Contact Your Congressman About E10 Fuels

Dare Marina Customer: As you may have been made painfully aware, the requirement that gasoline fuel must be mixed with at least 10% Ethanol has caused serious and expensive issues in the boating community. The picture to the left demonstrates one of the many problems that boaters have encountered, in this case the affinity that E10 has for water and the resulting of phase separation that can occur. This is only one of a number of problems, as noted below. Many of our customers have asked what they can do about this issue? Certainly one positive action is to write your members of Congress and request they take interest in the damage the E10 mandate is causing to the boating community. You should also urge that the suggestions for use of Ethanol in higher concentrations be strongly resisted. E15 or E20 is being discussed. That no manufacturer claims his equipment compatible with these concentrations seems to be either not understood or overlooked for political expediency. We have developed a letter that you can use as a basis for communication with your Congressmen. Customize it to your situation and mail or e-mail it today.

Dear Congressman

I am writing you in dismay about the very serious consequences that result from ethanol in marine fuels. As a direct result of this fuel introduced into my boat, I have recently experienced a very expensive failure. My understanding from others in my boating community is that the detrimental impact of E10 fuels is in no way limited to me, but is widespread across the boating community. As a congressman (or senator) representing an area with a large boating population, I think you should be aware of this situation, and join with like minded colleagues to remove this danger from the boating public. I also expect that similar problems will be begin to become manifest in the automobile world, especially as the industry moves to more use of aluminum to lighten vehicles and improve mileage.

I understand that the requirement for ethanol was initiated with good intentions. My impression as that many of those intentions directed at protecting the environment have proved in practice to be between marginal and negative. Also, the intent to reduce our use of foreign oil could certainly be better accomplished by allowing more drilling in the USA, and the negative energy balance of refining ethanol would be avoided.

As you may not be aware of the impacts of ethanol on the boating public let me list a few, some of which are just emerging.

  • Ethanol attacks elastomers, such as hoses, fuel pump diaphragms, etc. While newer formulations are better than the old, none truly do well.
  • Ethanol attacks fiberglass – this is especially detrimental in fiberglass fuel tanks.
  • The residual sulfates from wet processing of raw materials for making ethanol reform to sulfurous acid in the fuel tank, and destroy the protective film on aluminum surfaces of aluminum fuel tanks. Once this process begins, filters, fuel injectors, etc. clog with Aluminum Oxide, requiring major maintenance to restore the motor and a major rebuild of the boat to tear out the old fuel tank and replace it. (Note – this issue has only recently been recognized as a major problem)
  • If excess water (more than 0.5%) finds its way into the fuel, phase separation occurs and the ethanol and water drop out of the fuel. This can result in a break down, and put the boater in harms way. If the fuel pickup is above the ethanol/water mixture, the loss of octane in the fuel causes pre-ignition and can destroy the engine’s pistons.
  • All manufacturers void their warranties if the engine is subjected to bad fuel, which includes any fuel with Ethanol content greater than 10%. But recently it has been revealed that some vendors’ fuels have been tested as high as 30%. How or why that is happening is unknown.
  • If the boat fuel is left unused for extended periods, E10 fuels deteriorate and octane is lost. Lab tests have shown this can occur as quickly as within one month, especially if the fuel tank is exposed to direct sunlight. Again, the loss of octane can destroy the engine.

The above list represents only what is currently being experienced, and new problems are likely as marine engines systems are subjected to longer exposures to Ethanol fuels. I urge you to take action to bring the use of Ethanol in fuels to an early end.