The Grade on Ethanol

How does E10 fare when it comes to performance and fuel economy?

Could E15 be in our future? Click here to read the latest on ethanol.

We’ve all heard the stories about ethanol — not many of them good. Using E10 since it was introduced five years ago has been blamed for deteriorated fuel tanks, clogged filters and worse. Truth is, a small percentage of boats have been heavily impacted, partly because boaters have become more active about maintenance issues that could otherwise turn problematic. (See our full story in the May 2010 issue of Boating.)

But how does E10 fare when it comes to performance and fuel economy? We found out firsthand by running separate tests of a 2008 Boston Whaler 180 Dauntless rigged with a 150-hp Mercury Verado: one test on E10 and the other test on ethanol-free fuel. Below are the results.

With E10 (Ethanol)
Boston Whaler 180 Dauntless
And Mercury 150 Verado

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With Straight Gas (Non-Ethanol)
Boston Whaler 180 Dauntless
And Mercury 150 Verado