Waves of Ethanol Misinformation

E10 can be safely used in marine engines and every marine engine manufactured today provides warranty coverage for E10, writes Bob Dinneen. To combat misinformation floating around, he encourages one-on-one conversations to keep the facts straight.
By Bob Dinneen | May 18, 2015

There is nothing quite like the feeling of being on the water on a clear summer day. Tennis champion Rafael Nadal once described it as, “I like fishing. Not actual fishing, I like the peace and quiet of being at sea. It’s different.” Boating is a beloved pastime for many Americans, whether taking part in fishing, water skiing or simply enjoying the exhilarating feeling of cruising on the water.

Over the years, a lot of misinformation has been creating waves when it comes to ethanol use in marine engines. In a sign of their desperation, API actually ran ads last year claiming that ethanol—and the renewable fuel standard (RFS)—will strand boaters on the water. Nothing could be further from the truth. But as the summer months rapidly approach, we must once again equip the boating community with the facts they need to cut through the wake of misinformation being churned up by the petroleum industry.

All boaters must know that E10 can safely be used in their marine engines. Oftentimes marine publications will exaggerate concerns about E15 marine use to vilify all ethanol blends; but E15 is not approved for use in these engines. However, E10 is perfectly fine for marine engines. It doesn’t matter whether their boat has a two-stroke or four-stroke engine, an in-board or out-board motor, or a built-in or portable fuel tank.

But, don’t just take my word for it. Every marine engine manufactured today provides warranty coverage for E10. The Honda owner’s manual for the BF25A/30A Outboard Motor states that “You may use gasoline containing up to 10 percent ethanol by volume.” Additionally, Yamaha owner’s manual for the F115 notes that “Gasohol containing ethanol can be used if ethanol content does not exceed 10 percent and the fuel meets minimum octane ratings.” Manufacturers would certainly not approve a fuel that would harm the product or the consumer. Similar language appears in the owner’s manuals for Kawasaki, Mercury Marine, OMC (Johnson/Evinrude), Pleasurecraft, Tigershark (Artco) and Tracker marine engines.

In addition to the owner’s manuals clearly approving E10, Vernon Barfield, former vice president and technical chairman of the National Boat Racing Association said that “There is a myth out there that 10 percent ethanol is not good for marine engines, but we have been operating for over 20 years and have not had any issues with it whatsoever.”  He continues, “…there are absolutely no problems running on 10 percent ethanol.”

We now have the facts from manufacturers and experts alike. So how do we disseminate the information? The new digital age offers a plethora of opportunities to easily get the word out at very little cost. It can be as easy as posting the information on Facebook or Twitter.  E-mail also offers a quick and easy way to send the information to family and friends.

But, let’s not forget traditional media and the power of one-on-one interaction. Individuals or groups can write an op-ed or submit a letter to the editor of the local paper, ultimately reaching a larger audience. But, nothing can compete with one-on-one conversation. Have a conversation with boaters filling up at the local gas stations, strike up a discussion when launching your boat at the boat dock or chat with the local gas station owner to make sure they have the correct facts for their customers. Every little bit helps calm the waves of ethanol misinformation and create a more informed boating community.

Author: Bob Dinneen
President and CEO,
Renewable Fuels Association
202-289-3835