Another article on E10 Fuels

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FOUNDER of Classic Parker Forum
Feb 16, 2006
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Newbury, MA
Another article on E10 Fuels ... sent to me by CP member delidon, concerns raised in FL:

Bad deal: Ethanol & Motors
By STEVE SANOSKI, Keys Sunday reporter - [email protected]

Sludge among problems blended fuel can cause ...

There's been a good deal of talk lately about ethanol, the fuel made from plant matter. In this country, that effort has primarily been directed toward the use of corn.

As a result, the fuel has been more widely available in Midwestern states, where most of the corn is cultivated. In many such states, legislators are pushing requirements to have all gasoline be at least a 10 percent ethanol blend in the next decade.

While the nationwide roar of support for ethanol-blended fuels has been loud, a growing number of voices are also registering the first major consumer criticism of the corn-based fuels.

The complaint?

Ethanol is a slow killer of boat motors.

“In general, alcohol or ethanol blended fuels raise hell with boat motors,” Chris Carson said, owner of Chris Carson's Outboard Motor Rebuilding & Sales in Key Largo. “It deteriorates the internal rubber and varnished components of the motor, and causes a buildup like a sludge if it sits in the motor.”

Dave Olmstead, owner of Markey's Marine Service in Key Largo, said most Keys boaters are aware of the problems ethanol-blended fuels can cause boat motors. However, he said limited availability of such fuels in Monroe County has also largely limited any problems local boaters are experiencing.

“It really hasn't been a big issue at this point,” Olmstead said, noting none of his customers have come in with ethanol-related complaints.

Beyond degrading internal engine components, Olmstead said ethanol-blended fuels might have even more grave effects on boat motors in warm climates.

“Ethanol blended fuels have lower boiling point, and with the hotter temperatures here in South Florida that could lead to more vapor lock problems,” he explained.

Although marine engine manufacturers are addressing the ethanol problem by redesigning internal motor components, Olmstead recommends steering clear of blended fuels even if you're motoring around on the latest engine tech.

“It's still best to avoid ethanol blends at this point, even though the manufacturers are working to address the problems,” he said. “Until there's a motor out there that's guaranteed to be ethanol compliant, I wouldn't use it just to be on the safe side.”

As for the type of gas that's easiest on marine engines, Carson said the octane level is not as important as how long it spends in the motor before being burned.

“The freshest gas is always the best choice, regardless of octane,” Carson said. “High-octane gas ages quicker, regular is a little more stable. Either way, if you put your boat away for months at a time, it's best to take any gas out of the boat engine instead of letting it sit.”