No End to Ethanol Problems

We see more maintenance and reliability issues for fishermen and recreational boaters arising from ethanol-blend gasoline than any other source. Older and newer engines alike are affected by alcohol and alcohol-related byproducts created in fuel as it ages, and the longer it sits the worse it gets.

Nearly every fuel and combustion system component filters, fuel lines, fuel cells, primer bulbs, fuel pumps, vapor separator tanks, pistons, piston rings, carburetor fuel bowls and fuel injectors are subjected directly and/or indirectly to the adverse effects of ethanol in gasoline.

Fuel quality and shelf life is the lowest it has ever been and it could get worse. Currently most gasoline contains about 10% ethanol and plans to raise the standard to 15% are being considered. I would venture to say that gasoline containing 10% ethanol is costing the average boater about 33% more to maintain their boats than fuel blends sold only a few years ago.

A simple example: Alcohol destroys fuel lines and the price of fuel line has risen nearly 400% in recent years. Better quality 3/8 line is up to almost $7.00/foot and, though vitally important, fuel line is a minor component, cost-wise.

And another: When the present supply of clear plastic 40-gallon fuel cells that sold for about $350 for years is exhausted, only a newer and more ethanol-compatible replacement will be availableto the tune of about $1600. The new tanks will be multi-layered plastic (to keep fuel molecules from seeping into the atmosphere).

These are but two examples of where things are headed. I firmly believe technology should evolve and move forward, but only technology that provides true benefit should be forced on the boating public.

Environmental stewardship is the responsibility of all outdoor enthusiasts. Mandating higher cost of ownership and operation based purely on theory is not responsible, and it is time we talked to our state representatives about ethanol-free access for recreational equipment. The federal level will no doubt be more complicated but it is time to at least begin the conversation.

This is a great website for learning who your representatives are and how to contact them directly. My personal email is [email protected] and any suggestions on getting this dialog started would be helpful for all of us.

Use your fuel additives; every tank, every time.
Have a safe and fun summer boating season.

Chris Mapp
Coastal Bend Marine–Port O'Connor, TX–361 983 4841