This is a letter to our governor on this topic.
Message Posted: Aug 24, 2009 9:42:23 AM
Gentlemen, I sent a letter to Governor Jindal (copy attached) on July 2, 2009, with copies to Senators Landrieu and Vitter and Congressman Melancon about problems boaters in Louisiana are beginning to experience with ETHANOL (E-10) gasoline.
One of the major issue with ETHANOL in marine applications is that ETHANOL is 100% soluble in water. Boat fuel tanks are vented to the atmosphere, unlike motor vehicles. Hence, marine fuel tanks accumulate water due to moist air coming into the fuel tank with temperature changes. Since ETHANOL has a 113 octane rating, if there is enough water in a boat's fuel tank, it is possible that all of the ETHANOL may be absorbed into the water layer, leaving the fuel with a 93-94 octane rating instead of 97. According to outboard motor manufacturers, this will most likely result in major engine damage. Nearly all outboard motor manufacturers recommend not to use E-10 fuels if possible, but if left with no choice, 10% MAXIMUM ETHANOL is allowed. Any fuels with greater than 10% would likely result in engine damage and the warranty would be voided according to Yamaha, Mercury, Honda, Evinrude, and others. EPA is currently proposing that ETHANOL in fuels be increased to 15%. This would essentially shutdown the marine industry!
Then, there is another issue with ETHANOL fuels...........ETHANOL is an extremely good solvent. When E-10 fuels are placed in a marine fuel tank that has been in regular gasoline use for years, the alcohol will dissolve any gums and varnishes which have been deposited on the walls of fuel tanks, fuel lines, etc over the years. If the boat does not have a good fuel filter in place, this "junk" will be fed into the engine, and most likely damage the engine. The cost of these large outboard engines today runs from $12,000 - $18,000 each. Repairing one of these engines is very expensive also. I've already heard of one 200 Hp engine with a blown powerhead attributle to gum/varnish getting into the engine.
I just returned from Omaha, Nebraska attending the College World Series. We drove there from LaPlace. We fueled up in Nebraska and Missouri several times, and in both states, we had a choice at the fuel stations we stopped at to purchase either E-10 regular or non alcohol regular gasoline. Why do we not have that option in Louisiana? This would solve our marine industry problems. It could be done easily. Very few, if any vehicles today require premium fuel. The fuel station's premium tank and dispenser could be converted to pump non alcohol regular gasoline.
In speaking with Mr. Richard Williams, Director of Fuel Programs in Louisiana, he is of the opinion that only Legislative action can solve this problem by requiring service stations (or selected stations in each city) to offer both E-10 and non alcohol fuels. By copy of this e-mail, I am asking my St. John Parish Senator and Representative to IMMEDIATELY introduce legislation in the very next session of the Legislature to require fuel stations to offer non alcohol regular fuels in addition to E-10 fuels if required. Governor Jindal, can you do this by an "Administrative or Executive Order" to expedite this process?
Gentlemen, we need help on this...........not next year, but NOW! The marine industry if a very critical industry to Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.