• Aug 31st 2010 at 12:57PM
  • 24
It's becoming a summer tradition. As boaters flock to the lakes across America, they find that something is wrong with their vessel's engines and question whether the ethanol that is mixed into the national fuel supply is causing the problem (in the winter, for some reason, we've heard that small engines can handle ethanol). One response has been to figure out which stations sell gas that doesn't contain any biofuel, and WECT has found that the number of such stations (at least in the area) is on the rise. The local news station for Wilmington, NC recently reported:
Ethanol is a hidden danger inside gasoline that can cause damage to engines. Several years ago, Congress wanted to cut down on oil imported from the Middle East, so they added ethanol to gasoline. But anytime fuel with ethanol sits unused it can clog the system and cause major problems. Since boats aren't used as much as cars, they're more prone to damage.
Since last summer, Pure-gas.org has been compiling a list of stations that sell, surprise, "pure gas," and it gives credence to WECT's observation. Currently, Pure-gas lists 1,531 stations in the U.S. and Canada that don't mix corn with petrol, which is exactly what site owner Sam Hokin had in mind when he started the site:
We buy [pure gas] because we want to fuel our vehicles with it. If you want to save money on gas, this site is of no use to you - it will NOT have gasoline prices on it. They vary from day to day and this site isn't about saving money. It's about finding pure gasoline for your machine.

[Source: WECT, Pure-gas.org | Image: Mingo.nl - C.C. License 2.0]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      Meh, I think most of the problems come from people not properly winterizing their boats. Same thing goes for motorcycles. The ethanol is said to gum up the carburetors if the vehicle sits for too long...
        • 4 Years Ago
        Is two weeks too long? In my experience, YES. I now have at least two Outboard engines with the fixed main jets of the carburetors plugged up resulting in no running above idle. This is serious, and unnecesary.
      • 5 Years Ago
      "Pure" gas? Are they referring to the stuff that's loaded with benzene, toulene and other harmful toxins? Anyone who thinks gas is pure should read a story from the Daily Green yesterday:


      Here's a salient paragraph:

      "About one-fourth of the 140 billion gallons of gasoline that Americans burn every year is made up of "aromatic" hydrocarbons. "Aromatics" sounds like a perfume brand. They're not. Aromatics include toxins such as benzene, toluene, and xylenes. Benzene is a carcinogen. Perhaps more salient is that aromatics are precursors that form particulate pollution, which is a respiratory and cardiac health hazard. Many metropolitan areas in the Northeast and in California violate EPA's ambient air standard for ultra-fine particles that are 2.5 microns are smaller, the kind that can burrow deeply into people's lungs."
        • 8 Months Ago
        Ethanol doesn't do anything to reduce the amount of cancer-causing emissions. It is effective in terms of being a renewable source energy source that reduces oil dependency, but it doesn't make the air quality any better overall.

        "The study results show that converting to E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) could result in higher ozone-related asthma, hospitalization and mortality. The death rate increases about 9% in Los Angeles and 4% in the U.S. over projected death rates with gasoline vehicles.

        E85 vehicles reduced atmospheric levels of two carcinogens, benzene and butadiene, but increased two others, acetaldehyde and formaldehyde. As a result, cancer rates for E85 are likely to be similar to those for gasoline. In some parts of the country (Los Angeles and the Northeast), E85 use was projected in increase ozone levels. The oxidant ozone is a well-known air pollutant. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), ozone inhalation is associated with respiratory tract inflammation and functional alterations of the lung [3]. The increased levels of ozone were partially offset by decreased levels in the Southeast. Nonetheless, future E85 use may be a greater overall public health risk than gasoline. Jacobson concludes that E85 is unlikely to improve air quality over future gasoline vehicles and that unburned ethanol emissions from E85 may result in a global-scale source of acetaldehyde larger than that of direct emissions.


      • 5 Years Ago
      Just one more reason to quit burning stuff.

      As far as the people behind the website -- I can only say; wow, the flagrant display of ignorance is astounding.
      • 5 Years Ago
      • 5 Years Ago
      If they are using MTBE as an oxygenate instead, it's bad in the long run.

      What we need is to get rid of the oxygenate mandate. It's poor science and it is the reason we need MTBE or ethanol in the first place.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Good point, it beats using MTBE by far.

        But i did some reading and apparently MTBE/Lead/Ethanol/Various other fuel additives have been used in the past as octane boosters, basically. In this case, MTBE and Ethanol both oxygenate the fuel to create lower emissions and a more complete burn, they also do the octane boosting thing just as well.

        However, i think the thing is that the Ethanol is in much higher concentration than it needs to be..
      • 5 Years Ago
      Make regular 87AKI-E15
      Make premium 93AKI- No ethanol (E-nothing)
      Make mid-grade 90AKI-E7.5

      • 5 Years Ago
      There are still a lot of boats with carburetors. Not only are boats slower in adapting new engine technology, but boats tend to be kept much longer than cars! It's very common to see 25+ year old motor yachts, and those engines and fuel systems certainly weren't designed to handle ethanol.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Again, this shows the flaws of the "mix ethanol in with gas, and creep up the percentage" strategy. It creates an anti-ethanol backlash and an artificial longing for "pure" gasoline.

      A far better approach is to leave ordinary gasoline alone, while making high-ethanol blends or pure ethanol (not to mention other alcohol fuels) more broadly available by making sure future cars, boats, etc. are flex fueled rather than stuck with only being able to use gasoline.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I was driving across country in my 2000 Insight, and got gas near El Paso noticing a sign saying NO ETHANOL. (I coulda cared less at the time)

      Had a rough drive to Fort Worth, whizzing head winds.

      Got my best mileage ever at HIGH highway speeds ~80 mph.
      77 MPG - when sadly expecting maybe 60.

      go figure!

      no one has mentioned that it might take more energy to make the ethanol than you net?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hmm. I wonder if this issue will affect the Chevy Volt, and if this is, in part, behind the decision to require premium gas.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Include motorcycles to the list.
      • 5 Years Ago
      This site isn't about saving money, this site isn't about saving the planet, this site is all about increasing oil industry profits as idiots drive farther to pay more to fill their tanks.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Some people also prefer to drink raw milk, in defiance of all known science.



        Whenever there is a demand, someone will help find a supply. Interestingly enough, I had this exact conversation this afternoon with a woman I work with who started noticing the "up to 10% Ethanol" signs at gas stations. For better or worse, she's decided she doesn't like the idea not getting "100% gas". I should mention she's 66 years old, and the wife of a Nuclear Sub Captain - there was no point in my trying to talk her out of her idea.
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