In an article published by The Grand Island Independent, “…the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and its partial waiver approval for E15 ethanol fuel for model year 2001 and newer light-duty vehicles and all flex fuel vehicles…” What does this mean for you and is this a good or bad thing? This really depends on what side of the issue you support. For the environment and economy, supposedly it is good; however, for fuel systems, it is not good at all.
The whole reasoning behind using oxygenated fuel (ethanol) is that when burned in the engine, the exhaust (at least partially) is turned into water. This is done through a chemical reaction between the ethanol and the oxygen in the air. Using higher amounts of ethanol results in lower amounts of gasoline use. This, in turn, means fewer pollutants in the air. This is obviously good. Another side of the argument for support states that adding an E-15 option gives consumers more fuel choices, lowers prices at the pump, and supports biofuel commercialization, including job increases.
As the late Paul Harvey would say, “now for the rest of the story.” There are several issues that come with E-15 that consumers need to be made aware of.
First, where does ethanol come from? Right now it comes from the nations corn supply. With E-15 blended gas, even more of the nations corn crop would be utilized and therefore diverted from animal feed and even human consumption, potentially leading to higher corn prices. This is compounded further during drought conditions. And, finding additional land to expand corn production will also be difficult.
Second, what about the negative effects of ethanol? Ask any service technician what the number one failure is that they see and they will likely say it is due to bad gas. The high amount of oxygen present in ethanol naturally decays gasoline, which is organic. Even under good conditions, ethanol blended fuel can deteriorate, causing hard starting and the formation of gum or varnish in your fuel system. Today’s modern gasoline starts to go bad in as little as 60 days. Ethanol also attracts water (hygroscopic), which causes the already corrosive nature of this blended fuel to become more corrosive, causing damage to carburetors and fuel system components.
For automobiles, we note that the partial waiver approval for E15 is for model year 2001 and newer light duty and all flex fuel vehicles. One has to question the impact of misfueling in vehicles not approved for E-15. And, in the lawn and garden industry, E15 is not even approved for use in power equipment by the EPA.
So what are we consumers to do? The first is to only use the gasoline that is recommended by the manufacturer of the equipment. The second is to treat the gasoline with Ethanol Shield. For use with 2 and 4-Cycle engines, Ethanol Shield is a multi-functional fuel stabilizer proven to prevent ethanol-related problems while stabilizing fuel up to 3 years. It removes water, prevents corrosion and helps engines start year round while protecting all of the components including metal, rubber and plastic from the harmful effects of ethanol. Ethanol Shield is a perfect companion product to keep outdoor power equipment protected during storage so your equipment is ready for peak performance during operation. Ethanol Shield is also EPA approved for use in your automobiles.