New Ethanol Blend Puts Engine Warranties At Risk

New Ethanol Blend Puts Hundreds of Millions of Engine Warranties At Risk EWG Guide Aims To Help Consumers Avoid Fueling Mistakes


New Ethanol Blend Puts Hundreds of Millions of Engine Warranties At Risk EWG Guide Aims To Help Consumers Avoid Fueling Mistakes biofuels news biofuelschatThe Environmental Protection Agency’s decision today to pave the way for the sale of gasoline blended with up to 15 percent ethanol is likely to prove a nightmare for car owners who improperly fuel their gas tanks.

Every major automaker has warned that millions of vehicle warranties will be voided if drivers fill up with E15. That means consumers will pull into gas stations that could have as many as four pumps with different kinds of fuel: one for E10 (up to 10 percent ethanol); one for E15; possibly one for E85 (between 70 and 85 percent ethanol); and maybe one for old-fashioned gasoline. The EPA intends to approve E15 only for vehicles manufactured after 2000. But some gas station pumps may not even have labels specifying which ethanol blend is which, because not every state requires them.

“It is going to be extremely confusing and dangerous for consumers,” said Sheila Karpf, a legislative analyst at the Environmental Working Group. “If they make a mistake and put E15 into an older car or small engine, there’s a good chance they’ll ruin their engine and the manufacturer’s warranty won’t cover the damage.”

To advance consumer safety, EWG analysts have created an Ethanol Blends Guide and Fact Sheet to help drivers choose the right fuel for their vehicles. The analysis provides more information about the new E15 label requirements.

Ethanol is more corrosive and burns hotter than gasoline, properties that could cause some engines to stall, misfire and overheat. Fuel with higher ethanol blends emits more nitrous oxide and formaldehyde than gasoline, lowers mileage and damages fuel tanks and pumps.

“Instead of approving a fuel that will pose health and safety hazards and damage engines, the U.S. should invest in energy efficiency measures and research and development for truly sustainable biofuels,” said Karpf. “The high cost of replacing or repairing engines will be tacked onto corn ethanol’s other costs — including higher food prices, increased soil erosion and polluted water supplies.”

To be safe, EWG recommends that consumers stick with E10 or regular unleaded gasoline if they can find it. If gas pumps are not labeled, consumers should ask a service station employee for more information about the fuel and the amount of ethanol it contains. Consumers should check with their engine manufacturers or mechanics to find out if their cars or small engines can safely run on E15 or other ethanol blends.

Here are other tips for consumers to cut the economic and environmental costs of driving:

  • Maintain your vehicle properly:
    – Keep tires inflated to the recommended pressure.
    – Use the right grade of motor oil (check the manual).
    – Replace air filters when you change oil (your engine will run more efficiently).
    – Replace worn spark plugs.
    – Repair leaks from engine oil or other fluids.
  • Drive the speed limit and don’t accelerate too fast or brake too hard.
  • Minimize air conditioner use.
  • Turn your engine off when idling for long periods.
  • Get rid of excess weight in your vehicle.
  • Drive less.
  • Walk, run, or bike





3 Responses to “New Ethanol Blend Puts Engine Warranties At Risk”

    How stupid of that woman’s comments from the Environmental Working Group. Firstly there are no problems with any engine from year 2000 onward, so any WARRANTY has expired for older engines. All engines have been able to run without problems on 20 to 25 percent alcohol levels for the past 50 years.
    Back in the day, during the late 1950’s, gasoline with alcohol was called gasohol and was available all over North America. It was in the 25 percent range and my dad loved it in his Chevy. I don’t remember the price difference, if any, but it was sold at an independant station. Back then, lead was used as an octane booster but i am sure that alcohol was cheaper for a refinery to use than lead. Ethanol burned much cleaner then as now, compared to leaded gasoline, so engine oil would stay cleaner longer. The extreme heat of summer would show a true test of alcohol in the gasoline as it would prevent pinging or engine knocking because it would help cool the valves. No carbon buildup when using gasohol kept the combustion chambers and rings cleaner, so that solved another big problem back then. The gasoline was so dirty then, that varnish would form on the inside of the valve covers and other internal engine parts.
    Today, engines are built of aluminum blocks and heads to be lighter and since higher levels of alcohol prevent pinging, the engine computer will advance the timing to get even more power which means more heat. The engines then might run too hot which will warp the parts.

    That happened on the Chevy Vega during the 1970’s, which had a heating problem due to the coolant overflow tank not working properly. Once they overheat, they warped the heads and the blocks which affected the engine compression and power. Then they started burning lots of oil because the cylinder rings were not sealing properly against a warped block. Maybe the pussy engines they build today are just not good enough to drink alcohol. Cast them in iron and the problem is solved….LOL.

  2. wewa says:

    Thank goodness I have a EV now.
    Problem solved.

    • biofuelschat says:

      In all honesty though, I don’t think the ethanol blends are as bad as the article makes it sound to be. And you always have to remember the final benefits, energy independence and cleaner burning fuels.

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