Ethanol Issues, Continued

Ethanol Issues, Continued

Yesterday we established the potential problems with the Environmental Protection Agency’s push to mandate higher ratios of ethanol in outboard fuel mixes. Most notably, a 15 percent ethanol mix would prove harmful to carburetors and especially fuel tanks in small private crafts, costing the boating industry millions in the long run. Today, let’s look at a few other potential headaches E10 and especially E15 could cause boat owners.

For obvious reasons, a motor runs best on fuel that is consistent throughout – from the first drop to the last. The same is true for all machines that require 2 stroke oil: A lumpy mixture has a tendency to gum up the works, while a smooth, consistent blend will keep a motor running strong. When ethanol dissolves components from a fuel tank, those components flow along with the fuel into the rest of the system – including the engine. These chemicals congeal into black goo.

Even worse, E10 latches onto water molecules and holds them in a gelatinous state. This means just a little water in a fuel tank presents a unique problem with ethanol blends. The lumps of ethanol and water are more dense than the rest of the fuel, causing them to sink to the bottom of the tank. Over time, this sludge will build up and lead to additional problems. It goes without saying that an E15 mixture would only compound this already serious issue.

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