The Case for Ethanol Fuel Use

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junquecol

Bruce
User
I don't care for ethanol fuel in any of my small engines, except my generator. With non ethanol being over three bucks a gallon, and ethanol fuel being a little over two bucks a gallon, the difference can ad up quickly in an extended power outage. Plus I have to make special trip to go get non ethanol fuel, which adds to the price. I can also connect a hose to fuel rail on vehicle and let fuel pump refill generator, or gas cans. After I run the ethanol fuel in generator, and outage is over, shut off fuel to carb, run engine dry. Then I disconnect fuel line from carb,and drain remaining fuel back into gas can, which is then used to refuel vehicles vehicles when needed. You can buy fuel line quick connectors of ebay, which makes it easy to disconnect fuel line from carb. Just don't buy the ones with auto shut off, or you won't be able to drain fuel from generator fuel tank.
 
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danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
DQ
Bruce I don't have a generator but I struggle with ethanol in my yard tools. I put Stabil in the fuel as advertised and I drain the fuel lines when out of season. On occasion I have to drop the carb bowl and flush the varnish out of the bottom or the jet gets a variable draw and the idle is not smooth.

I just don't understand the high cost of kerosene and non ethanol gas. I've heard the general logic but it still has me wondering??
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
DQ
Well I've read/heard that before but now I'm just wondering how we got to the point where we have watered down gas, 13oz pound of coffee, 2 x 4 that isn't and so many other things that have been reduced in size but the price has not come down?

I'm reminded of the first time I got a glass of beer in Germany: he would not let me take the beer off the bar until the beer line had liquid above it and not foam. I laughed and he said you get what you pay for in this place.

Thanks for the article.
 
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Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
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Ethanol gas isn't going away and there are good reasons why it's used widely but ethanol free gas is also available if that's your preference. Sta-Bil is a good product but it's not a cure all. Gasoline degrades with age even without ethanol so varnish and other crud will develop in valves and carburetor bowls, particularly in 4 stroke engines.

Bruce's advice to drain the tank and run it dry before storage is good.

That old gas in your 2 gallon can be used in your automobile fuel tanks.
 
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danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
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Ethanol gas isn't going away and there are good reasons why it's used widely but ethanol free gas is also available if that's your preference. Sta-Bil is a good product but it's not a cure all. Gasoline degrades with age even without ethanol so varnish and other crud will develop in valves and carburetor bowls, particularly in 4 stroke engines.

Could you expand and enlighten me?

Dan
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
DQ
I try to run E0 in my older vehicles (2000 and back) because the manufacturers usually warn that the ethanol blends will corrode the steel fuel lines and some of the fuel tanks. Never had engine issues in my off road and small engines since using it there.
Go to Puregas.org for an interactive map and addresses of stations that carry it. You may find it available closer than you think. If you go to Rock Hill or other towns near a large lake you'll usually find it at the QT stations labeled on the receipts as 'boat gas'. The pump handle plastic sheaths will be either blue or red for identification purposes. Some Murphy stations also carry it but the dispensers there are set up for a single fill hose so there's bound to be some crossover between grades.
 

Jeff

Jeff
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Could you expand and enlighten me?
Dan, here you go and it's a complex argument for ethanol. Scientifically, it's a cheap octane booster with fewer emissions. Politically it's a hot potato with the corn growers, ethanol producing industries, and gasoline refining industries as strong proponents over the last 10-15 years.

https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2016/02/10/466010209/the-shocking-truth-about-americas-ethanol-law-it-doesnt-matter-for-now

Old gas discolors a lot when compared to fresh gas and it loses some of its volatility.
 

danmart77

Dan
Corporate Member
DQ
Jeff I appreciate your effort but the argument seems lame to me. If octane boosting had any significant effect, the law would be changed to making all fuel 93 octane to increase mileage at a lower burn rate.

I have read about ethanol octane advantages and they are weak. If the market will bear ethanol or no ethanol in a gallon, I still hold the gas pumps would be covered with adds that point to an ethanol zebra.

