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In 2010 the EPA approved the use of E-15 claiming it was suitable for cars and light trucks built after 2001. Although approved in 2010, only one third of the states have adopted its use. Other states are introducing bills to pursue the “right to reject” the mandate and freeze Ethanol content at 10% – E-10.

If E-15 is used in marine engines, 2-stroke or 4-stroke, it burns too hot damaging valves and pistons – misfires and blows out gaskets. It has also been found to dissolve fuel lines. Periodic use of stabilizers will not change the reactions of E-15.

Many manufacturers of marine engines have warned damage caused by E-15 can and will void warranties. This caution may very well become the guideline for other small gas-fueled products.

A choice to use Ethanol-free fuel may not work. It is not always readily available or abundant. It is more expensive and not always found at marine fuel stops. If you use the E-Free fuel, it may cause your fuel tank to shed rust or contaminants already caused by the use of E-10.

If you chose to use E-Free, carry a couple of extra filters and water separators and use them for a half dozen fuel fills. Be sure to add a good fuel stabilizer.

You have to be very diligent when fueling at a gas station to avoid pushing the wrong choice on the pump. New style pumps often have only one discharge therefore you must select the fuel you wish to receive. Carefully read all instructions and notices on the pump because a mistake in grade could be very costly.

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16 Responses to E-15

  1. Gary says:

    What Tim is saying is absolutely correct. I run E-10/93 octane in my boat exclusively. (23 foot Tidewater / Yamaha F250 4-stroke.) I have a 103 gal tank that I fill after every trip, usually about 25-35 gals each time and Sta-bil Marine religiously. 1oz per 10 gal of fuel put in the tank. I also have a quality fuel water separator with clear drain bowl on it. In the past 3 years and over 400 hrs of use I have never had any build up of water in my fuel or any fuel related issues. If I’m going to let the boat sit for more than a month I boost the Sta-bil to about 1oz per 5 gal of fuel per Sta-bil instructions.

  2. Lynn Graves says:

    What remains to be said in this post is that when the fuel tank is sealed (such as in a modern car) then the moisture can’t get into the tank and corrosion will not take place. The vented tanks are the problem source since they allow atmospheric moisture laden air to be sucked into the tank (each night) due to air cooling contraction. The E-10 and E-15 attract that moisture into the fuel mix. As far as combustion is concerned, the BTU content is less hence less fuel efficiency per gallon. It is a rip off to pay top dollar for a gallon of fuel when is has been diluted with inferior BTU content from Ethenol.

  3. DDT says:

    E10 hype. They have had Ethanol in fuel longer than you can imagine. It wasn’t until that sticker showed up on the pump that someone started the snowball effect.

    To all those concerned: Change out your fuel lines. There are several (many I should say) options out there that are Ethanol resistant.
    For those with older engines, the same goes for your carb’s and injectors. Plenty of Ethanol proof kits with floats, gaskets, etc… that will work fine.
    Newer motors, use your fuel stabilizers and good filter/separators.
    As far as the future, give it 2 years and the outboards will come out E85 compatible.

  4. Chris Zinsmeister says:

    I know first hand how switching from E-10 to non Ethanol fuel can be. it ended up costing me $1500 to have all my carbs rebuilt on My twin 150’s. CRC makes a great stabilizer for you guys that have to run E-10, I think it is called Phase Guard 4. After I had my Carbs rebuilt (2010) I decided to run only non ethanol in my boats/yard equipment. I am in Central Florida and have access to 4-5 stations close by that carry it. Since then I have had no fuel related issues.

  5. VICTOR says:

    Using E15 will only give you more consumption of fuel. Adding ethanol reduces the BTU content of the fuel therefore you have to burn more to do the same amount of work.

  6. Leo Hiles says:

    I use Bell stabilizer great product when using E-10 & E-15 fuel. I use an in line filter also. I have no problem using E-10/E-15 with Bell.

  7. Bunghole says:

    Diesel is not affected by this thank goodness..

  8. Ivan Johnson says:

    I smell a very large class action lawsuit,Do you know how many motors would be junk,and marine engines ain’t cheap.I know that E10 or E15 will destroy a small 2 or 4 cycle carburetor in no time flat,and adding a good fuel stabilizer won’t help.I have replaced or rebuilt allot of carbs and fuel lines,i don’t know it the EPA knows how much damage this would cost in the event there is class action charged to the EPA but i guess we would sue are selfs.

  9. Mike says:

    If you have no choice but to use the E-15 gas or park your boat what can you do to prevent damaging valves and pistons – misfires and blows out gaskets.

  10. Ken Wright says:

    This article is confusing. All along I have been reading that I should use ethanol free gas in my outboards. E-10 was bad, E-15 was worse, they both collect water and require you to increase the frequency of your water separator changes.

    Now you are saying:

    “If you chose to use E-Free, carry a couple of extra filters and water separators and use them for a half dozen fuel fills. Be sure to add a good fuel stabilizer.”

    Isn’t that backwards?

    Also, you say, that switching from E-10 to Ethanol free gas will loosen crap/rust in the gas tank caused by E-10. Is this true or did someone confuse Ethanol free gas with E-15 in this article?

    Any clarification would be appreciated.

    • Tim says:

      I think what the article is trying to say is that if you regularly use E-10 fuel, switching back to E-Free fuel can actually cause harm as well. E-10 fuels can leave deposits and cause corrosion. When E-Free fuels are used after E-10 use (especially when you let the E-10 fuel sit in your tank for long periods of time)they can cause these deposits and corrosion to release so it’s best to have extra filters in the event this happens.

      If you are running through a tank of fuel a month and using stabilizers, you’re less likely to see issues if your motor is compatible with E-10 fuels. A lot of competition guys have no problem with E-10 fuel, but they are burning it off at a rapid rate turning their tanks over regularly.

      I only ever use E-Free gas, but always carry a spare filter. It’s just good practice. Filter are really easy to change and not that expensive.

      Hope this helps.

  11. David Coldren says:

    What if your boat is at a marina that only has E-Grade gas is their anything you can do to stop damage.

    • Tim says:

      Depending on your climate (I live in Florida), you could keep your tank near full as much a possible…this leaves less room in your tank for condensation to develop…use fuel stabilizing additives every time you fill up, and use a good fuel/water separating filter. There is a lot of good information out there on this topic, I’d definitely read up. You know how it is, everyone has an opinion, so the more information you have the better informed yours will be.

      In my opinion, E-10 fuels only cause issues when they are used in non-compatible (older) engines, tanks, and lines and when they sit in the tank for a prolonged period of time. I think the sitting in the tank part is probably the problem most people face.

      Depending on the age of your vessel, the size of your vessel’s tank, and how frequently you burn through fuel, you may never notice a problem.

      • Tim says:

        Actually I want to be clear on something…I’m not at all suggesting the E-10 or E-15 fuels are nothing to be concerned about. I fully support the notion that E-Free fuels are far superior to E-10/15 fuels and that when possible it is best to maintain only E-Free fuels in your vessel.

        I’m just noting that not everyone will see an issue. A guy running a 15 Gal portable tank in the proper motor and fuel lines isn’t going to see the same issues that a guy who is running 300 gal tank half full of E-10 fuel that only gets filled once a year will see. That’s why it’s important to just read up and maintain a system that works best for your vessel.

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