Why worry about fuel and fuel treatment?
In the spring of 2006, most gasoline refiners switched to ethanol-blended fuels. The reason they switched was to reduce ground water pollution (and cancer causing risk) associated with MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), the chemical that had been used in the past to oxygenate fuel/gasoline.
Gasoline mixed with 10% ethanol is now in widespread use in most U.S. States that have recently banned MTBE.
While ethanol (alcohol) is safer to the environment than MTBE, recent concerns have been raised by the outboard, boating and marine industry, since high levels of ethanol is known to cause serious damage/problems in most engines and motors. E.G. outboards, airplanes, lawn mowers, farming equipment...
As increased ethanol-blend gas is mandated, we expect outboard motor breakdowns will rise.
Briefly, ethanol's adverse effects to motors include stalling, all types of performance issues, deterioration of engine parts, rusting, clogging of fuel filters and carburetor jets, contamination of the fuel system, release of gunk and sludge throughout the engine and eventually engine death. Boat owners, especially in New York, Connecticut and California, who unknowingly used gas with high levels of ethanol (sold since Spring 2006), have been reporting major engine problems associated with the use of these new ethanol-gas mixtures.
Ethanol has always been banned for use in airplane engines, due to the well-documented problems it will cause. The FAA issued another warning this month against using ethanol-blend gasoline in airplane engines. (November 2006 - See information source # 4 at end of article). The very dangerous effects ethanol fuels have on marine engines is similar (and for the same reasons), known for a long time in the aeronautic and farming industry. The FAA and other agencies bans/exempts use of alcohol-blended fuels on aircraft and farming equipment.
Recent fuel testing revealed that the % of alcohol (ethanol) present at the pump, varies widely. Below 10% ethanol is considered acceptable by most marine engine manufacturers.
Every state differs on their regulation and laws pertaining to ethanol and fuel.
All agree, that ethanol above 10% will cause damage and/or performance/running issues with outboard engines
Ethanol Gasoline : From the mid 2000 years we are seeing most of the fuel being an E10, or 10% alcohol. This formulation is NOT good news for the boating industry/owner. This fuel can effect the older rubber fuel lines by softening them & allowing them to collapse internally. So you may need to replace your fuel lines with the newer alcohol resistant lines. An interesting feature of Ethanol in gas is its cleaning ability. It will over time remove all those old layers of varnish from previous gasoline which then gets deposited in the fuel filter, plugging it and anything that gets thru the filter ends up in the carburetor or injector making life miserable for the boat owner/mechanic.
Gasoline is made without additives & delivered to in that form to the distributors. These distributors add the additive depending on who it is sold to.
Outboard motor owners who have no choice of gasoline should not try to not use fuel that is over 3 months old, stabilizer will help for another couple of months, but it may be beneficial to drain out the old fuel in the spring of the year & use it for your old truck, lawn mower or something that can be pushed home instead of towed. ARCO brand was the first since about 1999 usually has 10% alcohol in it & is actually called gasohol by some. As of 2008 about all gasoline companies have added a blended gasoline at the pumps. This is bad news to those of you boaters who refuel at automotive stations. This alcohol additive may soften your fuel lines, fuel pump diaphragms, carburetor gaskets & not be compatible with some of the older motors.
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