Ethanol-Blended Gasoline May Do More Harm Than Good

The statement that ethanol-blended gasoline helps fuel economy is horrifically incorrect. With hopes to open peoples’ eyes to this myth, ethanol-blended fuels could be the answer to fuel economy, greener transportation or eco-friendly production. Unfortunately, it has fallen far shorter than many hoped in all of these areas. There are two distinctly different types of ethanol-blended fuels. Because the word gasoline is used in the question, I assume it is querying about conventional modern unleaded fuel which does now contain trace amounts of ethanol. E85, of which I have gained a considerable amount of knowledge during the last two months, and regular gasoline mixed with trace amounts of ethanol, something I have researched thoroughly for a few weeks now.

E85 might not be good for your old carsGas Companies Make More Money

Unleaded gasoline now contains a small amount of ethanol, roughly 10%. This 10% is added for the sole purpose of widening the profit margin of the sale. Do NOT let them fool you. Ethanol is cheaper to produce than gasoline, and by mixing this ethanol into standard unleaded, and selling you their “gasoline,” they make even more money. The truth if you are running a conventional vehicle, is that this ethanol is indeed hurting your engine and robbing you of mileage. Because the ethanol burns quicker in the mixture than the remaining gasoline, they essentially sold you about 95% of a tank of expensive fuel for the price of a full tank.

In the meantime the ethanol, because it is corrosive, is damaging the interior parts of your engine. If left in your car for prolonged periods of time, the fuel tank and carburetor will be compromised. Because gasoline is constantly present in your vehicle — whether the same batch or not, parts are always exposed to the caustic effects of ethanol. These problems with conventional engines have arisen from the recent addition of ethanol in standard gasoline; however, in a non-conventional E85-ready vehicle which can use either fuel safely, this is the better, more efficient fuel.

Octane Rating

Ethanol’s octane rating of 110 drops to about 103 when mixed to create E85. By itself, ethanol’s octane rating is noticeably higher than unleaded’s rating of 87. The truth is, the lower the octane, the slower burning the fuel. Therefore, regular gasoline is the most efficient in cost and performance. Likewise, this should help dispel the myth of premium gasoline yielding better mileage. If your vehicle can run regular gasoline, it should. There is no need to use premium gasoline, unless your vehicle states it, or if it is being used in a small engine such as a lawnmower, or weed-whacker.

Because of the new “unleaded,” smaller engines fail quickly when put in storage. In these events, do NOT siphon but use premium gasoline and a fuel stabilizer. It will help, but nothing can prevent the inevitable.) Like modern ethanol-blended unleaded fuel, which contains 10% ethanol and 90% standard gasoline, E85 is almost the exact opposite with 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded. When comparing the two front-running fuels, the price is almost equal per mile. E85 is indeed cheaper, but a tank of unleaded will travel farther than a tank of E85 evening out the price advantage E85 may have over traditional gasoline. Most E85-ready vehicles benefit on unleaded with a five mpg advantage over E85. Also, with a stronger engine capable of withstanding the corrosive behavior of ethanol, an FFV’s (Flex-fuel vehicle) engine will last much longer on gasoline. The only trick is that once an FFV owner chooses a fuel, they must stay with it or vital engine parts will fail. The claim that you can switch between E85 and unleaded at your discretion is a lie. If components (fuel injectors for example) get used to one fuel over another, it will unsuccessfully operate and fail altogether on the other.

On Extended Warranty

Plus, you will not get the full mileage potential of your vehicle, unless it is broken in on a particular fuel. Ethanol fuel in itself is not worth it. When you examine all the characteristics of it, there is no advantage in price, mileage or value. The only positive that ethanol has brought about is the FFV. Not because it allows a person to use E85 fuel with the same wear and tear as a conventional vehicle on gasoline, but because it allows for huge maintenance opportunities, if it’s enhanced components are taken advantage of. An FFV vehicle capable of receiving the everyday torture that E85 dishes out could easily outlast a typical conventional vehicle by leaps and bounds if given traditional gasoline instead. Essentially, buying an E85-ready vehicle is like buying a more extended warranty for your car’s engine.

Gasoline and ethanol when compared side by side are relatively identical when used in an E85-ready vehicle. When used in a conventional engine, even small traces of ethanol can cause major component damage. In conclusion, when ethanol is mixed into traditional gasoline, it reduces the value of that fuel causing lower mileage, increased emissions (because of the way ethanol is produced and burned) and an even higher profit margin for one of the most lucrative industries in the world.

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