Marine Fuels

Marine Fuel Additive to Extend the Life of Your Marine Engine

Marine Diesel Additive

Alcohol based marine fuels are disastrous for marine engines.  The ethanol in gasoline attracts and absorbs water, which causes major problems in marine engines. You need to know how a quality marine fuel additive can help extend the life of your marine engine, and protect it from the damage of ethanol content fuels.

A marine fuel additive can help stabilize your marine fuel, but only if the correct fuel additive is used.  An OEM recommended diesel additive and gasoline marine fuel additive will not strip the necessary oils and lubricants from your marine fuel that are needed to protect the internal parts of your engine.  Alcohol based marine fuels not only cause emulsified fuel and clogs in marine fuel systems, but the alcohol in marine fuels can also destroy the rubber components of your marine engine fuel system.

Learn More About ValvTect Additive HERE

When you purchase and use E10 gasoline in your marine engine, you have to be very cautious about what fuel additive products you use.  Many non-marine fuel additive products contain alcohol in them.  By using these products in additional to E10 gasoline, you will be running the risk of having over 10% of alcohol in your marine engine.  Not only is that illegal, it’s also incredible damaging to your marine engine and fuel system.

You need to be sure to research to find non-alcohol options for your diesel additive and marine fuel additive needs. Look to VavlTect for both ethanol treatment and a marine engine performance enhancers that will help reduce your marine fuel consumption and provide protection for your marine engine.

Find out more about marine additives and diesel additives in our marine research section.


Boat Diesel vs. Gas Controversy

Boat Diesel and Gas

The Diesel vs. Gas Controversy

According to, a typical marine gasoline engine will have a life span of approximately 1,500 hours before requiring any major repairs while a boat diesel engine will last 5,000 hours.

Typically one gallon of diesel will take 25% more crude oil to produce and will emit approximately 15% more greenhouse gas as compared to one gallon of gasoline.  But because it is a much denser fuel than gasoline, it can produce up to 40% more mileage over gasoline which can add up to significant cost savings over time.

So, which  boat fuel?  It’s been commonly stated that diesel burns cleaner than gas – but is it true?  According to several sources, it is and it isn’t.  Here’s a quick look at information substantiating both of these claims.

Sulfur and CO² Emissions

Sulfur is a commonly produced emission from both boat diesel and gasoline which can be measured in parts per million or ppm.  Since 2007, all diesel vehicles available for sale in the U.S. are required by law to run on a type of diesel fuel known as ultra low sulfur (ULSD).  
Recognized sulfur emissions in fuel are as follows:
15 ppm – ULSD
80 ppm – standard gasoline
500 ppm – standard diesel fuel
CO² emissions:
Diesel – 73.25 g/MJ
Gasoline – 73.38 g/MJ

Soot Particles

Another by-product of burning diesel fuel is soot particles, also referred to as black carbon, that pollute the air and are widely considered to be carcinogenic (cancer causing) agents.  A report issued by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) states that soot from this fuel is the cause of 70% of California’s cancer risk due to toxic particles in the air.  Other research has shown that residents living in cities with soot pollution display a 26% mortality increase.  Newer built diesel automobiles are equipped with the latest in technology, such as BlueTec Emissions, which is designed to treat and reduce the toxic nature of exhaust fumes.


It’s possible to improve your fuel economy even more while at the same time reducing emissions by using a boat fuel additive such as Guard Supreme by ValvTect.  Designed to extend the life of your engine which can lessen any maintenance costs over time, Diesel Guard Supreme test results shows a 30% reduction of black smoke, a 39% reduction of particulates, plus a improved fuel economy of up to 7.5% for heavy duty vehicles and up to 13.6% for light duty.

