Reports show E15 damage in marine engines

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The U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy recently released the results of two studies on the effects of using fuel that is 15 percent ethanol in volume in marine engines, and the reports showed significant problems with outboard, sterndrive and inboard engines, the National Marine Manufacturers Association reported.

The studies were conducted on engines provided by Volvo Penta and Mercury Marine. The Energy Department approved the final analysis of the results.

Results of the reports show severe damage to engine components and an increase in exhaust emissions, reinforcing the recreational boating industry’s concern that E15 is not a suitable fuel for marine engines, the NMMA said.

Emissions and durability testing compared E15 fuel and fuel containing zero percent ethanol and examined exhaust emissions, exhaust gas temperature, torque, power, barometric pressure, air temperature and fuel flow.

Specifically, the report showed degraded emissions performance outside of engine certification limits, as well as increased fuel consumption on the engines using E15 fuel. In separate testing on engine durability, each tested engine showed deterioration, including two of the three outboard engines, with damage severe enough to prevent them from completing the test cycle.

The E0 test engines did not exhibit any fuel-related issues, the NMMA said.

“Current proposals by the ethanol industry to increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline should seriously concern all boaters and owners of other small engine equipment,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement. “Although NMMA strongly supports renewable fuels as a means to reduce America’s dependence on foreign sources of oil and improve the environment, there is growing evidence that ethanol is not the answer to America’s energy challenge.”

For more information, please read the full versions of the Emissions and Durability test or the Fuel Endurance test from the Energy Department.


12 comments on “Reports show E15 damage in marine engines

  1. Phil Osborne

    This means that the Obama administration will then discontinue the subsidies afforded the corn industry and our industry will not have to suffer the rather of politics, right?

  2. bill gardella

    So what are chances we can lobby to get states to allow us to offer E0 fuel to our customers? E10 has already cost me $1,000’s, personally, multiply that by 100 for my customers. and the hassle factor, and how E10 likely even pushed some frustrated owners out of boating: unquantifiable. The E bubble is burst. Time to clean up the mess and get back to growing our businesses.

  3. Brett Shields

    Kudos for NMMA. Now we need to get rid of E10. My 5.4 Ford gets better fuel economy with Non Ethanol than with E10. Maybe trade these oil rich nations a barrel of corn for a barrel of oil. I have not seen any good that has come out of ethanol. It has cost us money because customers don’t think they should pay twice in one year to clean carbs. Get rid of it !!!!

  4. Bill Laessig

    AMEN!! It’s about time someone got it rite. Now we have just got to get the polititions to do something about it and quit listining to the EPA

  5. Wilson Wright

    My 1970 Cutlass convertable is in the shop today for carburator repair needed in part because of ethanol laced fuels. My 1970 Chris Craft 327 c.i. inboarf has been sitting for three months and from what I read in Boat US trailering reports, I’m now afraid I’ll damage the engine if I go out and start it. If we stop the ethanol support program, they’ll stop making it and we can afford to put corn back on our table.

  6. Bob Eaton

    Shhhh. Don’t tell George Bush that this whole ethanol scam is a boondoggle that does nothing for the environment. All of the comments above are valid for the marine industry.

  7. gene o'riley

    Wake up. The marine industry is such a small flea on the elephants back that they do not deserve consideration by the EPA or the White House. We will continue to take what ever comes down the pipeline. Its not about whats better but who pads whos pockets.


    Dream On. All our self-serving matter what party they are labeled need those corn state votes to continue feeding at the public trough You, the american taxpayer end up paying them to screw you. Nuf said about that. Now how many times have you driven your trailer boat into a local gas station because the fuel was alot cheaper then the ethanol-free gas at the marina. If you are guilty then when you end up with a big repair bill for your boat motor don’t blame ethanol for it. You were the one that put ethanol gas in the tank knowing it was probably a losing gamble. In other words you reap what you sow .

  9. Jim

    The president can only propose to discontinue subsidies. Congress then has to check with the lobyists to see if it is OK to vote them in.

  10. Geoffrey Abegg

    Here is something green to think about. The farmer tills the soil with a diesel powered tractor. applies chemicals with a diesel powered tractor, plants the seed, harvests, transports etc. all with fossil fuel burning equipment. And to top it off, the ethanol plant runs on electricity that comes from a coal burning power plant. Now that’s what i call sustainable green energy!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Jim

    All deisel engines sold in America within the last 5 years or so are extremely clean burning. There have been huge advancments in clean burning diesels. That said, I am no fan of E15, especially in boats.

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