Ethanol Blends and How they Affect the Engine

Gas stations carry various types of gas which can have a different impact on the engine of the car.

Gas stations carry various types of gas. There is the low-cost type, the reasonably priced type, and the costly type. The costly type is generally pure gasoline that can be pumped into a car. The low-cost type is commonly a mixture of ethanol and gasoline. This ethanol can make up for 10 to 15% of the mixture with gasoline. There are even types of fuel that have a mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline which can only be used in specific flex-fuel vehicles. These ethanol and gasoline blends make fuel cheaper for the consumer market. Ethanol blends also extend the fossil fuel supply that we have on earth.

Safety for Cars Comes First

The question that needs to be answered though is if ethanol is safe to use in vehicles. The answer depends on how much ethanol is used in the blend and if the car was made to handle ethanol blends. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved the use of ethanol blends up to 15% in vehicles made after 2001. Older cars made before 2001 won’t do well when being fueled by ethanol blends. These ethanol blends can actually damage engines and rust out fuel lines in cars made before 2001. This is because ethanol is an alcohol that has water molecules attached to its makeup. Over time if the ethanol blend isn’t burned up or if it isn’t stored properly it can become useless and damaging.

Most consumers don’t know what ethanol blends can be used in, which is problematic. Not knowing what ethanol blends can be used in can cause damage to property and products. Ethanol is not safe to use in small engines like lawn mowers and motorcycles. The EPA is trying to change this but has been having issues with informing the public properly on ethanol blends.

Higher Ethanol Blend Percentage Equals Lower Miles per Gallon

Newer model vehicles will have no complications running on ethanol blends up to 10 to 15%. These newer model cars were made to use these blends because of the changes in the fuel market. Once ethanol blends start exceeding 15% is when issues in mileage happen. Ethanol isn’t as powerful as gasoline, so a vehicle can only get so much use out of it compared to pure gasoline. Flex fuel vehicles that can use E85 might be able to fuel up for cheaper but will suffer in traveling distance. This creates a dilemma where a consumer might question the value of higher ethanol blends if they have to fuel up more often.

Ethanol blends are here to stay and that’s a fact. Over the next few decades, more cars will be made to handle higher amounts of ethanol blends. The cost of fuel being cheaper is questionable though due to vehicles needing to fuel up more often. The good news for consumers is that ethanol is eco-friendly and produces fewer greenhouse gases than pure gasoline.

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