On Air: What Should Boaters Keep in Mind When Dealing With Gas Prices?
Great Lakes Boating & Marine Trades - News


Dave White, New York Sea Grant, Recreation and Tourism Specialist, P: 315-312- 3042, E: dgw9@cornell.edu

Oswego, NY, June 22, 2022 - What should boaters keep in mind when dealing with gas prices?

"As a boat owner, as a boater, [people] really need to be thinking about what type of gas they're using in their boat engine," says Dave White, New York Sea Grant's Coastal Recreation and Tourism Specialist. "And that's why most marinas sell non ethanol gas. And most gas stations have at least one or more pumps that you can get non ethanol gas. 

"Yes, it is more expensive, but it is designed to be utilized on your boat and actually it's better for your boat. You'll have better efficiency, you'll have better economy. And also if you're utilizing a higher based ethanol gas, it can actually void the warranty on your engine because it will damage your engine because they're not designed specifically for ethanol based gas."

White spoke with News Director Dave Rowley on WDOE 1040 AM / 94.9 FM's "Viewpoint" program, which is broadcast in the greater Syracuse and Oswego regions. 

Viewpoint airs on WDOE Monday through Friday at 8:45am. Dave Rowley has been handling the hosting duties for more than 20 years, interviewing local, county and state elected officials. Community groups are also featured on the 15-minute live interview show. Listeners email their questions to Dave, who includes those inquires in the interviews.

You can also listen to the entire "Viewpoint" program featuring Dave White of New York Sea Grant in the clip below ...


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Full Transcript: 

Speaker1: [00:00:00] It's time for Viewpoint. Here's your host, Dave Rowley. And welcome to Viewpoint with us on our live line, we have Dave White from the New York Sea Grant, Coastal and Recreational Tourism Specialist. Dave, quite a title, welcome to the program.

Speaker2: [00:00:25] Good morning, Dave. Always great to be with you.

Speaker1: [00:00:27] Well, Dave, a lot of people [00:00:30] getting out on Lake Erie, on the Great Lakes, Chautauqua Lake, the waterways, enjoying boating, going into 2022 summer. And gas prices may have caused gasoline containing 15% ethanol gas to be more available in the market. Dave, what should boaters keep in mind when dealing with gas prices? [00:01:00] 

Speaker2: [00:01:02] Well, head to that one in just a moment. Okay. I want to encourage all your listeners to to really enjoy their summer on their boat. It's going to it's going to be a tough one. Gas prices are high. You know, you and I are going to spend some time this morning talking about ways to, you know, help conserve and that kind of thing. But, you know, always remember, this is why we live, you know, in in New York and here in western New York with these great water resources we have. And on open water, we only get three or four months to take advantage of it. So, you know, you and I can [00:01:30] chat today about ways to conserve and to save and economize. But, you know, really, you know, I'm a lifelong boater and I just encourage everybody, you know, please get out and enjoy what we have maybe in just a little different way. But don't let the gas prices dissuade you from having that great family and friendly fun out on our waters. You know, because it's we're going to have to deal with this summer. But I would hate to see people, you know, lose another summer of opportunity, as you would. So that said is my positive thing. Please get [00:02:00] out and enjoy what we have. You're right. When we do talk gas, E15 becomes a major concern because most engines on boats are not manufactured to accommodate E15 gasoline. So, you know, as a as a boat owner, as a boater, they really need to be thinking about what type of gas they're using in their boat engine. And that's why most marinas sell non ethanol gas. And most gas stations have at least one [00:02:30] or more pumps that you can get non ethanol gas. And yes, it is more expensive, but it is designed to be utilized on your boat and actually it's better for your boat. You'll have better efficiency, you'll have better economy. And also if you're utilizing a higher based ethanol gas, it can actually void the warranty on your engine because it will damage your engine because they're not designed specifically for ethanol based gas.

Speaker1: [00:02:55] Yeah. What kind of damage can a E15 [00:03:00] actually do to an engine?

Speaker2: [00:03:03] It can, you know, you know, using these high technical terms, it can gunk it up. You can have problems with some of the actual mechanical parts themselves. So that's where, you know, it becomes a grave concern. You know, it will, you know, either shut your engine down, burn your engine out so you could end up with a huge repair bill if you're using E15 based gas and it's been on the market for years. It's been out there for years. This [00:03:30] is something that, you know, all of our good friends at Boat U.S. and Discover Boating, and, you know, everybody really tries to help boaters have an understanding of in all of our marine dealers, all your boat sales folks will tell people the reason it's become a bigger concern this year is a waiver is in effect. And you're going to see it more prevalent at gas stations because of how it's produced in trying to get more gasoline out on the marketplace. So that's where it's a little bit bigger issue this year, only because it's going to be more prevalent. And we just want to make sure [00:04:00] folks, when they're going to the gas station, that they're really looking to say, okay, what is the ethanol base of the gas that I'm getting? So something to really keep in mind. And also remember that, you know, I, I know as you go to the local gas station with your car, you're seeing prices and then you're going down to the marina.

