An additive warning

Jonathan Sweet, Editor-in-Chief
June 14, 2013
Filed under Features

This is a sidebar of the article The post-ethanol fuel future?

There are many fuel additives on the market these days that promise to solve a number of problems from protecting marine engines from E15 damage to restoring bad fuel.

Many of these additives are making promises they can’t deliver, so dealers and marinas need to be very careful about the products they carry, said Jerry Nessenson, president of ValvTect Petroleum Products, which produces both additives and marine fuel.

“One of the problems with the fuel additive business is that there are really no specifications for a fuel additive that is sold over the counter,” he said. “People can make up any kind of additive, make all kinds of claims and not be consistent with what the engine manufacturers and the refineries would approve of.”

Because of that, the National Marine Manufacturers Association has been working on developing a standard for additives, similar to the ones in place for two- and four-cycle oils. The NMMA certification would set requirements for testing of additives, Nessenson said.

“Once that’s completed, it would give dealers some credible information to sell or recommend a product that meets industry specifications,” he said.

In the meantime, Nessenson offered some advice before deciding whether or not to carry a product.

Most importantly, does the product make outrageous claims, like it can “solve E15 problems” or “restore bad fuel?” While there are good products on the market that address E10 (such as ValvTect’s Ethanol Gasoline Treatment), there aren’t any that can address E15 or restore fuel that has phase separated, Nessenson said.

Dealers should also ask if the product meets ASTM specifications for a fuel additive and contains important elements such as a corrosion inhibitor, moisture dispersant and detergent to control carbon deposits.

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