When it comes down to boat diesel or gas, diesel does offer a few nice advantages:

  1. Diesel doesn’t pose the potential CO² poisoning risk that gasoline boat engines produce
  2. A diesel engine is able to use eco-friendly bio-fuel which offers reduced emissions and better engine performance
  3. Due to its higher torque, a diesel engine is able to carry a larger load
  4. generally marine diesel costs less than marine gasoline – click to learn more about marine fuel prices

National Petrochemical & Refiners Association
Grinning Planet – Gas/Diesel Engines – Diesel Boats Photo Credit: Diesel by DanDeChiaro


Chemical Oil Dispersant Information

oil-slickDispersants are made up of solvents, surfactants and other additives which reduce the molecular cohesion causing oil to sit upon the surface of water.  Specifically designed for oil spills, dispersants do not remove oil from water but allow slicks to break apart and speed up the process of natural bio-degration.  When an oil spill has been treated with a dispersant, it is less likely to adhere to birds, vegetation, rocks, and shorelines.  Typically, dispersants are applied via airplanes, helicopter or on water vessels.  According to, BP has already purchased nearly one third of the world’s supply of dispersants, and if the leak is not contained or stopped within the next several weeks, the stockpile could be exhausted.

While the benefits of dispersants consist of reducing some of the on-shore environmental impact of an oil spill, there are a number of other potential environmental hazards.  Dispersants are chemical in nature, and thusly contain their own set of harmful toxins.  The exact ingredients of dispersants are secret due to trade laws, but some known substances are said to cause headaches, vomiting and reproductive issues.  Furthermore, while the use of dispersants may reduce the impacts of a spill on the shore, they may indeed cause just as much damage as they prevented off-shore. 

Dispersed oil that is not naturally dissolved prior to reaching the ocean floor become a food poison to microscopic organisms at the bottom of the food chain. In other words, the use of dispersants simply transfers the danger from certain life forms to other life forms, as it does not remove oil, it simply breaks it apart and spreads it out.  The idea is that dispersants will thin the oil sufficiently for nature to take over and finish the job.

All in all, this is yet another, devastatingly painful reminder of the desperate need for alternative energy sources which do not harm or disprupt the delicate balance of nature.  While BP claims to be making every effort to rectify the effects of the accident, it is this writer’s opion that no amount of effort will completely erradicate and un-do the extensive damage caused by this terrible accident.

National Geographic


ValvTect: Premium Marine Fuels and Additive


Valvtect Petroleum Products offer gasoline and diesel based marine fuels, as well as several marine fuel additives. ValvTect products are designed to improve the performance and efficiency of marine engines.  It may be said that fuel is not genuinely marine fuel without this special additive formula.

Select marinas throught the United States have been certified to sell ValvTect marine fuels, which contain the BioGuard (diesel) or Ethanol Gas Treatment additives.  Boaters seeking optimal performance and efficiency will always choose a Valvtect Certified Marina when deciding where to stop and purchase fuel.

Marinas that carry ValvTect fuels are demonstrating just how much they want their customers to have, and experience, the very best.  Sailfish Marina in Stuart and Miami Beach Marina are two facilities in Florida that can be relied upon for excellence in available products, as well as service.  Boaters can easily spot marinas selling ValvTect fuels by the ValvTect-branded signs on the fuel dock, which are provided free of charge to the marina. 

Valvtect-Marine-Fuel-Additive  Watch for this identifying icon when using E-Marina or
Fuel Dock Prices™!

Valvtect Premium Marine Fuel Additives provide a wide range of benefits for many types of marine engines,
and it’s important for boaters to choose the right kind of additive for their particular circumstance.

The ValvTect marine fuel additive products include…

  1. Gasoline and Diesel Stabilizer: Prevents problems caused by fuel during storage; makes motor start faster.
  2. Lead Substitute: Enhances reliability and performance in older engines which lack catalytic converters.
  3. Marine Engine Injector Cleaner: Eliminates various deposits in DFI and EFI engines, enhancing performance.
  4. Ethanol Gasoline Treatment: Prevents four problems caused by gasoline with ethanol in it (E5, E10).
  5. Fuel Dri: Eliminates water in the fuel system, enabling boaters to avoid corrosion and contamination.
  6. Octane Performance Improver: Enhances performance and acceleration while preventing exhaust valve problems.
  7. Carbon Free: Stops carbon deposits from forming, making engines last longer and perform better.
  8. Diesel Guard Heavy Duty/Marine Diesel Additive: Decreases pollution, stops corrosion, and more.
  9. BioGuard Microbiocide: Eliminates harmful fungi and bacteria in diesel fuel within three hours.

