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BoatUS survey shows boaters seek out non-ethanol fuel

As boaters head into the Labor Day weekend and fill their boat’s gas tank before wrapping up the season, a majority say they want ethanol-free gas, but only about half of those in a BoatUS survey say it is available at marinas and gas stations they visit.

This means boaters are filling up with gasoline that is 10 percent ethanol, or E10 fuel. Although the federal government says this fuel is safe for boats — and is even looking to require higher use of corn-based ethanol fuel at gas retailers across the country — boaters are wary.

A recent informal survey sent to BoatUS members reveals recreational boaters’ frustrations with E10 fuel.

Ninety-one percent of respondents said they want ethanol-free gas for their boat and more than half have had to replace or repair their boat engine or fuel system parts because of suspected ethanol damage. The average price tag for those with damage: $1,000.

“Our members said that they fill up their boat(s) in a combination of ways, with about half of them using a fuel dock, about 40 percent filling up at a gas station and 35 percent using portable gas cans,” BoatUS government affairs senior program manager David Kennedy said in a statement.

BoatUS encourages boaters and others with small engine equipment to ask their Member of Congress to amend the RFS to ensure future gasoline supply in the US works for all engines. To take action, go to