Ethanol fuel blends effects in the marine industry

Ethanol fuel blends are making their way to our neighborhoods, as of July 1st, 2008 Cannons Marina will be offering 10 percent or less ethanol in our fuel. The characteristics of ethanol, even when blended in ratios of as little as 10 percent, are:
• Attracts and absorbs moisture from the air. Boaters will likely face more fuel contamination issues from water absorbed through their fuel tank vents.
• Dissolves some solid materials (and can loosen any corrosion), e.g., varnish or even oxidation in steel and aluminum tanks, commonly found in fuel tanks, thereby contaminating the fuel.
• Ethanol has been known to dissolve components of the fuel system itself (e.g., fiberglass fuel tanks). Modern fuel hoses are made to withstand the effects of ethanol exposure.
• Can react chemically with MTBE fuel blends, causing additional contamination.
• Fuel blends using as much as 10 percent ethanol are appropriate for use in all of Yamaha’s current outboard models. Yamaha does not recommend the use of fuels with higher concentrations of ethanol (e.g., E85, which contains 85 percent ethanol) or any other fuel blend that contains more than 10 percent ethanol.
Yamaha Motors recommends boaters (as applicable) take the following steps to mitigate the potential impact of ethanol in motor fuel:
• Use fuel system components that are compatible with ethanol blends or replace those in use that are not compatible (e.g., fiberglass fuel tanks).
• Avoid co-mingling MTBE and ethanol-blended fuels. Boaters should be advised to use only one supplier for fuel purchases in the months ahead to ensure constancy during the industry changeover period from MTBE to ethanol blends.
• Install a Yamaha mini-10™ filter or 10-Micron filter (the smaller mini-10 is designed for smaller boats with engines 115hp and under). Both Yamaha products filter out contaminants and separate water from fuel.
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• Carry spare filter cartridges in the event the filter element becomes clogged with contaminants while the outboard is in use.
NOTE: All Yamaha products, rigging, accessories and parts, including Yamalube lubricants and fuel stabilizers are compatible with fuel blends using up to 10 percent ethanol.