FUEL MATTERS: Be Mindful of Fuel Choices When Trailering and Traveling

Most outdoorsmen have their favorite local gas station where they regularly fuel up their cars, SUVs, and tow vehicles.  And the same goes for filling up their boats, whether they keep them on a trailer or in the marina — where they often strike up a relationship with the local fuel dock.

They do this because they trust the gasoline brand in general and the station in particular.  They trust that the gasoline will be high-quality, TOP-TIER™ fuel that is fresh and uncontaminated and will deliver the rated octane they paid for.  This is particularly important for the costly, high-performance outboard motors powering many of today’s popular boats.

When boaters and fishermen are traveling, however, they can sometimes be forced to settle for a generic gas station when it comes time to refuel the boat. Whether you’re a bass tournament angler dragging your rig to a new lake, a saltwater angler heading to some remote backcountry destination, or a Southern Californian towing your center console deep down the Baja Peninsula, you could find yourself settling for whatever is available to you when you need to re-fill your boat. Here are some tips from the fuel experts at Chevron and Techron Marine to help traveling boaters get the best performance out of their vessels while avoiding potential fuel-related issues.

Plan Ahead.  Give yourself as much control as possible over when and where you fill your boat. Instead of leaving things to chance, map out and investigate potential fuel stops before you begin your boating road trip. Start with a full tank of gasoline you trust in your boat, and plan when/where you might fill up along the way on your multi-day adventure. This can help avoid having to “take what you can get” to go fishing the next day.

Know Your Nozzle.  All gasoline is not created equal. The fuel experts at Chevron strongly recommend putting only TOP-TIER™ gasoline into your boat — or any vehicle, for that matter. Studies have shown that TOP-TIER™ gasoline creates 19 times fewer carbon deposits on fuel injectors, intake valves and combustion chambers compared to regular gasoline. In addition, a recent AAA study revealed that detergent additives required for fuels to earn TOP-TIER™ status definitively help engines run more smoothly and efficiently.  

Avoid Ethanol If Possible.  According to the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA), all current outboard, sterndrive and inboard gasoline engines are designed to operate safely on fuel with no more than 10 percent ethanol (E10). However, the presence of ethanol in fuel does create a variety of fuel system issues for boats, beginning with corrosion. Ethanol also attracts water and can absorb moisture from the environment. This means boaters need to take extra care with their fuel systems and use and maintain water-separating fuel filters. E10 is today’s most widely available fuel, but in some states like Florida, boaters still have the ability to purchase non-ethanol fuels at certain stations.   Boaters should never use fuels with 15 percent ethanol blends (E15), as its use can cause damage to the engine and fuel system and actually void the manufacturer’s engine warranty. This is important, as according to the NMMA, E15 is becoming more prevalent across the US, and is not always clearly labeled.

Mind the Octane.  It is important for boaters to know what octane fuel is recommended for their boat’s engine.  Even among today’s powerful V6 outboard motors, some can run just fine on “regular” 87-octane fuel, while other manufacturers and models require higher-octane premium gasoline. Know before you go. You need to figure the availability of the fuel you need into your planning when you’re taking a multi-day, multi-state, and multi-fill-up trip.

Be Careful When Boating Across Borders.  Boaters who travel into Baja, Mexico — whether over the road or by water — will likely have no choice but to fill up at Pemex®, the Mexican state-owned oil company. They are the only game in town, and stations are often widely spread and in remote locations. Boaters would be wise to question the quality of the fuel and how long it has been in storage tanks, as these stations likely don’t see the amount of turnover/deliveries as typical U.S. service stations. These fuels lack detergency and can create higher-than-usual carbon deposits. Still, you may have no choice but to fill up and hope for the best.  It’s wise to purchase the highest octane rating available, use a quality marine fuel additive with every tank and refill with TOP-TIER™ gasoline you trust as soon as possible after returning. For extended fishing forays into Mexico, it’s also smart to carry a couple of extra water-separating fuel filters in case one becomes clogged.

Back up water filters, with easy access to replacment is key.

Use Techron Marine Protection Plus Fuel System Treatment.  Boaters should use this specially formulated marine fuel additive with every fill-up. This is particularly true when traveling by your boat, or anytime you may find yourself not fully trusting the quality or the freshness of the fuel you’re using. Techron Marine is the only comprehensive marine fuel additive that prevents corrosion in extreme saltwater environments, cleans the engine and entire fuel system with the trusted power of Techron, and stabilizes fuel for up to two years. 

Traveling boaters should dose their fuel tank with Techron Marine at every fill-up throughout their trip. The one-ounce-per-10-gallons treatment rate makes this very economical. Upon returning from an extended adventure, it’s wise to top off the tank with trusted TOP-TIER™ fuel and again treat it with the proper amount of Techron Marine before storage. 

To learn more about how Techron Marine protects your boat’s engine and fuel system — whether traveling or fishing your hometown waters — visit www.TechronClean.com.