Gasoline with ethanolis not really new, but I’m starting to see
E85 (flex fuel)in California and
E15-E30as close as Arizona, so I thought it would be a good time to write about it.
E85 is 85% Ethanol and 15% Gasoline. You have to own a Flex Fuel Vehicle to even consider using it. E15 is 15% Ethanol and 85% Gasoline and so on with the E20 and E30s. The more Ethanol in the gasoline the less cost per gallon at the pump.
The problem comes from the fact ethanol attracts moisture and causes problems in the fuel system, though it seems to be a little more forgiving on the later model vehicles. Here is an article from AAA (Automobile Club of America) about the warnings of these fuels.
My opinion and recommendation is simple. Being the fact fuel mileage drops off at the about same rate or percentage as the cost saving of these fuels (20% cost saving at the pump usually works out to 20% less fuel mileage), there is no real cost savings advantage and no need to risk the effects of using ethanol/gasoline (any gasoline marked with an E-).
All gasoline can contain up to 10% Ethanol, but the articles I’ve read state most don’t carry the 10% maximum allowed. For the most part it seems to be a lower percentage and only appears to cause problems in cars or equipment which is unused for long periods of time. Example, small engines like lawn mowers and other garden equipment have been known to have problems from the effect of the regular gasoline with up to 10 Ethanol. I’ve also heard Collector Cars, Hot Rods, Boats, Motor Homes can have fuel system problems caused by the up to 10% Ethanol because they are not driven for long periods of time and moisture builds up in gas tanks, gas lines and carburetors. There are additives available for those kinds of applications that help the effects of the 10% ethanol.
While I don’t recommend a daily habit of usage, should you find yourself with no other choice and you need to get home, once or twice will not risk any damage, the effect is not immediate.
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Foreign and domestic auto repair and service since 1979 in