Speaker2: [00:04:16] And those marina prices are higher. They're not gouging, folks. A lot of times people have said, well, you know, they're charging me an extra $0.10, you know, you know, just to make some money. They don't make a lot of money on gas. And the reason their prices are higher [00:04:30] is they get smaller shipments in because they can't get the big truck down to a lot of these marinas. So the trucks that are bringing the gas to a marina are already smaller. So there's you know, there's an increased cost of transport to get it to them. Their tanks are smaller, so they have to get filled more frequently. And they're only, you know, essentially a six month customer. So the gas that a marina is getting is more expensive to them. And so they're really just, it's a service they're trying to provide. They don't make a lot of money [00:05:00] on the gas at the marina. It's just really a service they're trying to provide. But also it's an environmental service that most marinas will not let you bring a 5 gallon gas can in because that's a real recipe for disaster if you have a spill.

Speaker1: [00:05:14] Right. Right. Now, you mentioned E15. What type of gasoline should boaters be using?

Speaker2: [00:05:25] It's it's recommended by all manufacturers and all user groups that they use [00:05:30] non ethanol gas, both because of the ethanol issue, but also it will is actually more efficient for your engine and for your boat. And it's a better product to be using. And that's why across the board marinas do sell non ethanol. And you know, I filled my car yesterday with gas and at the pump I was at it had a non ethanol in the non ethanol was $0.10 more a gallon for the station I was at. But it was also, [00:06:00] you know, quite a bit cheaper than diesel. So it's running in between, if you will. Right. And it's just something for people to be thinking about, you know, and I think a lot of folks are going to reduce the amount of time they're using their engine on their boat. You know, as I've said to a lot of folks, you know, where you might have gone out for, you know, a full day on a Saturday or Sunday with the family and you might, you know, drive an hour's worth of time. I think we're going to see people maybe scaled back and they'll only be driving like a half hour of time and then they'll be, you know, enjoying [00:06:30] their time out on the boat, you know, sitting and enjoying the water and swimming. So, you know, there's things you can do to continue to use your boat, to continue to be out on the water, to be more efficient, reduce the drag on your boats, you know, in those kinds of things just to just to help get us through the summer. But again, I end everything with. But please use your boat. Please get out there and please enjoy it. Don't let the higher gas price hold you back.

Speaker1: [00:06:53] Now, octane is also something people should actually be keeping an eye [00:07:00] on as well.

Speaker2: [00:07:02] It is, and again, depending on the type of boat you have and type of engine, and that's where you know, and again, doing a quick search online, you know, that I own a 1968 Evinrude engine, you know, because engines have been, you know, just like car engines over time. And I always equate, you know, a boat is, you know, your car on water. So the things you're doing to enhance the efficiency of your car or to make sure you're using the right gas in your car is the same thing you want to do for [00:07:30] your boat. You know, a lot of cottage owners have, you know, engines that were their grandfather's that were designed entirely differently than engines of today. So that's where, you know, I always recommend to folks, you know, check your manufacturer's you know, your your manual. I don't even think they give out manuals anymore. They're now all online. Yeah, but and for a lot of, you know, older boats. I know, you know, it's the lake house where we're at. You know, a lot of the neighbors have, you know, grandma and grandpa’s, boat and engine, and they don't [00:08:00] have a manual for it. So, you know, but you can find that information online. So you make you know, that's where it's really worth that prep time to spend a little bit of time saying, okay, you know, gas is going to be an issue of concern this year. Let me just check that out. A lot of people find they may not have been using the right gas up till now and maybe why they've been having some problems and they've had to get it tuned up because, you know, it just got some gunk in it. So because different manufacturers, different years of engines operate differently, that's where you really [00:08:30] should check to make sure you're using the best gas for the most efficiency and effectiveness in your engine.

Speaker1: [00:08:36] And also just so important, you, you alluded to this a little bit earlier, but preventing spills while you're fueling up your boat.

Speaker2: [00:08:47] Well, absolutely. You know, a lot of I mean, a good share, you know, 80% plus of our boaters are trailer boaters. So they're actually going to the gas station and, you know, and filling up there and, you know, which you know, you're protected there. You've [00:09:00] got the spill kits in case there's a problem and that kind of thing. So they're filling right there. And, you know, but at the marina, if you're, you know, filling at the marina, that's where usually they're going to have the dock hand help you out. They're probably going to be using some kind of a fuel nozzle bib to make sure they're not getting any spillage into the water. You know, our marina friends within all of our, our great marine trade associations across New York state are real environmental stewards. I mean, they live and die by water quality in some cases. So they're some of our best environmental stewards. So, you know, when they have their folks, [00:09:30] you know, helping out at the dock, pumping gas in, that they're really thinking about that environmental aspect and they're going to have the fuel nozzle bib. They're going to have the towel there to make sure they're not getting any drips and they're going to wipe the boat down to make sure there's no gas residue on the boat, because, you know, we do want to be, you know, considerate of that environmental aspect.

