Ethanol blended fuels have been in the news a lot in the past year. The main topic has been the introduction and sale of E-15 (15% ethanol) blended fuel. Starting September 15th, the EPA lifted a restriction that made it hard for most retailers to sell E-15 gasoline. This means that consumers will now have an additional choice to make when purchasing gasoline.
Most people have three choices at the pump, 87, 89, and 92 octane fuels. They also see at the gas pumps that the gas may contain up to 10% ethanol. With the EPA ban lifted, people will have to decide between E-10 and E-15 and the various octane levels of fuel. Does it really matter which one is used in the tank? Yes it does!
The ethanol content in the fuel is put in there to help reduce emissions. The ethanol is an oxygenated fuel that when burned,turns into water instead of carbon monoxide (CO) and other pollutants. According to an Argonne National Laboratory report, an approximate 10-ton (9.07-metric ton) decrease in greenhouse-gas emissions has resultedfrom the use of ethanol fuel in 2007 alone. That is the good part but is it enough?
Unfortunately, ethanol causes engines to run hotter which has been proven to shorten the life of engines and makes it harder to start the engines. Add more ethanol into the fuel, the issue only gets worse. The efficiency of the engines is also reduced due to the lower BTU’s. Ethanol only contains 77,000 BTU’s but it requires 131,000 BTUs of energy to produce 1 gallon of ethanol.
All of the manufacturers in the lawn and garden industry only approve the use of E-10 gasoline. Even with E-10 fuel, there have still been many issues with ruined fuel systems. The ethanol in the gas absorbs water, even from the air,which causes the ethanol to separate from the gasoline (called phase separation). When this happens, the ethanol/water mix is extremely corrosive and will eat at all of the parts in the fuel system. People have experienced cracked fuel lines, leaking carburetors, gummed up carburetors just to name a few issues. If E-15 is used in power equipment, the problems will be worse. In fact most manufacturers have said that the warranty will not apply if E-15 has been used.
There are other issues that are too numerous to name. Almost every service center will tell you that fuel related issues are the number one problem. The great news is that B3C Fuel Solutions has a complete family of products that will prevent issues caused from the use of E-10 and E-15 gasoline. Ethanol Shield with Combustion Cool Technology (CCT) will prevent ethanol issues even if E-15 is accidently used in a piece of equipment. It drastically reduces engine heat and extends the life span of 2 and 4 cycle equipment. Engines will run cooler, phase separation will not occur, plastic and rubber parts will be protected, and it eliminates hot starting issues. In 2 cycle engine applications, Ethanol Shield with CCT has the ability to prevent lean seizures because it provides a bond between the oil and ethanol. Conventional 2 cycle oil does not bond with ethanol. Mechanic In A Bottle fixes poor and non-running engines and will clean the fuel system in case the fuel has been sitting too long.
As ethanol use increases across the United States, we will continue to educate the public about the issues associated with its use and will continue to offer solutions to combat the negative effects that may result from using ethanol blended fuel.