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Boats can Use Fuel with Ethanol


With Memorial Day comes the official start of the summer boating season, and the ethanol industry is working hard to correct the misconceptions about using ethanol blended fuel in marine engines. Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Vice President of Industry Relations Robert White talked with HAT about what boaters should know when they go to fill up at the dock this summer, “Using 10% ethanol fuel will not cause a problem in your boat engine.”  Even older boat engines do not have a problem with using a 10% blend, and White says only a small number of engines have ever had an issue with fuel that contains ethanol. White adds that fuel with 15% ethanol has not been approved for boat engines and, thus, should not be used.

Since marine equipment operates and is often stored in a wet environment, engine and fuel system design and operations must preclude any water or moisture introduction to the fuel system. Marine fuel systems are robust in nature; however, the fuel system may not be conducive to a visual inspection or identification of any environmental influences that may have resulted in a poor fuel quality condition. All but the latest watercraft models have fuel systems vented to the atmosphere which may require extra precaution. Boat owners know that following proper storage guidelines and a recommended maintenance schedule will ensure the boat is kept in proper operating condition.

In rare instances, older marine and two stroke outboard engines and fuel systems have experienced incompatibility with ethanol-blended fuels, resulting in system failures. One way to avoid this situation is to know your equipment and follow the engine manufacturer’s recommendations. Special concern pertains to older, in-hull fiberglass tanks. The polyester resins used in the fiberglass of older watercraft (generally prior to 1991) may not be compatible with ethanol blends. Check with the local marina if the possibility exists to retrofit or re-line the fuel tank of concern. Additionally, state regulating agencies may have fuel composition information available for your area.

Get more information at https://www.ethanolrfa.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/RFA-Update-for-Boat-Owners-20141.pdf