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Higher ethanol levels questioned

Jul 10, 2014

Courtesy Yamaha

Ethanol-gasoline is widely available at pumps across the U.S. and may be the future of affordable fuel. Many boaters, however, aren't happy with a fuel that, in many cases, doesn’t work with outboard engines. The Missouri Corn Growers Association (MCGA) revently released a statement calling for more ethanol to be used at the pumps to combat the high price of gasoline. The Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS), however, questions whether this fuel can be used as universally as proponents suggest. Some boaters have already realized that higher blends of corn-based ethanol are incompatible with outboard boat engines.

“Ever since 10% ethanol gas has been on the market, boaters have experienced problems with engine and fuel systems. Now, with higher blends like 15% ethanol (E15) coming to the pump, consumers need to be really careful about misfueling,” commented BoatUS Government Affairs Senior Program Coordinator, David Kennedy in a recent press release.

“On a boat, bad fuel can escalate quickly to a stopped engine, placing those aboard and the boat itself in jeopardy. And boaters know that higher ethanol blends, such as E15, will only cause more damage to the outboard boat engines. The EPA has specifically prohibited the use of E15 in marine engines, and currently, there is not one boat motor designed or warrantied to use with more than E10.”

Kennedy continued, “While all of us are tired of shelling out an arm and a leg for gas, boaters are also sick and tired of having engines fail and paying large repair bills. BoatUS strongly believes renewable fuels are an important part of our nation’s energy future, and we aren’t anti-corn farmer. But as a country, we can’t ignore the fact that corn-based ethanol may not be the savior – or profit center – that many had hoped.”

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