Problems Caused by Ethanol Fuel

Most gasoline has up to 10 % Ethanol. Few people purchase premium ethanol fuel for their outboard motors, stern-drives, chain saws, and a variety of yard care gas-fueled equipment. But, there are four main problems with ethanol-blended fuel.

Debris in the fuel: Gums rapidly form in the fuel tank & fuel delivery system as ethanol fuels age. Ethanol is also a strong solvent that will strip away & dispense this build up back into the fuel as large, performance-robbing particles. This leads to clogged filters, injectors & carburetors.

Excessive water in the fuel & phase separation: Ethanol attracts moisture from the atmosphere, forming an ethanol/water solution mixed in the gasoline. Ethanol-blended fuel will naturally hold .5% water in suspension, but when water exceeds this threshold, or when the fuel cools significantly, the water/ethanol mix drops out of suspension. This is phase separation. Excessive water in the fuel tank causes engines to run rough, stall, and can lead to internal damage to the engine components.

Ethanol provides a significant amount of the fuel’s octane, so when the ethanol/water solution separates and drops to the bottom of the tank, the remaining fuel is left without enough octane to properly operate the engine. And, the ethanol/water solution can become partially combustible, which can lead to engine damage.

Ethanol fuel breaks down quickly: Over a short period of time ethanol fuel begins to break down. As ethanol and other components evaporate, the fuel loses octane and becomes “stale”. This causes hard start, pinging and engine knock, which robs your engine of power and can cause damage.

Ethanol causes lost power, performance & decreased fuel economy: Ethanol fuel does not produce as much energy as traditional fuel. This results in inefficient combustion, decreased performance, reduced throttle response and poor fuel economy.

So, paying a little more for premium, ethanol 100 % free fuel many actually save money in the long-run by reducing engine repairs and fuel line repairs. And, regardless of the engine, performance should improve.

When purchasing fuel, check the various fuel grade choices, especially the octane. Not all fuel companies offer ethanol free fuel, even for their highest octane.

Finally, remember when storing gasoline, whether in fuel cans or in the engines (such as chain saws, and yard property equipment, add the recommended amount of gasoline stabilizer.


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