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#3396705 - 06/13/14 03:07 PM What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline?
whizbyu Offline


Registered: 12/19/12
Posts: 132
Loc: Carolinas
So many opinions. Ranging from better fuel economy to worse fuel economy to better horsepower to lousier burning characteristics to farmer hating statements. What is the bottomline truth behind it? Is ethanol free broken down into 87, 89, 91 octane? I only saw "ethanol free gas" equivalent to the price of SUL here in SC.


Edited by whizbyu (06/13/14 03:07 PM)

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#3396725 - 06/13/14 03:23 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
HTSS_TR Offline


Registered: 04/17/06
Posts: 12902
Loc: Irvine, CA
The only possible way ethanol free gasoline will give you worse gas mileage is if your car needs Premium 91 octane and you fill it with Regular 87 E0.
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#3396746 - 06/13/14 03:46 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
strat81 Offline


Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 809
Loc: Nebraska
A gallon of gasoline contains ~114,000 BTUs of energy, while a gallon of ethanol contains ~76,000. Therefore, under typical conditions, operating with an ethanol blend will result in reduced fuel economy. How much depends on the blend, the driver, the vehicle, etc.

Regarding power, adding ethanol to gasoline typically raises the octane (see the 100+ octane of E85 as an example). The higher the octane number, the more resistant the fuel is to detonation (knocking). Higher compression ratios can increase power, but increase the risk of detonation. This is why performance vehicles often recommend the use of high performance fuel. If the engine is designed with high compression in mind, ethanol-blended fuels may increase performance if the octane rating is higher than comparable "straight" gasoline.

Ethanol can be harmful to fuel system components not designed for it, especially in higher concentrations.

Some engines simply "don't like" ethanol blended fuels. My 2001 Honda, for example, gets roughly 10-15% worse fuel economy with E10, regardless of octane, compared to straight 87 octane gasoline.

Run five to ten tankfuls of E0 and E10 through your vehicles and keep detailed records of price paid and observed fuel economy. Then decide if ethanol "makes cents" for you.



I doubt you will find "truth" about the economics and politics behind ethanol as all sides of that controversy will be biased. Numbers can lie, especially if it is a lie by omission.
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#3396752 - 06/13/14 03:52 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: strat81]
BearZDefect Offline


Registered: 08/15/05
Posts: 1935
Loc: Lexington, KY
Originally Posted By: strat81
...

Regarding power, adding ethanol to gasoline typically raises the octane (see the 100+ octane of E85 as an example). The higher the octane number, the more resistant the fuel is to detonation (knocking). Higher compression ratios can increase power, but increase the risk of detonation. This is why performance vehicles often recommend the use of high performance fuel. If the engine is designed with high compression in mind, ethanol-blended fuels may increase performance if the octane rating is higher than comparable "straight" gasoline.

...

I agree, but I don't want someone to think that E10 at the 87 pump will have a higher octane than E0 at the 87 pump.
I suspect that ethanol is added to gasoline with octane lower than desired, so the ethanol brings it up to specification.

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#3396757 - 06/13/14 03:56 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
y_p_w Offline


Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 2534
Loc: SF Bay Area
Certainly with a flex-fuel designed engine, the extremely high octane rating means that the timing can be advanced a bunch. As a result, there can be higher efficiency w/ respect to the actual energy content of the fuel. It was noted that ethanol has about 2/3 the energy content of a typical base gasoline. Also - gasoline has a certain range in terms of fuel content depending on the particular mixture.

So there are no easy answers.

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#3396761 - 06/13/14 04:01 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
29662 Offline


Registered: 05/14/14
Posts: 305
Loc: sc/fl
E10 offers less power than comparable E0 Gasoline. It also offers lower fuel economy. Some vehicles are more sensitive to it than others. Another problem is Ethanol is hygroscopic(binds to water) thus wreaking havoc on fuel pumps, injectors, and metal fuel lines. It also doesn't store as well as E0 gas, that's why OPE and marine engines don't do as well on it.

As for the politics of it, that's a whole other ball of wax not worthy of BITOG.

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#3396762 - 06/13/14 04:03 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: strat81]
KevGuy Offline


Registered: 08/12/12
Posts: 479
Loc: Northern Alberta, Canada
Originally Posted By: strat81
A gallon of gasoline contains ~114,000 BTUs of energy, while a gallon of ethanol contains ~76,000. Therefore, under typical conditions, operating with an ethanol blend will result in reduced fuel economy. How much depends on the blend, the driver, the vehicle, etc.


