Top 5 Reasons to Avoid Ethanol as Fuel

There is a connection between clean water, corn production and increasing the amount of corn ethanol in fuel that we use in our boat engines.

Without proper warning labels, boat owners may fill up using E10 (gas containing 10 percent corn-based ethanol by volume) or a higher concentration that is proven to cause great harm to motor boat engines. Most engines aren’t designed to tolerate ethanol, especially because it draws moisture into the engine and causes corrosion. Remember to look before you pump! Choose E10 or less for small engines in power equipment, cars older than 2001 and marine vessels.

For more than a decade, a number of environmental and industry groups have “sold” the perception that ethanol is sustainable. But, it’s not. The effects of corn ethanol production are much broader than its impact on angling and boating. Corn fertilizers – as do many fertilizers – cause serious harm to the aquatic environment and our important fisheries resources.

Top 5 Impacts of Ethanol as Fuel:

1. From cradle to grave, corn ethanol is more polluting than gasoline by 33%. The use of equipment to maintain and harvest corn fields, transportation and processing are all accounted for in ethanol’s life cycle, including carbon emissions from land conversion.
2. Corn is a heavily water-dependent crop. That clean water used for irrigation is taken from drinking supplies and aquatic habitat.
3. Compared to other major U.S. crops, corn is the most fertilizer-intensive. The chemical run-off from corn fields in the Midwest eventually makes its way into the Gulf of Mexico. The run-off is so concentrated in nutrients that it causes an explosion of algal growth, which strips the environment of oxygen and leaves very little for fish and other organisms to thrive.
4. Ethanol contains less energy than pure gasoline, so it’s less fuel efficient. Drivers get fewer miles to the gallon with greater concentrations of it.
5. A University of Colorado publication states that five gallons of water are needed to refine one gallon of gasoline, compared to 170 gallons needed for one gallon of E10.

The use of ethanol is yielding questionable results and unintended impacts. To learn more about this issue, visit the Policy Issue Page on ethanol at


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