The Great Corn Conspiracy: Ethanol Additives Damaging Certain Boats

Many of us around these parts maintain a bit of skepticism when it comes to the prospect of corn-based ethanol serving as a long-term gasoline substitute, or even a viable short-term patch before our great hydrogen-powered future. Fun though it may be to make ethanol-powered Vettes and Corn gas Koenigsegg's, the idea of corn-based ethanol comes with a few problems including the environmental impact of production on the US Gulf Coast, energy efficiency and the inevitable war between Illinois and Nebraska over Iowa's fertile land. You can add to that list the deleterious effect that gas with a small percentage of ethanol has on fiberglass components in boats. Seriously.

Boaters in California are learning what boating enthusiasts in New York and other states are already discovering, that the ethanol found in those states' gasoline supply can cause thousands of dollars in damage to the boats. This seems to impact boats with fiberglass materials used in their fuel tanks as the ethanol eventually pulls gums, resins and debris out of the tanks and into the engine. In response to this, one boater is suing the major gasoline companies in the state, claiming that they weren't warned of the problem. Some of the companies are claiming that most boaters knew this was a problem and the issue was well publicized. Is this a "what about the two weeks we spent at area code camp" issue or were the companies purposefully ignoring the problem? [LATimes]