The Spread of the E-15 Plague

Two interesting stories came out of the current issue of the “Hard Working Trucks” newsletter. The first story has do with the spread of E-15 blended fuel which is more from a boater’s perspective. Different lawn and garden organizations and manufacturers have been against E-15 as have some automotive manufacturers. Now the marine industry is jumping on the same bandwagon. The second article is about the difference between summer and winter blended fuel.

It is interesting to note that the spread of E-15 blended fuel is akin to that of a plague. So many industries are warning their people not to use the E-15 blended fuel due to its higher concentration of ethanol. Currently we use a 10% blended fuel (E-10) and this has been the scourge of many repair shops including automotive.

The problem that many repair facilities see is after a unit has been sitting for any length of time. This includes lawn and garden equipment, ATV’s and other power sports, and marine engines. The ethanol that is in the gas absorbs water out of the air and once it has absorbed .5% per volume, the ethanol and water mix will separate from the gas. This is called phase separation. The ethanol/water mix is now very corrosive and will eat the various parts of the fuel system including plastic, rubber, and metal. Once the corrosion has set in, the fix for this is to replace the affected part. Unfortunately, this can cost hundreds of dollars. The other unfortunate aspect is that this same problem can happen within months of the last repair. This of course makes the service technician who serviced it last look bad when in fact they had nothing to with it.

The first thing that most people think of when this happens on a newer piece of equipment is warranty. Unfortunately, none of the manufacturers out there will pay for a fuel related repair. This in turn puts the responsibility of the repair on the owner who in turn is not very happy; that by the way is the understatement of the year.

Now I could stop here and let this be a blog on its own however, the other article in the “Hard Working Trucks” newsletter has relevance to the above. The article “MPG Robber: Winter-Blend Gasoline” talks about how refineries mix different chemicals in to the gas for summer vs winter.

We all know that gas needs to vaporize in order to burn in the engine. However, the ability for gas to vaporize is affected by temperature. The colder it is, the harder it is to vaporize and just the opposite for summer. This means that the refineries must add a chemical to make the gas burn in the winter time. This additive is butane. Unfortunately, butane does not have the same BTU value as gas does. This means that the mileage in your car can be reduced by up to 8%. Come summer time, the butane is reduced which makes the gas harder to vaporize.

The main reason that I included this little tidbit about summer vs winter blends is to 1. Educate the public about it and 2. To let you know that B3C Fuel Solutions has products that will fight and prevent the above issues from happening. Mechanic In A Bottle will clean the fuel system of any varnish build up and it will wick its way through the circuits of the carburetor to ensure a fully cleaned carburetor…all of this without removing any parts from the engine. Once the fuel system is clean, Ethanol Shield will keep it clean and prevent water/ethanol issues from happening. It will also keep your engine running efficiently so that the winter blended fuel will not have a negative effect on your mileage.