Butanol Fuel Is Coming

Will it replace Ethanol in fuel?
Butanol Fuel
Will Butanol replace Ethanol in fuel? Capt. Vincent Daniello

In the spring, East Coast marinas selling Gulf fuels will offer boaters ethanol-free gasoline under the trade name Gulf Marine. Instead of 10-percent ethanol, its clean air additive (“oxygenate”) will be isobutanol at an EPA-approved concentration of 12.5 percent.

Readers who have followed previous stories about isobutanol in Boating will recall that this advanced biofuel comes from the same feedstocks (plant material) as ethanol, but that it has greater energy density (30 percent higher Btu value), and, most important for our boat engines, it does not absorb moisture or undergo phase separation. It also does not corrode or damage fuel tanks, fuel lines and engine components.

Tests run on waterways and in laboratories over the past five years with the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the American Boat and Yacht Council, the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Coast Guard, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) and several other marine engine manufacturers have shown that isobutanol in blends of up to 16.1 percent (B16, now EPA-approved for off-road fuels) are safe. In fact, at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show, BRP offered test rides aboard a 25-foot Crevalle powered by a 300 hp Evinrude G2 running B16.


This past summer, one marina on a lake in Missouri sold Gulf Marine, and a land-based Express Lube station in Fredericksburg, Texas, has had customers drive as far as 70 miles to buy the fuel for lawn tractors, chain saws and more. A go-kart track in Kemah, Texas (a Houston suburb), ran Gulf Marine exclusively. Meanwhile, the two companies producing isobutanol, Gevo ( and Butamax (a joint venture of BP and DuPont;, have reached an agreement in which each will pursue the development of markets for isobutanol; Gevo in jet fuel and Butamax in land fuels. Gevo produces the isobutanol for Gulf Marine.

The bottom line: East Coast boaters will have an opportunity to try this new biofuel in 2016. It will cost more, possibly $1.50 to $2 more per gallon. But with greater energy density and no more worries about water absorption, it will be worth exploring.

For more information on isobutanol, visit


Gulf Marinas on the U.S. East Coast:

Cedar Island Marina Hendel’s Oil Company Inc.
34 Riverside Drive
Clinton, CT 06413

Thamesport Marina
271 Pequot Ave.
New London, CT 06320


Annapolis Yacht Basin
2 Compromise St. Annapolis, MD 21401 410-263-3544

New Jersey
Larsen’s Marina
14 Old Sea Isle Blvd.
Sea Isle City, NJ 08243

Lighthouse Marina
19 W. 6th St.
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006


New York
Bay Park Fishing Station
480A Reina Road
Oceanside, NY 11572

Cutchogue Harbor Marina
3350 W. Creek Ave.
Cutchogue, NY 11935

Gone Fishing Marina
467 E. Lake Drive
Montauk, NY 11954

Hudson Point Fishing
1 Anchorage Way
Freeport, NY 11520

Island View Marina
61 Price St.
Patchogue, NY 11772

Mill Creek Marina
3253 Noyac Road
Sag Harbor, NY 11963

Moriches Boat & Motor
200 Atlantic Ave.
E. Moriches, NY 11940

Sag Harbor Cove Yacht Club
8 W. Water St.
Sag Harbor, NY 11963

Senix Creek Marina
50 Senix Ave.
Center Moriches, NY 11934

Sonny’s Fishing Station
3640 Ocean Ave.
Seaford, NY 11783

Uihlein’s Marina and Boat Rental
444 W. Lake Drive
Montauk, NY 11954

W.C. Esp Inc.
2141 Montauk Highway
Bridgehampton, NY 11932