Not All Fuels and Engines are Created Equal

ValvtectBoat engines run much differently than those of automobiles, and fuel purchased at street gas stations can wreak havoc in marine applications. When using untreated diesel or gasoline, marine engines are significantly more vulnerable to damage and simply don’t perform as well; particularly when burning fuel containing ethanol. This inefficiency increases the overall costs of fuel and maintenance; not to mention the safety risk to boaters in the event of engine failure due to ethanol problems.

Whether sold at street stations, or on the water fuel docks, the argument can be made that gasoline and diesel only become marine fuel when specially forumulated marine additives are used. Without these treatments, gas and diesel fuels are best used only in ‘on land’ applications.

To gain the benefits of additive-containing fuels, boaters can purchase pre-treated fuels at certified locations, or purchase additives to self-treat fuel purchased at street stations.  It’s important to understand which treatment is best for each circumstance, which is why many boaters opt to fill up at ValvTect Certified Marinas, whenenever possible. 

Boat with Confidence!

By purchasing ValvTect fuels or additives, and/or Ethanol-free fuel, boaters can save money on engine repairs and achieve a more reliable boating experience.’s E-Marina™ and Fuel Dock Prices™ Advanced Searching helps boat owners quickly locate, and see today’s fuel prices and services at Vavltect Certified Marinas.

To combat approval of E-15 for marine applications, all ValvTect Certified Marinas are required to carry Non-Ethanol fuel.  Jerry Nessenson, President of ValvTect, reports that violation of this requirement will result in certification revocation.

1. ValvTect
2. Google Product Search


EPA Delays Request for E15

Times are changing... are you ready?

National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) reports that the final decision of whether to allow a higher percentage of ethanol in motor fuel was delayed on December 1, 2009 by the Environmental Protection Agency.  In the form of a waiver petition by Growth Energy to allow up to 15% ethanol/gasoline blends (E15), the ethanol industry requests delays for final decisions until further testing can be done on the effects of the higher blend on vehicles and emissions.

The move towards E15 has been of special concern to boaters. reported on this issueearlier this year. The NMMA Legislative Director, Matt Dunn said he is pleased the EPA is acknowledging concerns and decided to hold off on final judgement until additional studies are performed. 

The boating association also wants to avoid the confusion and paperwork of separate fuel blends for different application. In fact, if E15 were allowed as is, the plan would make it legal to fuel only2001 or newer vehicles.  This would cause a host of problems for fuel suppliers, gas stations,  motorists and boaters.

Find Ethanol Free FuelDid you know you can shop and compare current fuel dock prices of ethanol free fuel, online?  Advanced Searching is all you need!

No recreational marine equipment has been tested, certified or warranted to use fuel with greater than 10% ethanol. This ruling is an acknowledgment by the EPA that further testing must be completed before there is any chance for the ethanol percentage in gasoline to be increased.

Source: National Marine Manufacturers Association


Reducing Marine Diesel Fuel Cost for Consumers

How to Reduce Marine Diesel Fuel Costs

The cost of marine diesel fuel is a significant portion of the operating expense of a diesel powered yacht, cruiser or boat. Diesel engines tend to use less fuel than their gasoline counterparts, but extended cruising with a pair of high horsepower diesel beasts in the stern can burn through a lot of fuel. Understanding what goes into the cost of marine diesel fuel will not reduce the pain in the pocketbook, but may make it all easier to swallow. Below are a a few tips to help reduce your marine fuel expenses.  Start by using’s Fuel Dock Prices™ information database – you could save up to 50% on your next fuel purchase by finding the best marine diesel fuel prices in your area.

Difference between Marine Diesel Fuel and Other Diesel Blends

Marine diesel fuel is not necessarily the same stuff that truckers and diesel pickup owners use to fill their tanks. Depending on the marina location and the output of the nearest refinery, marine diesel can be fuel specifically distilled for marine use or re-purposed on-highway, off-highway or heating oil. This EPA report also made notice of the significant differences in fuel obtained for commercial boating and shipping purposes and recreational marine use. Commercial use fuel consists of distillate blends aimed at reducing the cost and often includes a significant portion of unrefined oils. Recreational diesel fuels are more likely to be re-purposed land diesel with additives added for marine use.

