United Marine Underwriters Boat insuranceBoat InsuranceBoat Insurance boat insurance
Blog | UMU Home | Agents Home | Boat Owners | Boat Insurance | About Us | Contact Us

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), set in 2005, mandated the EPA dictate that an increasing number of gallons of ethanol be blended into the country’s fuel supply each year. Numbers of gallons were to be achieved by certain target dates. The incentive was to increase the amount of renewable fuel we use and decrease dependence on fossil fuels.

Fast forward twelve years; the EPA is planning another increase, up to 15% blend of ethanol for 2017. According to federal law, an agency is required to seek public input before moving forward on a proposed directive. Last June they received comments from the public, UnitedMairne.net/Boat-Insurancemany who have already experienced fuel system failures. Manufacturers of all engines; boats, motorcycles, lawn mowers, chain saws, generators, and numerous other small engines responded. Manufactures made adjustments for the use of E-10, but they reported there are no adjustments to prevent the damage which will occur from the use of E-15 blended fuels.

Before the 2017 deadline, due to pressure by lobbies, E-15 was distributed in 24 states even though the damage potential caused by it was commonly known. Many states have refused to allow its dispersal. Many manufacturers deem it illegal and dictate warranty terminations will occur for engines found to contain it. In response to public outcry, the EPA slightly reduced the mandate, but unless Congress passes legislation altering or repealing the RFS, they are required by law to continue.

If the EPA cannot adjust its mandates, these federal requirements will lead to the destruction of many engines. CAUTION: Do not top off your fuel tank with the cheaper E-15, no matter how many stabilizers you add.

Share →

16 Responses to Ethanol Update

  1. Michael Valentine says:

    Need to make it law that EVERY gas station have 1 pump with non ethanol gas. It destroys your fuel systems in outboards.

  2. Joe Young says:

    I have used E85 in my FFV since 2008. Early on, the mileage did suffer but the engine performance for me was better. Now I find no mileage reduction. With prices for E85 typically $.50- .70 cents less than regular gasoline, it is a no brainer. I also have a collector pickup truck with a 454 V8. Have used the blended ethanol with no problems. Maybe the API is convincing us this stuff is bad for your engines.

    • GMG says:

      E85 is 85% ethanol and yes your gas mileage will be much less due to the fact that ethanol has less BTUs per gallon than gasoline. It’s a fact. 1.5 gallons of ethanol has the same energy content as 1.0 gallon of gasoline. A flex-fuel vehicle will experience about 76% of the fuel mileage MPG when using E85 (85% ethanol) products as compared to 100% gasoline. So unless the E85 costs less than 76% of gasoline it is NOT cheaper. Also, during storage ethanol attracts water (one end of the molecule is hydrophobic) thus as the fuel tank has air flowing in and out moisture in the air will be pulled into the fuel (bigger problem with boats sitting on the water). While this is not so much an issue when driving a vehicle daily its a big problem for an engine that sits for a month or more. It can ruin an engine if fuel stabilizer additives are not used. Besides causing it to run rough and cause rust, a slug of water can hit the engine causing significant physical internal damage. Also, your engine better be designed for E85. 85% ethanol can cause damage to many parts not designed for it.

  3. Robert White says:

    Some facts:

    There is no E15 mandate, or attempt. EPA has proposed that the volume of ethanol for 2017 would be above the blend wall of 10% ethanol. The proposed number would put the overall blend rate at 10.4% for 2017. What the author failed to recognize is that we are currently blending at 10.8% today. So, the fear of this article is less than what is actually being consumed today.

    Another important point is that as more higher blends of ethanol are sold, it actually allows more ethanol free to be sold. The law does not state anything about all gasoline needing to contain ethanol, it is a total amount to be blended. If you want ethanol free, you should be supportive of others wanting to use ethanol, as it will increase your chances of finding it.

    The availability of E0/E10 is not going anywhere. There are millions of cars, trucks, boats, motorcycles and small engines that can’t use anything higher. In fact, it would be illegal. Fuel retailers know all of this.

    Finally, E15 has spread because of the fuel’s qualities, not because of lobbies(?). E15 is higher octane at a lower price, and approved for 80% of all vehicles on the roads. Companies like Sheetz, RaceTrac, Kum & Go, Murphy USA and others are embracing and quickly. It increases their margins and lowers consumer price. Win-win.


    I collect old Farm Tractors and ethanol caused all kinds of problems and expense. 2014 Ford 150 gets 4 + miles per gallon more, when i leave Texas and go to Wis for summer where you can buy “recreational”gas .. no ethanol. Texas gives you no choice …all grades contain ethanol.

  5. Desmond says:

    Glad non ethanol gasoline is available here in Florida at some gas stations. Ethanol is welfare for corporate farmers. I can’t buy non ethanol in CT where I have my Summer boat.

  6. Barry Tracy says:

    Maybe now Trump will get rid of this corn cartel legislation

  7. Michael Baldini says:

    If the EPA knows it will harm engines, why are they still mandating 15%. Is it still possible to get just plain unleaded gas before they add the ethanol? I have heard that some states allow this. Is Michigan one of those states and where in Michigan can I get it without having to sell my grandkids (joke) to afford it

  8. Capt. Duke says:

    I generally leave my tanks (140 gal. main and 70 gal. aux) 1/2 to 3/4 full. I was told the most important thing is to put fresh gas in the Spring. I use Phase4 when I winterize and burn the old gas asap in the Spring and get fresh gas into the tanks.

  9. vj picotte says:

    Mike – Where did you read that 91 octane had no ethanol? The only fuel that does not contain ethanol is labeled as such.

    • Walt Roberts says:

      In Minnesota, there is a variant at the pump for 91 Octane Alcohol free fuel. It is placarded “Only for use in Off Road, small engine, boats, snowmobiles and antique vehicles.” Airplanes are off road vehicles (unless you mix the alcohol with the gas, then all bets are off). Minnesota only has the exception for 91 octane and not 87 octane which my low compression O470R will use just fine.

      Michigan: alcohol free fuel at the pump went away with Jennifer Granholm (ex-governor) eliminating the placarding of pumps indicating the ethanol content. You can still find it at some jobbers in Michigan, but you have to ask around and look for it. Most will only sell in 100 gallon lots. It’s about $1/gallon more than alcohol-laced fuel.

      Don’t use alcohol tainted fuel in aircraft or 2-stroke engines. Badness will happen. Especially in chain saw and snowmobile engines.

  10. Mike Hackman says:

    E10 is bad enough for marine engines, etc.. Not to mention the strong possibility of phase seperation in boat gas tanks in boats not used for a few months.

    I only use the 91 octane premium in my boat, lawn mower, leaf blower, snowmobile, etc. and the extra cost is well worth it to me. And the “shelf life” is alot better with the 91 oct premium.

  11. Bob Goman says:

    When storing your boat for the winter, what is the proper amount of fuel to put into your fuel tank (along with stabilizer)for the winter storage period. Are you supposed fill it up?

    • Fred Niederhausen says:

      I’ve always kept the tank 1/2 to 5/8 full, never had a problem, been doing it for over 20 years. My tank is 180 gallons. My previous boat 60 gallons.

    • Bob Evnas says:

      Yes fill your tank to capacity. This will reduce water condensation in your tank while stored. Ff you can find REC90 fuel that would be even better as it does not contain ethanol.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    PageLines by PageLines
    Site MapPrivacy
    boat insurance