Why Consider a Propane Outboard?

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It’s Greener

In recent years, increasing environmental regulations have led to the development of cleaner burning gasoline-powered outboard motors. But, in terms of their environmental sustainability, nothing has revolutionized the outboard engine market like the advent of propane-fueled motors.

Propane outboards burn fuel 50 times – yes, you read that right, 50 times! – cleaner than even eco-friendly gasoline-powered outboards. They release very little in the way of greenhouse gases or toxic fumes. In fact, some propane-powered outboards have zero emissions!

Easier to Start and Run More Smoothly

Because propane fuel is pressurized, propane outboards start more easily. There’s no need to prime or choke the engine. And, because propane is naturally high in Octane (over 100), when you move the throttle, you’ll find a wide range of power.

No Need for Fuel Additives or Winterization

Although you won’t easily find a propane station at the dock, propane offers significant benefits over gasoline as a fuel for outboard motors.

First, there’s no need to use additives, mix fuel or pour gas. Propane comes in its own canister. All you need to do is hook up the tank to your propane-powered motor, and you’re ready to go.

Even better, unlike gasoline, propane doesn’t contain ethanol and won’t degrade over time. That means there’s no need to winterize your fuel tank or worry about how fresh your fuel is. Also, because propane fuel systems are closed, you don’t have to worry about water infiltrating your tank.

A Versatile Fuel

Another great thing about having a propane outboard – when you tote your propane canister along on your next outing, you can simply disconnect the tank from your motor, and you’re ready to fire up your gas stove, grill, heater or refrigerator.

Made in the USA

A simple hydrocarbon, propane is a byproduct of refining natural gas and petroleum. It’s plentiful and made in the USA, so there’s no reliance on foreign oil.

Additional Pros and Cons of Propane Outboards

Although propane powered outboards have many benefits, there are a few drawbacks.

Still, the positives seem to outweigh any negatives.

For example, a propane outboard will cost you more than a gasoline powered motor of the same horsepower. But, because the engine is more efficient, you’ll see better performance at that horsepower level.

If you experience a problem with a propane-powered motor, you may have a more difficult time finding service. On the other hand, because propane isn’t a solvent like gasoline, it’s easier on the engine, so your propane outboard likely will require less maintenance.

Safety concerns have kept some people away from embracing the use of propane for outboard motors, but automatic shut-off valves on the engine and in the fuel hose connector (like those found on the new Mercury 5 hp propane outboard) are addressing those concerns.

Finally, there aren’t yet many propane outboard models available from which to choose. However, that number is growing. Online Outboards carries 5 hp LPG powered engines from Tohatsu, and new 5 hp propane models from Mercury will join our line up in August. Uses include powering a standard jon boat or inflatable as well as kicker and sailboat applications.

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