Fuel vs Ethanol

Today’s #techtiptuesday talk is about fuel, changing standards, and what that means for you and your machines. It’s not uncommon these days to see stickers at the gas pump such as E10, but what does that mean? Recent trends have seen gas stations adding Ethanol Alcohol to gasoline. There are a number of reasons that this is being done, many political in nature so we will not dive into that part of the subject. Rather we will tell you what Ethanol is, and why you need to be cautious when using it.

E10, the most common sticker refers to the fact that there can be up to 10% Ethanol mixed in with the gasoline. In 37 US States there is legislature that says that a gas station must have a a label informing you that there is ethanol in your gasoline. Note: 13 US States DO NOT require any such labeling.

Now to the big question you may be asking, why do they require this labeling? Ethanol is by it’s dictionary definition “a volatile flammable liquid which is produced by the natural fermentation of sugars; alcohol.”

The benefit of Ethanol is it is a renewable resource but like anything it also has it’s issues, especially in an internal combustion engine.

There are 2 main issues with Ethanol Fuels

Ethanol is a solvent. Solvents are cleaners that have the ability to dissolve other substances. In the case of ethanol it can deteriorate plastics, rubbers, and other parts that are essential in the fuel system of your machines. As a solvent it can also counteract your oils ability to lubricate parts leading to engine wear.

Ethanol is hygroscopic. This means that it attracts moisture, hygroscopic fluids will over time absorb moisture from the atmosphere. This can cause multiple issues inside of a vehicle such as heavy corrosion caused by moisture, as well as the fuel going bad. Ethanol fuels can have as less than half the shelf life of a non ethanol fuel.

Stay tuned later today for an announcement about a new product from Spectro Oils that will help you combat ethanol fuels!

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