A committee got together to design a horse and that's the best they could do. In the early stages, I must confess I was a supporter of the ethanol gas idea. I think there is room for both fuels but get rid of the protective law and lets just see what happens.

later
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
DQ
I have trouble with gas in my boat. It hasn't run in a couple months right now and that sort of occasional use makes it hard to keep gas in good condition. I've switched it to pure gas (and oil, it's an old 2 cycle) and that helps. But my son put in line filters on it a couple years ago and I haven't had to pull the carberators since. I run it dry so gas doesn't sit in the carbs but they still plugged with the breakdown in the gas. I have to pull the filters and blow them out with carberator cleaner once or twice a year but that is a lot better than a motor that won't start.

I agree with the theory that ethanol is of very questionable benefit to all but corn growers.
 

nn4jw

Jim
Corporate Member
DQ
For me it depends on the ethanol percentage. My flex fuel pickup runs ok on E85. But, and it's a big BUT, The gas milage drops off to the point that it actually costs more to run E85 than regular 87 octane. Guess that's the cost of political correctness.
 

Jeff

Jeff
Corporate Member
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One gallon of E10 gasoline has 96.7% of the energy in 1 gallon of pure gasoline. It's not a lot less miles/gallon with E10.
 

Glennbear

Glenn
Corporate Member
DQ
I agree with Bruce that running a generator fuel bowl dry after use is the way to go. After rebuilding the carb when it quit my small engine repair guy told me about that trick and also advised that I use Startron in all my small engines and agitate the fuel can before refueling and to use premium grade gas. Since I have used his advice I have not had any generator or small engine problems.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
One gallon of E10 gasoline has 96.7% of the energy in 1 gallon of pure gasoline. It's not a lot less miles/gallon with E10.
Not so on older vehicles. My 1990 Honda Civic got around 39MPG, average. Along comes the ethanol fuel, and it dropped to 32 - 33 MPG. This means I'm burning about 20% MORE fuel to go the same distance. Help me understand how that makes fuel supplies go further:confused:. It's kinda like the old ,"the more you buy, the more you save." If you don't buy any, then you save the most.
 

junquecol

Bruce
User
One gallon of E10 gasoline has 96.7% of the energy in 1 gallon of pure gasoline. It's not a lot less miles/gallon with E10.
Not so on older vehicles. My 1990 Honda Civic got around 39MPG, average. Along comes the ethanol fuel, and it dropped to 32 - 33 MPG. This means I'm burning about 20% MORE fuel to go the same distance. Help me understand how that makes fuel supplies go further:confused:. It's kinda like the old ,"the more you buy, the more you save." If you don't buy any, then you save the most.
 

tarheelz

Dave
Corporate Member
DQ
Not so on older vehicles. My 1990 Honda Civic got around 39MPG, average. Along comes the ethanol fuel, and it dropped to 32 - 33 MPG. This means I'm burning about 20% MORE fuel to go the same distance. Help me understand how that makes fuel supplies go further:confused:. It's kinda like the old ,"the more you buy, the more you save." If you don't buy any, then you save the most.
Let's not forget that older vehicles lose fuel efficiency over time. There is a loss (and it may very well be over 5%) but it likely isn't 20%.

Of course the important thing is that even with a loss in efficiency of just 3.3 percentage points, a vehicle with a normal range of 400 miles, now requires its owner to walk the final 13 miles to reach the gas station.
 
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nn4jw

Jim
Corporate Member
DQ
Here's some real world math based on gas prices today at the closest station to me selling E85.

Regular is selling today for $2.29. I get abiout 15.6 mpg on regular. (2088 Silverado 350 8 cyl)
E85 is selling today for $1.97. I get about 11 mpg on E85.

Use 250 miles as the target for a tank of gas for this exercise.

The cost for 250 miles worth of regular will be $35.78. (That's 15.63 gal of regular burned in 250 miles)
The cost for 250 miles worth of E85 will be $44.77. (That's 22.73 gal of of E85 biurned for the same 250 miles of range).

At those burn rates it cost me $8.99 more to burn the cheaper E85 over 250 miles. And I burn up a little more than 7 additional gal of fuel in that 250 miles.

The real point is that E85 costs more per gallon to use. It does not save any money for the buyer. What I really don't know is how much per gallon ethanol costs the oil companies versus gasoline.
 
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MarkE

Mark
Corporate Member
DQ
E85 is 85% ethanol, so you would be using more fuel (ethanol), not necessarily more gasoline. (semantics)

Still, the rest of your analysis looks spot on to me. Looking forward to getting a Mr. Fusion installed on my old pickup.
 
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