Class Says Ethanol Ruins Boat Engines | Courthouse News Service
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
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Class Says Ethanol Ruins Boat Engines

LOS ANGELES (CN) - The ethanol that Big Oil companies add to gasoline ruins the fiberglass fuel tanks typically used in boats, a class action claims in Federal Court. A California boater demands damages from Chevron and eight other oil companies for anyone who bought gas with ethanol from a California company for a boat with a fiberglass tank.

Named as defendants are Chevron, BP, ExxonMobil, Shell, Tesoro, ConocoPhillips, Tower Energy, Petro-Diamond, and Big West. Taylor says they began using ethanol to replace ether in gasoline beginning in 2004.

Named plaintiff Lawrence Taylor claims the companies failed to explain the difference in the gas blend, simply continuing to label ethanol-supplemented gas as "unleaded." He says the companies knew that the gas could damage fiberglass fuel tanks.

Ethanol-blended gas is unsuitable as a fuel for boats for several reasons, the complaint states. It dissolves the resin that hold fiberglass together, which is how it wrecks the gas tank. The dissolved resins then enter the fuel system and stick to the engine. The problem is intensified in a wet environment due to a process called phase separation. Ethanol rapidly absorbs water, causing it to separate from gasoline. The gasoline floats to the top of the tank, leaving a highly corrosive ethanol and water mixture concentrated at the bottom of the tank.

Taylor seeks an injunction, restitution, and compensatory and special damages.

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