Anderson: Manufacturers warn about ethanol harming engines

  • Article by: DENNIS ANDERSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 1, 2014 - 11:47 PM

Boat-motor manufacturers are stressing that marine engines should not be powered by E15, which is gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER , Star Tribune file

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

Mercury Marine has joined other boat-motor manufacturers in stressing that marine engines should not be powered by E15, which is gasoline that contains 15 percent ethanol.

The blended fuel, which is available at a limited number of gas stations in Minnesota, is “extremely harmful to marine engines,” Mercury said in a recent announcement.

Most gasoline sold in Minnesota contains 10 percent ethanol. The E15 blend has been available at a handful of stations since last fall, and Mercury Marine, along with the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI), are concerned that consumers don’t pay careful attention when purchasing gasoline and might buy fuel for small engines and boats that will harm the equipment and void warranties.

“We will continue to fight against E15 in marine engines and know the OPEI and NMMA will do the same. We need to get this message in the hands of every boater before they fill up because if they don’t know, they could damage their engine,” Mercury Marine vice president Marty Bass said. “Most of these failures don’t occur at the dock, but rather while you are on the water, which then becomes much more dangerous.”

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved gasoline with 15 percent ethanol for use in cars year 2001 or newer. But its use is prohibited in mowers and other power equipment, stating it might cause damage.

On its website, Yamaha outboards cites a Department of Energy study that “found that E15 caused hotter operating temperatures, erratic running, and engine-part failure,” adding, “but even gas with the usual 10 percent ethanol [E10] could help destroy small engines.”

Yamaha goes on to advise: “If at all possible, do not use E10 fuel.”

Fuel stabilizers such as Sta-Bil can mitigate possible problems with E10, Yamaha says, but notes: “Stabilizers do not help fuel that has already aged. Stabilizers are most effective when immediately added to fuel fresh from the gas station or marina fuel pump.”

In the end, if possible, it’s best to use nonoxygenated gas in boat motors, manufacturers say, as well as in lawn mowers and other power equipment.

Various websites online list gas stations in Minnesota that sell ethanol-free gas, and some sites provide maps of their locations.

One website with such a list is Also noted on the site are stations across the U.S. and Canada that sell ethanol-free gas.


Dennis Anderson

  • related content

  • Smith: Upper Red Lake was where action was

    Tuesday July 1, 2014

    Fishing pressure was down because of the weather on many state lakes, but word got around that the fish were biting on Red Lake.

  • State fishing report

    Tuesday July 1, 2014

    Alexandria area: Lake Reno, Ida, Miltona and the chain of the lakes (Carlos, Darling, Geneva and Lake Le Homme Dieu)...

  • Trophy Tales: A birthday fish

    Wednesday July 2, 2014

    (As told by stepson Mychal Greseth of Prior Lake.)Less than 20 minutes into his first Lake of the Woods experience,...

  • July 4 state park campsites still available

    Tuesday July 1, 2014

    camping optionsIt’s not too late to find a campsite for this weekend at a state park. See Another option:...

  • Gear alert: New lure? Find usage tips online

    Tuesday July 1, 2014

    The Internet is an excellent teaching tool, particularly for anglers who want to catch more fish but don’t know how...

  • More trophy tales

    Tuesday July 1, 2014

    Trophy talesTo be considered for our fishing page, e-mail your photo and story to Identify anglers and where they...

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.


Cincinnati - M. Lorenzen 6:05 PM
Pittsburgh - J. Locke
Miami - M. Latos 6:05 PM
Washington - S. Strasburg
NY Yankees - M. Pineda 6:07 PM
Toronto - M. Estrada
Philadelphia - C. Billingsley 6:10 PM
Atlanta - S. Miller
Baltimore - B. Norris 6:10 PM
NY Mets - B. Colon
Tampa Bay - D. Smyly 6:10 PM
Boston - R. Porcello
Los Angeles - Z. Greinke 7:10 PM
Milwaukee - M. Garza
Cleveland - D. Salazar 7:10 PM
Kansas City - J. Vargas
Detroit - S. Greene 7:10 PM
Chicago WSox - J. Samardzija
Oakland - J. Chavez 7:10 PM
Minnesota - T. May
Texas - W. Rodriguez 7:10 PM
Houston - S. Feldman
Chicago Cubs - K. Hendricks 7:15 PM
St. Louis - T. Lyons
Arizona - J. Collmenter 7:40 PM
Colorado - T. Matzek
Seattle - J. Paxton 9:05 PM
LA Angels - G. Richards
San Diego - A. Cashner 9:15 PM
San Francisco - R. Vogelsong
Washington 7:00 PM
Memphis 9:30 PM
Golden State
Chicago 7:00 PM
Anaheim 8:30 PM
San Jose 7:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question