Boating Industry

July 2016

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 33 of 43 34 | Boating Industry | July 2016 MARKET FOCUS SECTION { FUEL ADDITIVES } BY JONATHAN SWEET There are plenty of additives out there for the marine industry, promising to solve all of your fuel woes. But with little in the way of regulation or consistent, reliable testing, boaters and service personnel alike need to be cautious about what they use and recommend, man- ufacturers say. "Everybody makes a lot of claims, but in the end it's 'buyer beware,'" said Dave Grochocki, vice president of operations for ValvTect Petroleum Products. "If it sounds unbelievable, it probably is." For example, any additive maker that claims its products remove ethanol or re- verse phase separation is talking about something that isn't scientifically possible. The internet has made it possible for companies to more easily find a buying au- dience for their products, but it's also made it tougher to sell a bad product that doesn't achieve what it claims to. Spend a few min- utes with Google typing in product names and you're going to get a pretty good read on the quality of a product. "In the old days you could maybe hide, but today if you don't have a good product it gets exposed instantly," said Greg Dornau, executive vice president, Star brite. "From the consumer's point of view, I don't think they've ever been able to get better, more on-the-spot infor- Additives offer fuel solutions But be wary of unrealistic claims, manufacturers say mation. The days of having a top-selling product that doesn't work are pretty close to long gone." Once a manufacturer has been in the market for several years – as many of the leading additive suppliers have been – it's probably a good sign the products get the job done. "You have a number of products that have been around for years, top products," Dornau said. "You can generally have faith in a product that's been a top seller for five, six, 10 years. The market now is educated and communicates better than it ever has." One of the simplest tests is simply to use or recommend to your buyers those products that are being recommended (or manufactured or marketed) by OEMs, said Tom Bingham, senior director of market- ing, Gold Eagle. "If engine or boat manufacturers rec- ommend a product, it's a good prod- uct, because they're the ones who face an irate customer if there's a problem," Bingham said. While various tests exist for additives and fuels, Dornau recommends taking those with a grain of salt. "We're always leery of testing because not all tests are accurate, and not all tests are used or applied correctly," he said. "We see a lot of people in the industry that gravi- tate to one or two tests that we all use and we all notice that whoever runs the test al- ways comes out on top." Many tests can give widely varying re- sults, making them less useful in comparing additives. Plus, many additives are trying to accomplish different goals, and one test can't measure everything. "You can sometimes tailor a test to give you the results you want," Dornau said. "If you're looking at the testing provided by a company, you really want to look at a wide range of testing." For example, Star brite conducts chemi- cal lab testing, live engine bench testing in the lab and fleet tests, where the product is put in boats out on the water. "When you get into fleet testing, you re- ally get a sense of what a product is going to do in the real world," Dornau said.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Boating Industry - July 2016