Marine Diesel Production Cost Drivers

According to the Energy Information Administration, the cost of a gallon of diesel fuel breaks down this way: 62% is the value of the crude oil used to make the fuel, taxes are 18%, 5% is the refining cost and the remaining 15% is called distribution and marketing (profit to somebody). Diesel for marine use is not required to include highway taxes so the tax bite on diesel from you local marina is significantly less than at the truck stop. On the other hand, marinas can sometimes charge higher prices for ”distribution and marketing”.

How to Find the Best Marine Gasoline & Diesel Fuel Prices

Click here to search current marine fuel prices

Using the database I checked gasoline and diesel prices at marinas in Florida and northern California. There was a big spread between different marinas, up to a $1.00 in some cases. The cost of marine diesel fuel was typically 30¢ to 60¢ less per gallon than gasoline. Some of the difference can be attributed to lower diesel fuel taxes. My research revealed that in many states the highway tax is still included in marina gasoline but is not charged on diesel fuel sold.

Three Great Tools to save money on Marine Diesel Fuel Prices provides several tools to help you reduce your cost of marine diesel fuel (gasoline too!).  The Fuel Dock Prices™ page allows you to compare prices at different marinas in your area, and nationally. A premium membership at will provide text notices of fuel price changes at your favorite marinas, and if you purchase fuel in quantities of 1,000 gallons or more, the Fuel Bid Desk™ will facilitate bids at wholesale prices (even deliver to you!)  Finally, the best way to beat the cost of marine diesel is simply to use less.

Here is an article with 20 Tips to Reduce Fuel Consumption.

Please consider using some of those saving for carbon offsetts.  Its a low cost way to offsett the polution of burning marine diesel and gasoline.

Sources: EPA, EIA,


Biodiesel Fuel Project Yields Intriguing Results

Although it is not yet widely available,  biodiesel fuel use has excellent prospects in the marine world. Biodiesel is renewable fuel produced from vegetable or animal fats and oils. Biodiesel is significantly less toxic to the marine environment than petroleum derived fuel. gives a list of reasons why biodiesel fuel is especially beneficial for marine use: 

  1. Biodiesel will not harm fish or people. Those working around running diesels using biodiesel find the exhaust fumes to be less irritating.
  2. Biodiesel is biodegradeable. Tests show that biodiesel is 95% degraded in a marine environment in 28 days. Regular diesel fuel has only degraded 25% to 30% in that time.
  3. When blended with regular diesel fuel, biodiesel speeds the degradation for spilled fuel. Tests show biodiesel blended diesel fuel degrades four times faster when it is released into the environment.
  4. Biodiesel can blend with or replace regular diesel fuel with no modification to existing diesel engines.
  5. Biodiesel is a safe alternative fuel. It has a higher flash point (200° vs. 125°) than regular diesel. It handles like diesel and is safe to transport.
  6. Biodiesel has higher lubricity. Biodiesel blends of 5% to 20% reduce engine wear scar.
  7. Emissions from engines running on biodiesel are less harmful to the environment and less irritating to those working around running engines.                          

Most of the modern diesel engine manufacturers have certified their engines to run on up to B5 (or 5%) biodiesel blended with regular diesel. In reality, diesel engines will run fine on higher blends, even 100% quality biodiesel fuel. The Marine Biodiesel Technical Handbook from Cytoculture Environmental Technology recommends using a 20% blend of biodiesel in marine diesel engines. The 20% blend provides a significant environmental and diesel performance benefit. The handbook noted that 100% biodiesel can degrade older rubber hoses and fittings, but the 20% blend was not enough to cause damage.

Recently Horizon Motor Yachts of the U.K. and Caterpillar Marine Diesel teamed up for a demonstration project showing the viability of biodiesel use in recreational marine applications. A 60 ft. motor yacht named “Horizon” powered by twin 1,000 hp. Cat C18 diesels was shown shown and demonstrated along the southern coast of England fueled by B30 or a 30% biodiesel blend. The purpose of the demonstration was to show current marine diesels perform fine on a higher blend of biodiesel. At the same time using the biodiesel reduces diesel emissions and dependence on oil. The tests showed that the yacht performed identically using the biodiesel blend as it did running on regular diesel fuel.