Speaker2: [00:09:47] And that is why a lot of them do not allow people to bring their own gas in. You know, in boaters will say, well, I can buy it, you know, $0.10 cheaper up there than here. And they go, I'm not gouging you, but, you know. Pouring that five [00:10:00] gallons of gas in and all of a sudden you top it off, and it spills into the water. And if there's a gas sheen, the entire marina could be shut down because of a pollution spill until they can get, you know, an agency to come in and actually do a remediation and remove the fuel that's been spilled into the marina. So there is those environmental concerns. And that's why, you know, at marinas, they do have these regulations and restrictions because they want to make sure that they don't have any spillage, you know, by their own staff or by folks that have their boats [00:10:30] in the facility.

Speaker1: [00:10:31] Now, you mention the environment and, and rising gas prices. Are there some alternative engine options that are out there, especially for people that are shopping for a new boat?

Speaker2: [00:10:46] Oh, absolutely. It is a fabulous marketplace for engine alternatives. And, you know, if you haven't been in the boat market for a while or you're looking to go in, you know, you can look at electric, solar, [00:11:00] as well as propane. All three are becoming more commonplace, especially electric and propane. And a big change a lot of people don't realize is those engines are now being manufactured in the higher horsepower. I mean, most people think of their electric trolling motor that they have on their boat that's two and a half oars and that kind of thing. You're now seeing electric motors in the higher horsepowers of, you know, 35, 50 and above. And you're also seeing that with propane and propane is just fabulous. [00:11:30] It's really an interesting concept. And we're seeing the higher horsepower now in propane. And I mean, I have, I have a two and a half horsepower propane engine that I use for demonstrations. And actually it's a camping canister, propane, if you will, that screws into the top of the engine. You can also put a full size, you know, hose to it if you want. But that's basically what this engine runs off of. So there is no emission from it and there's no noise. I mean, from an engine standpoint, there's no, you [00:12:00] know, noise. So for folks that want to be out more in the quiet hours, electric and propane are really great options and we're seeing them become a larger part of the marketplace.

Speaker1: [00:12:10] What kind of range can you get if you use one of those smaller canisters.

Speaker2: [00:12:17] Depending on the engine manufacturer,  and again, what they will tell you is it's by minutes usually is what they're going to say. You know, And so you have you know, you have to be cognizant of it. And that's where, you know, so it's you know, when you're on [00:12:30] the small lake, you're out on a reservoir, you're using the small one. But they also all come that you can use your, you know, your typical, you know, barbecue type propane tank that you can have on board and it'll run up to a hose. So, again, depending on how much you're using, where you're going, that dictates, as it does with the boat that you're buying. It will then help dictate with the engine you're buying. You know what what am I looking for? And if you know, if you're a person who operates a lot, you're out operating the boat a lot and running the [00:13:00] engine. You know, you know, these may not be an immediate option for you, but it's also, like I said, I always ask folks, you know, well, how much do you use your boat? And I go, we are out every Saturday and Sunday. And I go, that's really cool.

Speaker2: [00:13:13] How much time do you spend running your boat? And they go, What do you mean I go, Well, are you out like all day long running it? And you're driving around like you're going through the canal or something like that and like, Oh no, we just go 10 minutes out and park there and then we come back 10 minutes later. I said, So the day that you've gone out and spent 8 hours on the lake, [00:13:30] you only run your engine a half an hour. And they go, Oh, yeah, yeah, that's true. I said, You, you have 8 hours on the boat, but you have a half an hour on the engine. Yeah, Yeah. You know, so. So could you use these. Absolutely. Because you're not, you know, I mean, if you're running in the canal where you're going 8 hours because you're traversing the canal, entirely different engine operation versus someone you know. I know a lot of people that they do, they just go out because they like to get out on the lake, but then they just enjoy the day on the lake. They're not really [00:14:00] running their engine at all.

Speaker1: [00:14:01] As we wrap up today's Viewpoint interview, Dave, how can people get more information about fueling their their boats?

Speaker2: [00:14:10] You know, we are fortunate in the boating industry that we just have some great partners. A great partner is Boat U.S. They have just great information online, including about gas, understanding ethanol, connecting with the manufacturer, getting information about your engine, you know, efficient operation as well as all the good [00:14:30] safety information, all the good clean water information that they have in Discover Boating, which is a partnership between several national associations, really provides, you know, if I'm looking for a new boat, what do I want to be thinking about? If I want to look at some of these newer technologies for propulsion, what should I be looking at? So those are two of some of the best sites that I think are out there that are really designed for the boater to get that information into their hands so they can enjoy boating and become part of boating. And just, you know, enjoy [00:15:00] that day out on the water one day.

Speaker1: [00:15:02] Well Dave thanks for joining us on Viewpoint.

Speaker2: [00:15:05] Always great to be with you. And, you know, again, it's my plea to folks and my hope to folks is please use your boats this summer. You know, use them efficiently and economically, but man get out on our waterways because we are so, so fortunate. I'm just,  I love hearing you talk about Lake Erie, Chautauqua, Lake, some of our inland rivers and streams. You know, it's why we love to be here. So please enjoy your summer on it and be safe and be clean.

Speaker1: [00:15:28] Well, thanks a lot, Dave [00:15:30] White.

Speaker2: [00:15:31] Have a great day.

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