Ethanol and Boats: A Perfect Summer Combination

FROM THE JUNE ISSUE: Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen dispels misinformation about E10 being used in boats.
By Bob Dinneen | May 29, 2018

The weather is getting warmer, summer is nearly here, and that means boaters all across this county will soon be enjoying time on the water. But that also means consumers can enjoy the same energy, economic and environmental benefits of ethanol, whether on the road or in the water.

There are 12 million recreational boats in the U.S. and all of them are compatible with E10. For nearly 30 years, E10 has helped provide an extra octane boost to marine engines. E10 is the fuel of choice for many boaters because of its high performance and lower emissions. Ethanol is safe, it’s already used by many boaters and it helps clean out engines. I continue to be surprised, however, by the misinformation about ethanol and boats.

That’s why the Renewable Fuels Association is again the co-title sponsor of the Crappie Masters National Tournament Trail this year. One of the unique elements of this tournament is that every winning team’s boat for the past three-plus years has been powered by ethanol. Additionally, the winners of the 2017 Crappie Masters Tournament even noted that fueling with E10 played a factor in their championship, yielding great performance for their team.

Week after week, I’m thrilled to hear that Crappie Masters teammates in Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, Texas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Illinois are powering their boats with clean-burning ethanol. How clean? By displacing hydrocarbon substances like aromatics in gasoline, ethanol helps reduce emissions of air toxics, particulate matter, carbon monoxide, nitrous oxides and exhaust hydrocarbons. Plus, corn ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 percent compared to gasoline. Boaters care about the environment, and powering with ethanol helps keep air and water clean.

Ethanol is also a homegrown fuel that boosts local economies. Many of these weekly Crappie Masters tournaments are held in states that have ethanol plants, giving consumers the chance to fuel up with a locally made product that helps employ nearly 360,000 nationwide. Buying local extends to fuel in many parts of the country, and especially for boaters on this tournament trail.

But while E10 is approved for use in all marine engines, higher ethanol blends, such as E15, are not. Just like gasoline, federal regulations require higher ethanol blends be clearly labeled at the pump. In the six years since E15 has been offered, there has not been a single reported case of E15 misfueling in a marine or any other engine.

So as boaters enjoy the waters this summer, they can get that extra octane boost—and know they’re doing right by the environment and our economy—by using E10.


Author: Bob Dinneen
President and CEO
Renewable Fuels Association
202.289.3835
bobd@ethanolrfa.org