The rapid decrease in oil prices from mid 2008 until early 2009 has slowed the growth of biodiesel production. Start-up biodiesel companies have run into financial difficulty with the combination of lower energy prices and the global financial crisis. However, it is apparent that biodiesel is a viable, renewable alternative to petroleum based diesel fuel. Biodiesel makes special sense in the marine environment where its lower environmental impact will help preserve the boating environment.

Sources:, Cytoculture Environmental Technology, Yachting Magazine


Rust Inhibitor Lubricants for Marine Use

The marine and boating environment is highly conducive to the corrosion of metal parts and surfaces. Besides the corrosion resulting from direct contact with sea or fresh water. The atmospheric moisture content in coastal areas and the effects of sea water splash multiply the opportunities for corrosion of metallic surfaces on boats. Marine lubricants help prevent rust and corrosion with additional additives that enhance their corrosion fighting properties.

Corrosion is a chemical or electrochemical process between a metal and its environment resulting in the breakdown of the metal. The amount and rate of corrosion is dependent on the environment the metal is exposed to. Metal parts and surfaces on boats are exposed to a rather corrossive environment! Corrosion is most visible as rust.

rust inhibitor lubricants for marine useLubricants developed for marine use will include inhibitors that block moisture or prevent rust from forming. There are different lubricants formulated for different purposes. Lubricating fluids for internally lubricated, moving parts like engine motor oils, gear lube for outboard and stern drive applications, hydraulic oil for pressure applications like power tilt and trim fluid. External surfaces also need marine lubricants to prevent rust. Different types are used for different purposes. Penetrating rust inhibitors will get under existing corrosion and stop the decay, protect and lubricate the metal surfaces. Grease lubricants seal and protect lubricated parts. Grease does not require frequent reapplication and can be used on open surfaces where it is impractical to continuously reapply liquid lubricants.

Eureka Chemical Company has a line of products called Fluid Film for heavy commercial marine application. The flyer states it is “The only product line used from nuclear submarines to the Space Shuttle.”  It is available in containers as small as 12 ounces, so the recreational boater may find use for some of their products.

Besides Fluid Film for your nuke sub, here are some additional marine lubricants that fight rust and appear to have widespread availability:

  • CorrosionX, corrosion fighter, lubricant and penetrating protector.
  • Taskmaster A-120 Anti-corrosion spray.
  • Rustblock Marine penetrating corrosion inhibitor and lubricant.
  • Corrosion Block rust inhibitor. The website claims this stuff was used in the filming of “Titanic” and “WaterWorld”. I am not sure “WaterWorld” is a good source for an anti-rust claim!
  • Never Seez has products formulated for pressure applications.

Protecting metal surface onboard boats and yachts is an important and constant process. Using marine lubricants that are formulated to fight rust and corrosion is a big step in this process. Lubricant manufacturers have developed a wide range of products to meet the different lubricating needs of boating and marine use.

One last area of rust inhibiting lubricants needs to be discussed. If your boat is stored for the off-season make sure all of the surfaces are protected by corrosion inhibitors designed for long term storage. Nothing worse than checking out the boat in the spring and find a rust infestation!

Sources: Pennzoil, Chevron, Seattle Marine


Learn About Marine Fuel Types & Additives

As with automobile and aircraft fuels, marine fuel is available in several different types, grades, and brands. Engine type, expense, origin, and other factors may be considered when selecting marine fuels. Using the right fuel additives is also important to successful boating.


Choosing the right marine fuel can improve your engine’s performance, efficiency, and reliability. Specific fuels produce better results in one kind of marine engine than another. Large commercial ships, small recreational boats, and ocean vessels typically use different varieties of fuel. The availability of various fuel types can depend upon trucking, farming, and heating fuel demands in a particular region.


Multiple grades of a marine fuel might be available at a marina or port, especially for non-recreational boats. Two of the most common grades are called DMA and DMC. Others include DMB, DMX, and IFO-180. People may sometimes refer to these grades by various other names; ask for clarification if necessary.

