E-15 Fuel No Good For Older Cars

Iowa gas pump offers higher octane at same price as real gas thanks to subsidy

A GUARDIAN car buff reader sent this along as a reminder, warning, grump at the Feds:


The “ethanol industry” (mostly prospering corn farmers) has successfully lobbied the EPA to issue a final rule approving the use of gasoline diluted with 15% ethanol (E15).

EPA recognized this fuel will seriously damage vehicles manufactured prior to 2001 and small engines used in boats, motorcycles, chain saws and snowmobiles. They will therefore require pump labels listing those vehicles in which E15 can be safely used and warning of the consequences of using it in other vehicles and gasoline powered equipment.

However, the EPA rejected petitions to require continued sale of fuel with no ethanol (E0) or only ten percent ethanol (E10). Groups representing vehicles using unapproved engines argued that E10 and non-ethanol fuels will disappear and leave owners of pre-2001 vehicles and small engines at risk of damaging their engines. Caveat emptor (Let the buyer beware).

With federal blending subsidies, ethanol is considerably cheaper than gasoline which allows distributors to water down their product at considerable savings per gallon. Of course we will not see a reduction in pump prices with the move to E15. It will simply allow a greater price margin for dealers and will mean the demise of E10.

So how will this affect Idaho motorists and recreationists? According to the Idaho Division of Motor Vehicles 2010 data, more than half of the registered vehicles in Idaho were manufactured before 2001.

You don’t need such data to realize the thousands of boat, ATV, snowmobile, chain saw, lawn mower and other equipment owners which may be left without safe fuel for their equipment.

Alcohol is half the price of gas in Sao Paulo Brazil

Since the wicked federal government has failed to provide protection to the majority of Idahoans who drive vehicles not approved for E15 and the thousands of recreationists and commercial operators using gas powered equipment, shouldn’t the State of Idaho provide that protection by requiring all stations to continue to offer E10 or non-ethanol fuel?

PS: Oh yes, since ethanol only contains 66% of the energy of pure gasoline, E10 provides 3.4% poorer gas mileage. E15 will provide 5.1% poorer mileage.

EDITOR NOTE–A pretty good discussion of ethanol on WIKIPEDIA.

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. This is going to be a nightmare for your lawn mower, your weedeater, your car and any ATV or snowmobile.

    It is time to have our legislature outlaw any blended gas in Idaho.

  2. We can thank Republicans Risch, Crapo and Simpson for supporting the ethanol industry and massive tax subsidies to the corn/ ethanol biz. It’s helping us fight the war on terrorism and other patriotic stuff.

  3. There are two vendors in the Boise area supplying non-ethanol-laced gasoline—Philips 66 on Overland near Walmart and in Meridian and Baird Oil, with stations on Chinden at 36th St and on Executive Dr. Baird required setting up an account to receive a card to operate their pumps. Also Gran-Del oil on Federal Way which requires an account–right next to a Jackson’s C-store.

  4. Rod in SE Boise
    Jul 4, 2011, 11:13 am

    Ethanol, even with the subsidies to the rich farmers, used to be more expensive than gasoline. When did that change?

    In Brazil they run all their autos on 100% ethanol, don’t they? Why can’t we do that?

    Buy a hybrid and get some free MPG.

  5. Hubert Osborne
    Jul 4, 2011, 1:04 pm

    Go CNG (compressed natural gas) Engines will last longer too. We just have to get the automakers to produce more of them. $2/gallon fuel equivelant is stirring a lot of interest

  6. When I am making a comparison on new vehicles to purchase; does the EPA sticker indicate my “gas” mileages with 100% gasoline, 90% gasoline/10 ethanol or 85% gasoline / 15% ethanol?

    It would represent an incorrect number if the most commonly available fuel was not the same as the fuel tested.

  7. Steve Edgar
    Jul 4, 2011, 9:16 pm

    All true! If you have synthetic gas tanks it will break down the material and foul injectors. Happened to a close friend of mine; his boat stalled off the coast of Florida, ethanol was determined to have caused the problem. I only fill up at the Phillips on Meridian and Cloverdale.

