Ethanol additives will destroy your boat, ruin your marriage, and cause California to calve off into the sea

A non-ethanol gas station in coastal NC. Price per gallon across the street is $3.45. People are willing to pay a premium for their ethanol fears. Photo by Andrew David Thaler

Ethanol. For many boat owners in coastal North Carolina, it’s a dirty word. Since the mid 2000’s, various federal and state regulations have mandated the addition of up to 10% ethanol in gasoline. The reaction has been a combination of legitimate concern and hyperbolic declarations of doom (ecoterrorist have taken over our government and it’s a vast conspiracy to force you to buy a new car every three years – yes, someone said that too me). The rationale for federal mandates come primarily from the Energy Policy Act (2005), the Renewable Fuel Standard Program (2006), and the Energy Independence and Security Act (2007), while state mandates tend to deal with air quality and the recent appearance of methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE) in the drinking water (ethanol fulfills the same role as MTBE in gasoline). Renewable resources, energy independence, national security, and clean air and water, it would seem that ethanol has a little something for everyone.

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Welcome to a Week of Ocean Pseudoscience!

Few things have inspired the human imagination quite like the ocean. The vast, mysterious deep is the stuff of poets, artists, explorers, and scientists. A natural result of this seemingly endless, unfathomable world-beneath-the-waves is the emergence of a broad and persistent ocean mythology, ranging from tales of sea monsters, to near magical healing powers, to perceptions of infinite abundance. Every year, we take a week to explore these myths – the fictions, falsehoods, and pseudoscience – surrounding the ocean.

Welcome to a Week of Ocean Pseudoscience!

We’ve got some great posts on our plate, starting today. We’ll be counting down our top seven misunderstood marine creatures, exposing some deceptions from the climate denial industry, investigating rumors surrounding the use of ethanol additive in outboard motors, and having some fun with cryptozoology. David will probably have something to say about sharks, too.

Along the way, our friends from Deep Fried Sea will join us as they wander the ocean looking for the still missing Iffy and meet all kinds of weird and wonderful marine creatures.

That awesome logo was designed by Jason Robertshaw of the Cephalopodcast. If any other ocean bloggers want to join in, feel free to stamp your post with that logo and shoot me an e-mail so we can link to it from the homepage. Over on twitter, feel free to tweet us your favorite ocean psuedoscience, with the hashtag #PseudOcean (and follow us @SFriedScientist, @WhySharksMatter, and @bgrassbluecrab). So settle in for a week of ocean pseudoscience.