WHEELING, Ill. – Owners of powersports vehicles such as snowmobiles, ATVs and personal watercraft are becoming aware that the gasoline they buy can contain up to 15 percent ethanol. In fact the U.S. Department of Energy states that more than 95 percent of gasoline sold in the U.S. contains as much as 10 percent ethanol. Such blends can present a host of performance problems and a reduction in fuel economy of as much as 25 percent.
Ethanol is particularly troublesome because it is hygroscopic -- that is, it attracts moisture, from the atmosphere and any other available source. Since water and gasoline do not mix, the ethanol and gasoline combine into a single liquid which separates in the fuel tank and lines, forming a layer of this ethanol/water blend in the bottom of the tank.
Since this ethanol/water blend burns much leaner than gasoline, it can cause engine damage when sucked up by the fuel pump. Moisture condensation due to humidity and temperature fluctuations is of particular concern with seasonal powersports vehicles like snowmobiles and personal watercraft that can spend months in storage.
“While new technologies in fuel chemistry can have environmental and other benefits, they often bring unintended consequences,” said Mark Kardon, director of marketing for The Penray Companies Inc. “In the case of ethanol fuels, the tendency to attract moisture brings the potential for separation of the fuel components within the fuel system. This is much more of a problem with ethanol-based fuels than with non-ethanol blends since powersports vehicles are not designed to run on pure ethanol.”
In response to the growing number of concerns and complaints about the use of ethanol fuels, Penray has introduced Penray Plus Ethanol Stabilizer, which provides several specific benefits, according to the company:
- The Ethanol Stabilizer incorporates a special solvent to prevent the ethanol and gasoline from separating in the fuel in the tank. Without such a solvent the ethanol/water layer can corrode the inside of the fuel tank and degrade fuel lines, fuel injectors, and other critical fuel system components. It can, of course, also cause driveability problems as the engine ingests ethanol and water instead of blended gasoline.
- An antioxidant in this new Penray Plus product prevents degradation of the fuel, which is important since ethanol-based fuels can form corrosive acids due to oxidation. This antioxidant also prevents formation of gums and varnishes that can accumulate in fuel systems, possibly compromising the operation of precision-machined fuel injectors and other fuel system components.
- Penray Plus Ethanol Stabilizer includes a specially formulated corrosion inhibitor to counteract the effects of ethanol on aluminum and other metals found in carbureted engines.
- The product also includes a cleansing agent that helps to break up, and prevent, the formation of carbon deposits that can clog valves and fuel injectors, wasting fuel and causing starting and performance issues.
In addition to preserving the performance and efficiency of powersports vehicles, Penray Plus Ethanol Stabilizer also serves to extend the life of ethanol-based fuels that may be unused for extended periods of time. Such would be the case with lawn and garden equipment and auxiliary generators.
“Regular use of our new Ethanol Stabilizer will keep fuel homogeneous during storage to help prevent unseen corrosion that can compromise the performance and efficiency of fuel system components, and even damage them, leading to expensive repairs,” Kardon said.
Penray's powersports business is directed by Bill Nonnamaker, senior vice president of sales.
From a press release