Hoon Ge, President | MEG Corp.

Like the family fine china set, beliefs about vehicles, equipment, and fuels are often passed down from generation to generation.  Should you buy the green tractor or the red one? Do you drive a truck with the blue oval or the bowtie?

Beliefs about ethanol fuels are also often based on the beliefs of the previous generation. We often hear, “My dad told me not to use E10 (10% ethanol, 90% gasoline) in my boat/motorcycle/lawnmower” along with reasons like “it attracts water”, “it’s corrosive” and “it goes bad faster”.   Common misconceptions like these cause consumers to go out of their way to find “non-oxygenated” gasoline – gasoline with no ethanol added.

lawnmowers lined up for sale

Ethanol is a low-cost, high-octane fuel.  Adding ethanol to gasoline increases the octane while reducing the cost of the fuel.  If you’ve chosen to purchase non-oxygenated gasoline in the past, you’ve likely noticed a significant increase in price for that fuel.  Ethanol is also cleaner than other octane enhancers, reducing emissions harmful to the environment and human health.

A 10 percent ethanol blend is found in more than 95 percent of gasoline sold in the U.S. today. Manufacturers build products with the proper components to run on E10. For more information on E10 approvals by marine engine, motorcycle, off-road and small engine manufacturers visit the Renewable Fuel Associations website at https://ethanolrfa.org/consumers/boats-motorcycles-small-engines/

Ethanol can hold more water in suspension than gasoline. This means that water that may enter the tank is less likely to drop to the bottom and will be pulled through and out of the system as the fuel is used.  While there is a lot of talk about ethanol and phase separation, it takes a lot of water for this to occur. Following proper storage and maintenance best practices will prevent this from happening.

Air is not your fuel’s friend. Water in fuel can come from condensation from the air. As temperatures get colder at night or as summer turns into fall, air can hold less water and it will condense into the fuel.  Water can also enter through leaks and loose or missing caps. Air also contains oxygen.  Oxygen in a fuel tank leads to oxidation, resulting in fuel degradation. Whether it contains an ethanol blend or not, gasoline will degrade if stored for extended periods without proper handling.

Housekeeping Best Practices

Always check your owner’s manual for fuel and storage recommendations. 

  • During the “In-Season”, keep tanks full to prevent air in the headspace which leads to condensation and oxidation.
  • During the “Off-Season”, when storing equipment for an extended period, we recommend filling your tank full and sealing it with an airtight cover to prevent air and evaporation. This method prevents wasting of fuel and does not add cost. Emptying the tank and fuel system is another option if there is little fuel remaining that would be wasted. If you do not completely fill or empty the tank, use a fuel stabilizer, running the engine briefly to allow the stabilizer to reach the entire fuel system.

Ethanol is a renewable fuel produced in North Dakota, using North Dakota-grown corn, supporting North Dakota families. You can save money and choose a cleaner, more renewable fuel blend simply by choosing E10 for your small engines, just like you would for your gasoline-powered car or truck.