Boaters not sure about ethanol additive

Boat owners apparently are finding problems using 10 percent ethanol additive in gasoline.

Reports say fiberglass fuel tanks can fail and cause engine damage. Other worries include erratic engine performance from water and contaminants trapped in the fuel system. Old outboards have problems with ethanol breaking down fuel lines and gaskets. Still others report backfiring and sluggish starting.

The fuel tank problem may be under-reported, as well. Apparently, the fiberglass tanks can produce a sludge after being filled with 10 percent ethanol. Investigators think the ethanol might be attacking the resin and creating a bad chemical reaction.

Ethanol is used in the gasoline formulas as a replacement for MTBE. Officials from corn growers associations and other proponents say ethanol is safe for boat motors. Some even suggest there is an "anti-ethanol" agenda being spread by the marine industry.

[Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel]

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