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« More than 50 Million Americans Enjoy Fishing | Main | Politicians Favor Carp Over Welfare of Public Resources »

Ethanol Fuel: The Nightmare Continues

Have you heard the latest about fuel that is 15 percent ethanol (E15)?

It damages marine engines!

(Read the story here and also check out this article in the Journal Sentinel.)

Just because E10 has destroyed thousands of marine and small (lawnmower, chainsaw, etc.) engines, who would have thought this would happen?

That’s sarcasm, folks. The ethanol boondoggle is a perfect example of crony capitalism run amok. Behind the façade of developing an alternative fuel, our elected officials --- on both sides of the aisle ---  have financed an industry that benefits a few of their constituents (corn growers and ethanol producers) while the rest of us pay for it.

 Let us count the ways:

 “Corn-based ethanol requires 54 percent of the energy to process the corn into ethanol and 24 percent to grow the corn required for this process,” said, Dr. Venkat Lakshim, editor of Energy Digital, a website for energy professionals. “As a result, there is a return of only 30 percent or so of the energy, making this inefficient as compared to conventional gasoline (500 percent --- produces five times the energy required to produce it.).”

Also, growing more corn for ethanol increases use of fertilizers, which wash into rivers and streams and contribute to expanding dead zones in and around the mouth of the Mississippi and other rivers that empty into the oceans. Plus, each gallon of ethanol produced creates more than 10 gallons of sewage-like effluent, while requiring 1,700 gallons of water.

And let’s not forget the engines, millions of which were not designed to be run on a fuel containing alcohol, which is a solvent and attracts moisture.

Recently, North Carolina angler Bill Frazier learned that not even taking precautions will help when you run ethanol-based fuel in your outboard. Frazier is conservation director for his state’s B.A.S.S. Federation Nation and a chemist and water-quality expert.

The seal and diaphragm on his lower fuel pump went bad while he was on the water with a youth angler, who spotted the “slick.” He then learned that if one pump went bad, the other would as well.

“I opted not to have it replaced and risk another slick,” he says.

“Not environmentally as responsible as I might be, but if I replace it now, before it fails, it removes a statistic from the pool to prove ethanol is a bad thing, until we have resolved the materials conflict issue. This also does not talk about the residual issues, and costs to me they are not covering, of putting too much oil in my engine, fouled plugs, carb cleaning, etc. All due to ethanol degradation which I ‘thought’ I had preempted with gas treatment.”

Now here’s the kicker regarding this “green” fuel that politicians mandated that we must use to benefit the environment:

“One drop of gas/oil pollutes 1 million gallons of water,” Frazier says. “This definition is based on a drop being about a milliliter and a gallon being 4 quarts. I did not come up with this. It is a standard in the industry. I can easily detect one million times less than that with my instruments.

“I lost about ½ cup of oil,” he continues. “Converting drops or milliliters, ½ cup = 119 milliliters or drops. Therefore, I polluted 119 million gallons of water because my seal failed due to ethanol degradation.

“Anyone want to try and stack up the benefits of ethanol to an unabated polluting of 119 million gallons of water that could have been prevented if ethanol had not eaten up the seal?”

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Reader Comments (3)

Thanx Robert. Now for the update. The final bill was over $100. Much less than a new engine but irritating none the less. Even though the manufacturer replaced the part, they did not replace the plugs. They had to be replaced too. The accessment is that the fouling is due to the slow failure and over dosing the engine with oil. Which has also been part of a problem with the choke.

Oh, and the wife called while I was picking up the boat. Her "Check Engine" light came on. Fouled plugs.


November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNCBFN Frazier

Running the engine on 100% ethanol will solve the pollution problem ultimately. Spill a drop or 1000, it will not pollute, only increase the value of the spilled-into water since with enough spill into it it will turn into common beverage consumed by a big percent of the population.

Over here, (sweden), we have had E15 for decades already, same thing over here. Stories about millions of engines breaking down into dust because of the ethanol. However, they were stories only. Anybody thought otherwise?

Oh, almost forgot to tell, the big risk of engine stop with running E100 is running out of fuel in the mid of wherever you are because of thirsty co-passengers!

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan Johansson

Stories in U.S. aren't just stories. Many engines, especially the older ones, are being damaged by E10 and E15. And official engine tests show damage as well. I like the idea of using E100, though. If you get the fish drunk enough, they will be easier to catch!

November 7, 2011 | Registered CommenterThe Activist

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