  8. Great! Now we have crappy gas AND not enough corn to eat!! What a country!!!!

  9. Ethanol will destroy a 2-cycle engine. Ethanol scrubs the oil from the cylinder walls and robs it of lubricating properties.

    Additionally, ethanol will eat rubber hoses and gas lines from the inside out in older cars and trucks.

    Just be careful what you put into your boat motor, weed eaters, and all two cycle engines. I found out about this the hard way and the purveyors of the ethanol laced fuel will not assume any responsibility for damage to 2-cycle engines.

  10. It also destroys the long distance underground pipelines. They must truck it instead. (this is why not rod se, we cannot possible make and transport enough of it) This extra cost just adds the the nickel and dime problem we are already suffering at the hands of our careless leaders. It’s all about new ways to have new taxes. And they call it progress to get all the stupid people to vote for it.

    PS: don’t let it sit for more than a few days, as it will separate out. PPS: it is a prime reason for the increase in food prices too.

  11. “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.'”
    – Ronald Reagan

    There’s absolutely NO reason, besides politics, for a subsidy on ethanol. (Some people believe that “corn squeezins” should be imbibed in moderation… not poured into your gas tank!)

  12. Wasn’t this George W. Bush’s attempt at drill baby drill? I suggest you ask your Washington politicians if they support ethanol subsidies.
    Labrador, Crapo, Risch, and Simpson.
    Guess Canyon County won’t have to worry about emission tests. The 2C fleet will have been shot by their owners.

  13. You will hear that we need Ethanol to diminish our dependance on middle eastern oil. Well if that is the case why do we place a $0.50 per gallon import duty on sugar based ethanol from South America?

  14. sam the sham
    Jul 6, 2011, 7:01 am

    so much for my cars…. yes, I do use the gas pumps on Overland (near Lowe’s), but what if I am taking my 1974 VW to go camping? Not a good thing! What about my 1994 Miata? She runs better and gets better gas milage with 100% ethanol free gas. What goes with those of us on a fixed income who cannot afford a newer car?

  15. the subsidies (blender’s credit) paid to the ethanol industry are bad enough, but without the ethanol mandate (requirement to blend) the subsidies are almost harmless as they wouldn’t even occur. It’s the same with the green subsidies, they are harmless without the green mandates that some state and private utilities are subject too. I’m for eliminating both the mandates and the subsidies, but to harp about only subsidies misses the point.

  16. Say no to ethanol!
    Jul 6, 2011, 10:39 am

    Ethanol is a scam and a shafting of the American people!

    I’ve had nothing but trouble with E-10 on my yard equipment (both 2 and 4 cycle) and that’s with using premium stabilizers. I switched a few years ago to Ethanol free gas (Phillips 66), but am having to rebuild carburetors on the equipment from the past use.

    The industry is controlled by the major agribusiness companies (who have bought and paid for the politicians).

    As I only own and drive older cars I am interpreting this as an assault on my freedom and my finances (i.e. trying to force me to buy a newer and too expensive auto).

  17. Hate to disagree Ola, but the mandate is insurace for the folks getting the govt. welfare (corporate subsidies) If there was no mandate there would be no market for bad gas. The people who protect the richest people in the world also tell you that free market capitalisim is what makes America great. They know better than you and they also know you will keep voting for them.

  18. dig:”If there was no mandate there would be no market for bad gas.”

    Couldn’t have said it better myself. That was the point of my earlier comment. Or stated differently, there will still be a “market for bad gas” if the subsidies (blender’s credit) are all removed. However there would be NO “market for bad gas” at all if the mandates for bad gas would be removed.

  19. Just a note that Gran Del Petroleum on Federal Way near Broadway offers only Unblended gas in three grades.

    They sell via card lock only but will issue a card to anyone and there is no minimum monthly purchase required.

    Fill up 24/7 and get a bill at the end of the month.

  20. Bet ya they are trying real hard to make 100% petro based gasoline illegal

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