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Ask The Experts | Ethanol-based Fuel Quiz


  • Ask The Experts | Ethanol-based Fuel Quiz

    One of the biggest questions boaters face is how ethanol-laced fuel will affect their machinery. Test your knowledge of e-laced fuels.
    1. True or False? One of the best ways to prevent issues with your motor, if you are required to use E10 gasoline (gasoline with 10 percent ethanol), is to keep the tank full as often as possible. The mariner's dilemma with ethanol-based fuel is phase separation; this occurs when water is absorbed into the fuel. When this happens with E10 fuels, the ethanol is pulled out of the gas and absorbed by the water. The only solution for phase-separated fuel is disposal of the entire fuel load, a thorough cleaning of the tank and starting over with a new load of E10 fuel. At that point, the risk of phase separation can be minimized by keeping the tank near full at all times, since moisture develops from the amount of open area in a tank. Reducing that area reduces the amount of water that can enter the air. You'll also increase the life of the motor by running a non-alcohol-based fuel stabilizer to prevent separation from occurring over extended periods. True.
    2. True or False? Fuel varnishing is a process that can cause a gummy residue to clog an engine. Fuel varnishing is a process that can leave a gummy substance in fuel injectors and engine as the gasoline deteriorates. Varnishing isn't new, but ethanol is a solvent that releases this varnish, clogging filters, injectors and other downstream fuel-system components. True.
    3. True or False? E10 fuel products are mandatory in six states (with some exemptions for the marine industry). The six states are Minnesota, Missouri, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Florida. True.
    4. True or False? E-laced fuels pose a threat only to boaters running outboard motors. If you run a gasoline-powered inboard, you need to be aware of the e-issue as well. False.
    5. Ethanol can cause:
      • a) Carburetors and fuel filters to become clogged with residual deposits.
        b) Water contamination in fuel tanks.
        c) Fiberglass fuel tanks to dissolve.
        d) An engine to run on pure ethanol, significantly damaging the motor.
        e) All of the above
      If phase-separation occurs, as described in answer 1, when the fuel level happens to be low enough to reach the pickup, your engine can gulp ethanol. All of the above.
    6. True or False? The more you run a current-model motor on e-laced fuel, the less problems you'll have. The more any marine engine is run and serviced, the less complications you'll experience with it. True.
    7. If you own an older boat with rubber fuel lines (say from the 1980s), ethanol poses:
      • a) Grave danger.
        b) Little danger.
        c) A bit of a problem
        d) All of the above.
        e) None of the above.
      Fuel lines that are circa 1985 or older can break down due to exposure to ethanol, and at the very least it can gum up the engine. All of the above.
    8. True or False? "Straight gasoline" is no longer available for boaters. Some marinas offer nonethanol fuel - albeit at a premium. For boaters working from a trailer, however, things are a little bit tougher. False.
    9. Ethanol-laced fuel products are diluted with an alcohol base derived from:
      • a) Potatoes.
        b) Beet root.
        c) Cabbage.
        d) Carrots.
        e) None of the above.
      The alcohol for e-fuels is derived from corn. Feasibility studies are also under way to determine if they can be made from switch grass and algae. None of the above.
    10. If you are a boater and are concerned about the rise of ethanol-laced fuel in boating, you should contact:
      • a) Your marina.
        b) Your local congressman.
        c) Your U.S. senator.
        d) The environmental protection agency.
        e) All of the above.
    Let your thoughts be known about e-laced fuels by contacting all of your government representatives. All of the above.
    [EDITOR'S NOTE] Save now on Boat Fuel System Parts.
    Article courtesy of Boating Magazine. To subscribe or view additional news from Boating Magazine, go to boatingmag.com.
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