We used pure 100% Methanol and Ethanol as base fuels for racing for many decades. We experienced the water problems and lack of lubrication issues and developed an additive package that alleviated the problems. That experienced unveiled many facts about using Ethanol/alcohol in fuels.
- It attracts and absorbs moisture/humidity right out of the air. I performed an experiment in Southwest, Florida, I put 5-gallons of E-10 gasoline in an open top bucket, covered it with a thin cloth and left it exposed in a well ventilated building. It was August; the relative humidity was over 90%. At the end of 30-days I discovered slightly over 3-ounces of water in the bottom. That means it is likely a larger tank can experience even more if untreated.
- Most engines cannot run over 10% Ethanol without experiencing damage, especially pre-2003 models. The exception is Flex-Fuel engines.
- Ethanol produces less BTU’s than pure gasoline so you get less miles per gallon. Therefore you lose part or all of the cost savings depending on price.
- Ethanol fuels have less lubrication than pure gasoline so it shortens the life of injectors and fuel pumps. (Even more of a problem in the newer higher pressure fuel systems)
- Ethanol blended fuels degrade much faster than pure gasoline. Therefore it has a much shorter storage life. Typically untreated fuels will begin experiencing degradation problems after 60-days
- When Ethanol blended fuels absorb moisture the viscosity changes, it becomes a thick creamy tan color similar to hand lotion and settles to the bottom of the tank. (Phase-separation). That action reduces the octane rating of the fuel which can lead to detonation/spark-knock and potentially serious engine damage.
The points listed above indicate a very grim picture of Ethanol blended fuels. But, as I stated I have been using it in all of vehicles and equipment, boats, autos, trucks, lawn equipment and RV’s for decades without a single issue. The reason is I have always used a premium fuel additive that alleviates the potential problems. For more information see our products page
Article written by Tim Dutcher, www.usafuelservice.com © All rights reserved