I don't think what you said there can is totally correct. You just can't base it on BTUs on combustion. There are many other factors to consider than just heats of combustion.
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#3396768 - 06/13/14 04:08 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
KevGuy Offline


Registered: 08/12/12
Posts: 479
Loc: Northern Alberta, Canada
Ethanol is an octane booster as it has an octane number of about 113. The issue with octane people have is it's ability to ruin engine hoses and gaskets relating to the fuel system as ethanol is hydrophilic (water liking). I have heard some controversy wrt this and I am unsure if it is true or not. I know a small engine guy that says with ethanol in gas and small engines not being built like they used too (made in China) things are just rotting away.
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#3396775 - 06/13/14 04:18 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: KevGuy]
29662 Offline


Registered: 05/14/14
Posts: 305
Loc: sc/fl
Originally Posted By: KevGuy
Originally Posted By: strat81
A gallon of gasoline contains ~114,000 BTUs of energy, while a gallon of ethanol contains ~76,000. Therefore, under typical conditions, operating with an ethanol blend will result in reduced fuel economy. How much depends on the blend, the driver, the vehicle, etc.


I don't think what you said there can is totally correct. You just can't base it on BTUs on combustion. There are many other factors to consider than just heats of combustion.


I think he's right(strat81), the BTU rating is equivalent to energy content.


Edited by 29662 (06/13/14 04:19 PM)

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#3396788 - 06/13/14 04:46 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
mattwithcats Offline


Registered: 06/13/13
Posts: 689
Loc: Virginia
85 octane gas is blended with 10% ethanol to get 87 no lead E10...

Most cars run slightly rich to light off the cat, and lower emissions.
E10 or a slightly lower energy content gas will not be noticeable.

I just stopped by the Atlantic Energy station just before the Coleman Bridge in Virginia.
Ethanol free $4.03
Lots of people filling cans up...
E10, $3.25
And E85, only one around here.

I put 4.5 gallons of E85 in my tank, at $2.99 a gallon
It holds 12 gallons.
Your average car can burn 24% Ethanol no problem, mine can run 40%.
No mileage drop noticeable...

Small engines, I try and run Ethanol free...


Edited by mattwithcats (06/13/14 04:50 PM)

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#3396808 - 06/13/14 05:29 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
Clevy Offline


Registered: 11/11/10
Posts: 7393
Loc: Saskatoon canada
Yes ethanol has less energy than gasoline however considering there's only 10% ethanol in fuel the difference in mileage between the 2 fuels wouldn't be measurable

Here in sask regular has 10% ethanol and premium has none,and mid- grade is mixed at the pump which makes it 5% ethanol.


I have tested both regular vs premium in my charger it's noticeably more responsive and gets a minimum of 4mpg better with premium fuel.
It should be noted that I've tuned the car with a diablosport tuner,and timing has been advanced.

The c3 seems to gain 2 mpg on the highway based on what I've seen so far.

My girls windstar doesn't run any different,nor gain any mileage when using premium fuel vs regular ethanol treated fuel.
I doubt very much that fuels of the same octane,and the only variable that's different is 10% ethanol,I doubt that there would be any measurable difference in fuel economy
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#3396810 - 06/13/14 05:34 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: whizbyu]
Corvette Owner Offline


Registered: 01/22/03
Posts: 1614
Loc: Waldorf, Maryland
Older engines, especially lawn mowers and farm tractors, may not handle ethanol, it eats their gaskets.
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#3396831 - 06/13/14 06:04 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: 29662]
y_p_w Offline


Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 2534
Loc: SF Bay Area
Originally Posted By: 29662
E10 offers less power than comparable E0 Gasoline.

Do you have a source for that claim? I understand the other potential issues, but I've never heard that less power will be produced. It would produce just as much power by dumping a higher volume of fuel. I've even read that in certain carb applications where the jets are increased in size, E10 can actually increase power because it overcomes the air restrictions by getting more oxygen in the combustion chamber.

Flex fuel cars running on E85 are known to have increased performance, but that's a matter of advancing the timing.

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#3396848 - 06/13/14 06:20 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: KevGuy]
y_p_w Offline


Registered: 05/06/05
Posts: 2534
Loc: SF Bay Area
Originally Posted By: KevGuy
Ethanol is an octane booster as it has an octane number of about 113. The issue with octane people have is it's ability to ruin engine hoses and gaskets relating to the fuel system as ethanol is hydrophilic (water liking).

Are you equating octane rating with octane content? It's not boosting the actual amount of octane. It's improving the antiknock properties relative to a reference fuel of iso-octane and n-heptane.

There are no issues with hose/seal compatibility with any car made in the last couple of decades. They all use components exposed to the fuel that were designed with ethanol fuels in mind. I remember hearing about classic cars that had issues with E10, but often these went away when their seals and hoses were replaced with modern ones.

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#3396866 - 06/13/14 06:43 PM Re: What is the TRUTH regarding ethanol free gasoline? [Re: y_p_w]
Garak Offline


Registered: 12/05/09
Posts: 11644
Loc: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Originally Posted By: y_p_w
Do you have a source for that claim? I understand the other potential issues, but I've never heard that less power will be produced.

I'm assuming the claim refers to energy density. Of course, a higher volume of fuel would help "balance" the matter. The claim of energy density also is separate from combustion efficiency.
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