As you pull into a gas station and drive up to the pump, most of you already know which grade of fuel will be dispensed into the tank of your vehicle. However, how many people stop to think about how much gas from the previous user is still in the pump? Probably very few even think about it. The last person to use your pump probably put 87 Octane into their car. What if you need or decide to use 92 Octane? The pump still has some 87 Octane in it, but how much will end up in your car?
This debate is going on right now. The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) wants to make sure that E-15 fuel is not accidently used in power equipment engines. To do this, they want to require a 4-gallon minimum purchase at the pump. This would apply to gas stations that use a single hose to dispense multiple grades of gas.
The justification for this rule is to minimize the amount (or percentage of) residual E-15 ending up in E-10 gas. Most pumps will only hold .1 - .25 of a gallon of the previous user’s gas within the inner workings of a pump. This means that if you only purchased 1 gallon of gas, the gas could potentially contain 10.5% - 11.25% ethanol. However, if the 4 gallon rule was applied then the potential ethanol content could be 10.125% - 10.3125%.
So, could this little “extra” ethanol hurt an engine? Potentially yes. Cars made before 2001 were not really designed to run on ethanol (or at the most 10%) and power equipment engines can only handle 10% ethanol. A lot of people do not fully understand what ethanol does when mixed with gasoline. The reason it is in the gas to begin with is to help reduce pollution, which it is doing. Unfortunately, ethanol has a dark side as well. Ethanol is hygroscopic, which means it absorbs water from anywhere it can get it. This includes the humidity in the air. Ethanol also burns hotter; it can burn 30+ degrees hotter. This can lead to premature engine failure and quicker build-up of sludge and other deposits.
Are we really going to have to purchase 4 gallons at time? Does this not contradict the “only buy what you need” rule of thumb that we have been trying to convince the public to adhere to? Only time will tell if the EPA gets its way on this. And yes, this does contradict the current rule of thumb. Having that much gas sitting in a shed or garage is a potential fire hazard and the gas will probably go bad before the average home owner can use it all. How can the EPA possibly enforce this policy? Maybe the EPA will have an enforcement officer stationed at every gas station throughout the country to make sure everyone complies. If anyone sneaks in with a 1-gallon can and gets caught, I shudder to think what will happen to that poor person.
Fortunately, B3C Fuel Solutions has a solution to take care of the potential issues of misfueling with E-15. Ethanol Shield With Combustion Cool Technology (CCT) will keep the engine running cooler, prevent phase separation, stabilize the fuel, and protect plastic and rubber components, as well as many other benefits. With Ethanol Shield CCT, misfueling is no longer an issue that you need to worry about.