Ethanol Free gasoline, British Columbia

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Apr 3, 2011
Vessel Name
Phoenix Hunter
Vessel Make
Kadey Krogen 42 (1985)
I am hearing rumours that marine gasoline in BC is no longer ethanol free. I had assumed that the Parkland fuel dock still sold ethanol free fuel but the young attendant said no, but he didn’t know for sure. It was over $2.20/litre, which is a premium over what is for sale at land-based gas stations. So if this is true, I may as well just buy 45 litres of gas for my skiff at the regular gas station, which will last the season and save money.

Any updated information, most appreciated.

I have not had to buy marine gas for at least 6 years, since going to propane OB. But I did not know then that ethanol free was available dockside. I thought it was all 10% E except for Chevron 94
I was told several years ago at the Steveston fuel barge that it was ethanol free and that was the general information I heard around the dock. However, I walked with a charter boat operator in Winter Harbour and he said there were water in fuel issues at that were reported to be at point of sale. I had some water in fuel issues last summer and I’m taking considerable precautions, including an inline primary fuel filter.

As far as avoiding water in fuel, I run the same filter mount and spin on Racor canister (10 micron water separating) in the dinghy as I do for my gas inboards.

I generally avoid ethanol for the dinghy, but don't care about it in the inboards. Any time I'm running ethanol free I add a little bit of Iso-heet to the tanks to make sure I'm not accumulating any little bits of water in the tanks. I'd rather it get soaked up and pulled through the system instead of causing an ethanol phase separation issue later.
Thanks RS. I have just installed the filter in the attached photo, based on a recommendation for same on TF. I also use the Mercury fuel stabilizers, short term and longer term. I have also drained the tanks/jerry cans at the end of the season, and rinsed and dried them out with 99% isopropyl alcohol. At least I will be able to check for water from time to time by draining the bowl.

False Creek Fuels and Discovery Harbour Fuel Dock (Campbell River) - both are 91 octane and ethanol free. Have been for a long time. Where do these rumours get started? 🙄
I'm on Vancouver Island and usually buy my marine (dinghy) gas in jerry cans at our local Co-Op. For years their pump said regular and premium might have up to 10% ethanol, but the marine pump always said "contains no ethanol".

Then about 18 months ago the sticker changed to say marine gas "may" contain "up to 10% ETHANOL". So I asked about it and was told because Co-Op buys all their gas from different suppliers and refiners depending on price and availability, they could no longer guarantee it to be ethanol free, all the time. But, he said, most of the time their marine gas is still ethanol-free.
Since the OP, I returned to the Steveston Fuel dock last week for a fill of diesel and he said that the petrol is definitely ethanol free. Parkland fuels still owns this operation, as distinct from the land based stations. I’m still stabilizing it and passing it on to my sons’ to put in their cars at the end of the boating season.

I always run aspen gas in my dinghy’s 20 hp Tohatsu at the end of season to clear out any shelacs. I then run the dingy with aspen fuel first thing in the spring, bring the dingy up to plane before switching to premium gas for the summer.
I always run aspen gas in my dinghy’s 20 hp Tohatsu at the end of season to clear out any shelacs. I then run the dingy with aspen fuel first thing in the spring, bring the dingy up to plane before switching to premium gas for the summer.
My son is a small engine mechanic and services many power tools, from chain saws to small excavators. He helps me with my outboard including the carburetor. His pet peeve is the use of old gas in engines. We discussed whether aspen gas would be a useful approach. He thought it might be but never went further with it. Your approach definitely makes sense and would be a way of cleaning things out at the end of the season.

Edit: My son mentioned not to mix Aspen and premium. Let the Aspen run out before filling with petrol.

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What is Aspen gas?
It’s the synthetic fuel often used in chainsaws and available at places that sell such tools. It doesn’t have the same stability issues as petrol, but it is expensive. ~$25/gallon. Given the costs associated with dealing with gummed up carburetors, most weekend warriors are better off using Aspen gas in their chainsaws than petrol.

...Where do these rumours get started? 🙄
The rumors get started here:

Renewable and Low Carbon Fuels

The LCFS requires those who market fossil-derived fuels to supply biomass-derived renewable fuels that meet the following industry standards in their fuel pool each year:

  • Gasoline minimum renewable volume is 5%
  • Diesel minimum renewable volume is 4%
  • Jet fuel minimum renewable volume is 0% in 2024-2027, 1% in 2028, 2% in 2029, and 3% in 2030 and subsequent compliance periods

Details: Low Carbon Fuels Act

And here:

Alberta: the Renewable Fuels Standard requires a minimum annual average of 5% renewable alcohol in gasoline and 2% renewable diesel in diesel fuel sold in Alberta by fuel suppliers. To meet the Renewable Fuels Standard, renewable fuels must demonstrate at least 25% fewer GHG emissions than the equivalent petroleum fuel.

Manitoba: Manitoba’s Ethanol Mandate requires fuel suppliers in Manitoba to blend at least 10% of ethanol in their gasoline. The Biodiesel Mandate requires fuel suppliers to blend 5% renewable content in on- and off-road diesel fuel.

Ontario: the Cleaner Transportation Fuels regulation requires that fuel suppliers blend 10% of renewable content in gasoline from 2020 to 2024. The renewable content requirement increases to 11% in 2025, 13% in 2028, and 15% in 2030 and onwards. The renewable content must emit fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil gasoline on a lifecycle basis by 45% before 2030 and 50% from 2030 onward. The regulation also requires fuel suppliers to continue to blend 4% renewable content in diesel. This renewable content must emit 70% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than fossil diesel on a lifecycle basis.

Saskatchewan: the Renewable Diesel Act requires fuel distributors to include 2% renewable diesel content. The province also has a 7.5% ethanol mandate.

British Columbia: the Renewable and Low Carbon Fuel Requirement mandates a 5% ethanol content in gasoline and 4% in diesel fuel. In addition, the province has a Low Carbon Fuel Standard, which aims to achieve a 20% reduction in fuel carbon intensity by 2030.

Quebec: effective January 1, 2023, gasoline and diesel fuels distributed in Québec will incorporate clean fuels. Quebec will require 10% low-carbon fuel content in gasoline in 2023 and increase this to 15% by 2030. Low-carbon fuel content in diesel will begin at 3% in 2023 and increase to 10% by 2030. In both fuel pools, the low-carbon content volume requirements will be adjusted by a carbon intensity factor.
Hmmm! I did a search on the web for testing for ethanol in gas and found this:

To determine if ethanol is in the gas:

  • On a test tube or olive bottle six or seven inches long, make a permanent line about two inches from the bottom.
  • Fill with water to this line, then fill the tube to the top with gasoline.
  • Cover the tube, agitate it, and let it stand.
The ethanol and water will mix and separate out together. If the water level appears to have increased, the fuel contains ethanol and should not be used. Ethanol percentages of less than 5% can sometimes give a reading below the line. Therefore, any deviation in the water line indicates the presence of ethanol and should serve as a basis for rejecting the fuel.”
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