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.
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.
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.