Avoiding ethanol is easier than ever

Last summer, I had to buy a new gas trimmer for my lawn. The one it replaced was only three years old, and it was in relatively good shape. I kept it stored in my shed, changed the spark plug every year and always made sure the gas-to-oil mixture was exactly right.

But something strange happened to my trimmer — the hose that delivered fuel from the small gas tank to the motor literally disintegrated.

Initially, I cursed the manufacturer and vowed never to buy any of this make of lawn product ever again, but then I did some digging, and discovered many other homeowners were having similar problems with varying makes of lawn equipment.

The problem was not with the manufacturer; it was with what we, the homeowners, were putting into our lawn equipment — ethanol.

When it comes to small motors, ethanol is like liquid cancer. It dissolves the rubber hoses that are essential components of most small motors.

As Hank Johnston has reported well in his Louisiana Sportsman column, that’s bad news for boaters. If you’re filling up at a station that delivers gasoline mixed with ethanol, it’s only a matter of time before you’ll be chunking down the bucks for some fairly significant motor repairs.

Pete Landry wants to prevent that from ever happening.

Landry has compiled a list of stations in the state that sell ethanol-free gas, and has made it available free of charge via a link on the front page of the louisianasportsman.com web site.

A chemist by trade, Landry understands the technical nature of what makes ethanol so bad for marine engines.

One of the primary problems, he explained, is that boat fuel tanks vent into the atmosphere. During hot summer days, fuel expands and the tanks vent. At night, the fuel cools and contracts, and consequently sucks air back into the tank.

“And what’s in Louisiana air during the summer?” he asked rhetorically. “Ninety percent humidity.”

That water gets into the fuel, sinks to the bottom and absorbs the ethanol, which is 100-percent water-soluble.

The removal of the ethanol causes a dramatic decrease in the octane rating of the remaining fuel, which can cause serious damage to boat motors.

Boaters should avoid ethanol-laced fuel at all costs. If you ever run out of gas in the middle of the marsh, and a fellow boater offers you a five-gallon tank filled with ethanol-cut fuel, tell him “no thanks,” and start rowing.

About Todd Masson 731 Articles
Todd Masson has covered outdoors in Louisiana for a quarter century, and is host of the Marsh Man Masson channel on YouTube.