Grades reflect different levels of ash, sulphur, and viscosity, among other characteristics. It’s better for engines and the environment when fuels don’t have an excessive sulphur level. The ash level indicates metal contents, which may or may not be an integral part of the fuel. The right viscosity level depends upon the specific type of engine. Consult your owner’s manual and/or marina staff for help selecting a fuel or grade.

DMB grade fuels are frequently used to power sizable ocean vessels, while smaller commercial ships like ferries and tugboats generally run on DMA. Some mariners employ DMX fuels for emergency purposes during cold weather. DMX is purchased in relatively small quantities and it should be kept in drums.

It is wise not to mix two or more grades/types of fuels in the same vessel; this can harm engines. If there is no other choice, try to add a marine fuel that is similar (density and viscosity are the most relevant factors) and/or use up as much as possible of the existing fuel before purchasing more. Mixing ought to be avoided in storage as well.


Numerous watercraft (motorboat, jet ski, PWC) run on gasoline and are often used for recreational purposes. Although such fuels are available at both marinas and automotive gas stations, care should be taken to obtain the right type. Grades of gasoline aren’t particularly consequential, with a few exceptions. Boaters may use reformulated gas, but it becomes more important to have regular tune-ups and prevent water from getting in the fuel.

It is best to avoid using gasoline which contains ethanol. Where this is not possible, various precautions should be observed to prevent damage and maintain good performance. In no circumstance should gasoline blends containing more than ten percent ethanol be used (E15, E20, E25, etc) be used in marine applications.  E10 and blends under 10% can still cause damage or other problems, especially in older boats. Unfortunately, more and more gas suppliers have been adding ethanol to their gasoline.

compare marina gas pricesOBTAINING FUELS

There are many different ways for mariners to receive fuels they have purchased. Marine fuel is often supplied to large ships via pipelines, barges, or other boats. Gasoline may be collected in gas cans, filled at a gas station while the boat is on a trailer, or obtained from a pump at the marina’s dock. It is less costly at gas stations, although not as convenient. 

Find Ethanol-Free marinas in the United States, Bahamas and Caribbean, click here.


Boaters can take steps to use less fuel, thus saving money, reducing their environmental impact, and promoting clean water. Several of these measures resemble techniques used to decrease automobile fuel consumption; don’t leave the engine idling too long, avoid high speeds, and be careful not to spill fuels. Using sailboats or canoes with outboard engines (rather than completely motorized boats) is another way to conserve fuel. Some marine fuel additives can help enhance efficiency as well, such as Chevron Marine Combustion Improver.

BRAND NAMES (NOT specially formulated for marine applications)

Boat owners may also want to take the brands of different fuels into consideration for various reasons. Such concerns might be applied to fuel for automobiles, gasoline-powered boats, and other vehicles as well. Here is a brief overview of each major marine fuel supplier’s location, brand names, and fuel sources:

California-based Chevron derives its petroleum from several different regions, including Central and Southeast Asia, Latin America, the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, Africa, and N. America. It operates in countries such as Canada, the U.K., Kazakhstan, and Nigeria – where rebels have targeted it with attacks and kidnappings. The Chevron Marine Products, LLC division sells its marine fuels in the U.S.

BP has production operations in many nations spanning all six continents. They include Angola, Indonesia, Kuwait, Canada, Norway, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Colombia, and the United States, among others. The company’s products are available throughout much of the world. It is based in London and also operates the Castrol brand name. BP Marine offers a variety of fuels in numerous countries.

Shell, which is headquartered in Holland, operates throughout three different continents. It has production projects in the Gulf of Mexico, Qatar, Brazil, and Malaysia. The company also has part ownership of facilities in Canada and the U.S. It sells maritime supplies through the Shell Marine Products division. As of 1999, Shell’s IFO-180 grade marine fuel had slightly lower ash and sulfur content than Mobil’s, and its DMC and RMH-45 fuels had a lower ash volume.

A merger created the major U.S. oil company ExxonMobil about ten years ago. It operates in Russia, Qatar, Angola, Nigeria, Cameroon, and other countries. Some of its activities in Central Africa and the southeast Asian nation of Indonesia have come under criticism by human rights organizations. The Esso brand (which appears to be more common outside of the U.S.) is part of ExxonMobil Corporation as well.

