require the placement of warning stickers on each fuel pump, though the exact wording has not been finalized, Adriance said.

For further information, visit BoatUS's web site on the subject at BoatUS.com/seaworthy/ethanol.asp.

No comments:

Post a Comment