Marine Boating Gasoline - Fuel System
Technical Information by The Outboard Wizard
Mercury - Honda - Nissan - Evinrude - Johnson - Yamaha...

- Bombardier - Evinrude - Honda - Indmar - Johnson - Mercury - Nissan - Pleasurecraft - Suzuki -

With the increased distribution of ethanol (alcohol) blended fuels, many outboard boat owners are asking:  
What type of fuel does my outboard engine manufacturer recommend?

Check your boat motor's owners' and service manual first.  Older engines and some 2 and 4 Stroke engines are especially at risk from damage due to the use of alcohol (ethanol) blended fuels.  Ethanol is NOT compatible with fiberglass and can also disintegrate some plastic, rubber engine parts.

Using the correct type and blend of gas in your outboard engine is critical to your engine's performance and life expectancy.

Since most states in the U.S. are switching to 10 % ethanol alcohol blended fuels, you may need to update and replace parts in your engine, to protect your outboard motor from the potential harmful effects of ethanol on outboard engine components.

E85 is an alternative fuel - it is not gasoline.  Do NOT ever use E85 fuel in your outboard motor!
E85 is becoming more widely available as auto manufacturers design new automobiles specifically made to run on these alternative fuels.  Caution: Gasoline containing ethanol may also be marketed under the name “Gasohol”.

Most outboard manufacturers permit ethanol fuel blends of 1-10 %, but also report that ethanol can damage your engine and cancel your warranty if you use fuel containing more than 10 % alcohol.

Be aware of the symptoms and effects on your engine that will occur when using the wrong type of fuel (gas).  Often the first symptom of using fuel that is bad for your marine engine will be stalling  when accelerating with WOT.
Using the wrong type of fuel will cause symptoms ranging from frequent stalling to engine death.

Simple actions now, will protect you from costly repairs later.

Available November 2006!
An inexpensive FUEL TEST KIT to check the gas your buying has safe levels of ethanol and other potentially damaging fuel alcohols.  Email the Outboard Wizard for ordering instructions.

For more information on symptoms and cures for outboard problems due to improper fuel, see article by "The Outboard Wizard", READ Protect Your Outboard Engine from Damage Due to Ethanol Blend Fuels.

Always review your outboard marine manufacturers manuals for specific fuel recommendations.

Information sources include:  EPA - Environmental Protection Agency,  RFA - Renewable Fuels Association, NMMA - National Marine Manufacturers Association, ACE - American Coalition for Ethanol, EAA - The Leader in Recreational Aircraft Aviation...
(1) Herman & Associates; Washington, DC.
(2) Outboard Manufacturer Service, Owner, Repair and Shop Manuals.
(3) NREL - National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Golden, Colorado;
"Issues Associated with the use of higher ethanol blends".
(4) NMMA Government Relations - National Marine Manufacturers Association; Chicago Illinois.
(5) EPA - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; National Vehicle and Fuel Emissions Laboratory, Ann Arbor, Michigan.
(6) November 2006, FAA - EAAWarning against using fuels containing ethanol.

The Outboard Wizard - Update 11/12/06

Outboard Marine Fuel Recommendations

BRP Bombardier Corporation Evinrude Johnson E-Tec Outboards.
Evinrude Johnson E-Tec...
Unleaded gasoline is recommended for most outboard marine engines.

Read the tables below for more specific recommendations, manufacturer guidelines and necessary precautions for your engine model.  Always check your service or owners' manual for information.
Evinrude - Johnson
Outboard Marine Corporation
(BRP - Bombardier Recreational Products)
  • Operates on unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane of 87 or higher.
  • MTBE content should not exceed 15 %.
  • Alcohol-extended fuels are acceptable ONLY if the alcohol content does not exceed 10%:
       Maximum acceptable alcohol by volume: 10 % Ethanol or 10 % methanol with 5 % cosolvents.

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Evinrude Outboard Motors Parts and Props by The Outboard Wizard.
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Utopia Sport Boat
(4 Stroke 4-Tec Engine)
  • Use regular unleaded gasoline with a octane of 87.
Caution: The use of any other fuel can lead to craft performance deterioration and damage to the fuel system and engine components.
  • Never use fuel containing alcohol, methanol or naptha.
  • Do not mix oil with fuel except at break-in.
  • Has an oil-injection fuel system.
Mercury Marine
  • Use unleaded gasoline with a minimum octane of 87 or higher.
  • Gasoline that contains fuel injector cleaner is preferred.
  • Mercury does NOT recommend the use of gasoline that contains alcohol.
  • E85 may not be used in Mercury engines.  Up to 10 % ethanol blends may be used.
  • The use of ethanol fuels higher than 10 % can void your warranty.
Mercury warns that using fuels that contain alcohol can cause damage and problems with your outboard engine and fuel system which includes:
Starting, stalling and operating difficulties. Corrosion, deterioration and damage to metal, plastic and internal engine parts.  Fuel starvation can also occur.

Copyright 2000 - 2007. Lindenhurst Outboard Inc.  New York - Florida. All Rights Reserved.
The Outboard Wizard - Outboard Marine Engine Fuel Recommendations.

Ethanol - Fuel? Gas? Corn? What is it?

Protect Your Outboard Engine from Damage Due to Ethanol Blend Fuels.

Boating Article: Marine engine ethanol alcohol fuel damage and precautions. By The Outboard Wizard, Evinrude-Parts.

Summary of Dangers and Precautions - Alcohol Fuels in Marine Engines.


Honda engines are designed for good performance and efficient operation using gasoline containing from 0 to 10% ethanol.

Honda engines, similar to most other outboards are not designed or certified to run on E85 or any other alternative fuel.

Gasohol - There are two types of gasohol: gasohol containing ethanol and that containing methanol. Gasohol containing ethanol can be used if ethanol content does not exceed 10 % and the fuel meets minimum octane ratings.
Honda Marine
5/2007 Article: Outboard Marine Fuel Recommendations:
Evinrude-Parts, The Outboard Wizard.