A smaller company, Irving Oil supplies residual and marine gasoil fuels in east Canada and the northeastern United States. It is headquartered in Saint John, Canada with its U.S. division based in New Hampshire. The company refines and delivers its petroleum from a refinery in New Brunswick. It also runs a major gas station chain throughout the same region.

Marathon Oil operates in a few relatively stable African countries, including Gabon, Angola, and Equatorial Guinea. Some of its fuels also come from Norway, the Gulf of Mexico, Indonesia, the U.S., and the United Kingdom. Primarily, its operations are in the West African and North American regions. Marathon is based in the city of Houston, Texas.


In addition to these fuels, various fuel additives are available for marine purposes. Such products can offer operational, economic, and environmental benefits. Fuel stabilizer additives are useful when storing a boat during the winter or other months it isn’t used. Lead substitutes will often provide benefits for an old engine. A condensation absorbing additive can prevent corrosion and improve engine performance.  Keep in mind that some additives are available in separate diesel and gasoline versions.

ValvtectValvTect Petroleum Products offers  a product called “Diesel Guard Heavy Duty/Marine Diesel Additive”. The company states that this additive stops corrosion, makes filters last longer, and decreases air pollution, among other benefits. It also enables ships to travel longer distances on the same amount of fuel. A different version of the product is “Marine Diesel Additive with BioGuard”, which is intended to also stop algae and bacteria from growing in fuels. Biocides are particularly useful in hot, humid weather.

Overall, your choice of marine fuel and additives will largely depend upon the type and age of your boat engine, the cost of different fuels, the climate you operate in, and the options available at a given port or marina. You might also decide to take environmental and geopolitical issues into consideration.

1. Marathon Oil
2. Chevron
3. Shell
4. ExxonMobil Corporation
5. Amnesty International
6. Environmental Protection Agency
7. BP
8. The Port of Los Angeles
9. “Everything About Marine Fuels”, Chevron
10. ValvTect
11. State of Oregon
12. USA Today
14. Irving Oil


Moves Toward E15 Fuel Concern Boaters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is considering to let service stations sell regular gasoline blended with up to fifteen percent ethanol, also known as E15. This is creating tremendous concern among many boaters, and operators of gas powered machines.

Find Ethanol Free Fuel

In March, ethanol producers requested that the EPA allow up to 15% ethanol in gasoline; the agency has until December to approve or deny their application. On May 15th, the EPA extended by sixty days the amount of time the public has to comment on this decision. It will now accept new comments until July 20th.

Boaters are concerned that vessels with gasoline-powered engines will be damaged by this fuel blend. E15 could also harm other small engines; a recent column in the Orlando Sentinel pointed out that the engines of chain saws and lawn mowers have been destroyed by ethanol blended fuel.

Comment provided by Member (July 3, 2009):  “I personally own 2 boats, a 1987 and a 1998. Both boats have been affected by Ethanol. My truck has also lost between 1.5 and 2 miles per gallon because of ethanol. Now (they) want to put forth a 15% Ethanol. This only helps the manufacturer, and not the public. Ethanol is, and has been, costly and destructive. Somebody hopefully will do something logically.” ~ Anonymous

e15 fuelMoves toward putting E15 in regular gasoline are facing opposition from the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute, and other organizations. OPEI’s Executive Vice President warned in March that existing boat engines, generators, snowmobiles, and other machines “may be permanently damaged and pose a safety risk” when powered with E15.

Comments on the issue can be submitted to the EPA by email, fax, postal mail, or through their web site. Groups supporting and opposing E15 fuel are encouraging the public to submit feedback on this issue. Comments may or may not be submitted anonymously.

In some states, regular gasoline is already being mixed with ten percent ethanol (E10). Many boat engines, particularly older models, were damaged when E10 fuel was introduced. Some marinas offer ethanol-free gasoline to boat and PWC owners, although this is not an option on lakes and ponds that lack marinas.

Ethanol itself has come under criticism in recent years for various reasons. It drives up the price of corn-based foods, requires government subsidies to compete with other fuels, and causes automobiles to receive lower gas mileage than they would with unblended gasoline.

1. Orlando Sentinel
2. Environmental Protection Agency
3. National Marine Manufacturers Association
4. Outdoor Power Equipment Institute


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