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I read some were that the EPA  was going to quietly increase the amount of  Ethanol from 10 % to something like 12 % and slowly push it higher. The real purpose was to remove older cars from the road!  My 99 Riviera on occasion trips the check engine light if I get caught between the switch over from summer to winter blend of gasoline here in the Northeast.

I do not want to turn this into a political discussion! BUT would like to know what impact this would have on OUR older cars?


Edited by CHAS1 (see edit history)
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I do not know how you find out but I have heard that premium (high octain) gas has less ethanol.   

All the pumps around here say "up to 10%"  does that mean some brands would have less?

On my recent trip,  I noticed a sign at one station (In MO or OK) stating that their premium contained NO ethanol.

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This brings up an interesting point; where in the gasoline distribution system is the ethanol added? At the refinery? So as gas is shipped across the country via pipeline to distribution centers, how can some areas be free of ethanol?

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They just rebuilt/refurbished a Flash Foods gas station near my house and added several ethanol free pumps...so they are aware of a market.   50c more per gallon...I'll stick with midgrade on  my old cars and a bottle of gas treatment. Has worked very well in all my old iron and still cheaper. 

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1) Rebuild kits for old carbs now include seals that can handle ethanol.

2) "Up to 10%" means at least 9%.

3) Back in the day "Gas Line AntiFreeze" was just ethanol.

4) 92% of vehcles in Brazil run on E100, all run on E25. No big. Of course they grow A Lot of sugarcane.

5) Problem in the US is that most Ethanol comes from corn which is terrible from a cost/btu basis.

6) My '70 runs just fine on E10, I just add a few extra ingredients.

7) Worst case Reattae just would need some Prom remapping to richen up mixtures for the lower BTU content.


BTW Florida and Louisiana are the two states best suited for surgar cane/sugar beet/sweet sorgham production.


ps my Jeep is flex-fuel, E85 is fine.

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This burns me up. I wish we could get ethanol free gas here in STL. Outstate there is some availability but nothing in reasonable driving distance. Being in the midwest (the cornbelt) we are probably stuck with this garbage as the subsidies are a major part of the state farming economy here and in several surrounding states.

Even just the option of getting it at one or two pumps at larger stations would be great. We did finally get rid of MTBE and the vapor recovery systems at the pumps here that were instituted back in the 80's but seems like E10 is the scourge that will not be killed. Also, since we are already paying extra for it via corn subsidies, E-free should cost less. It also improves fuel economy which, if the environment were truly the concern here (hint: it isn't), would be considered beneficial rather than sacrificing MPG's so a few farming operations could profit handsomely. Then again, higher fuel economy would reduce fuel purchases resulting in a hit to gas taxes (perish the thought) and they (whores, uh, I mean politicians) already complain about the loss of tax reveune from the proliferation of hybrids, this after encouraging and even subsidizing their purchase. See what they did there?

Most problems we face have easy solutions. It is the job of those who hold the power and control to complicate matters so much as to insure nothing simple can ever be considered viable.


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"they" (you know who) have been talking about moving up to 15% ethanol for a few years now. i haven't heard anything more about it since the gas prices have gone down a bit.


shouldn't be any problems running a Reatta on 10% (or probably 15%) - if the vehicles are run on a regular basis. if put up during the winter, the ethanol can separate causing water moisture. Sta-bil makes a product for ethanol gas storage.


the ethanol gas has been a bigger problem on older carb cars, like my '51 Studebaker. the rubber fuel lines have been replaced with fuel injection hose and a carb rebuild kit and fuel pump with "proper" gaskets will be done soon. i use ethanol free gas when possible.


for those that wish to use ethanol free fuel, here's a list of stations in the US and Canada: http://pure-gas.org/

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There is a website puregas.com that lists all the stations around the country with Ethanol free gas.  Some stations have Ethanol free regular, some midgrade and some high test.  Rarely does a station carry Ethanol in more than one grade.  Just go to the site, type in your state and then city.  I do this whenever I travel in my British cars as they really do not like Ethanol.  Kills the SU carbs and the fuel pumps.

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There is a BP in Lake Geneva WI that I will fill up at if I am anywhere close, not too far over the border.

In 1978 when ethanol was just coming out, I filled the tank of my 77 Corvette with just over 12,000 miles

in Iowa, the engine seized just as I pulled in my driveway 225 miles later. I am not an admirer of ethanol

or the politics behind it.

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Interesting subject , in Australia at the moment we have a "choice" for want of a better word of "E10"(10% ethanol) ,ULP (unleaded petrol..standard in the old terms) or PULP (premium unleaded petrol) as well as higher octane blends of which there are very few suppliers.


But...they are now pushing for a mandatory 1-2% ethanol content in fuel based on " carbon emissions" ?


As no doubt there would be many around that know that "alky" based fuels have a good "knock rating" it does not rule out the fact

that it does attack certain materials as stated,(which by the time it is enforced most engines and components will be able to withstand these ill effects...only on new vehicles?)


I own a late 70's Holden,and have run E10,PULP and found that in both cases the engine made less power and consumed more fuel and basically ran like crap,but on just ULP it seems happy.


Most engines from what i understand were/are built around the compression ratio of the engine versus the fuel used?


Also,most engines that are equipped in vintage automobiles generally had a low CR and did not require a high "anti knock"(ping)



The "alky" based fuel push seems to be some sort of way to "clean things up" a bit....but...do we forget the fossil fuels used on farms to cultivate/grow/refine/transport what is a "clean fuel"?


Ethanol mixes seem to be what i call a "dry" fuel..it evaporates quickly but should in no way cause an engine to seize.


From a bit of an experiment i did a few years ago...if you want to "kill" the octane rate of a fuel to run in a low compression engine there are some very good products called "upper cylinder lubricants" of various sorts that will do just this...and the blends have been mentioned before.


Edit.....an engine that runs on say methanol (alky) or ethanol will need more fuel poured in because the BTU content is lower than

the original fuel...which might explain some problems of why the carby is at fault?


More akly = bigger jets in proportion to % of akly in fuel. 

Edited by Flyer1 (see edit history)
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Kind of a PBI. As you change the effective octane, you also need to change the timing to match and as you increase the ethanol content you need to richen the mixture.

Long before emissions, automobile engines were made that ran on pure eth/methanol (Indy cars) and natural gas (mostly in oilfields, mines, and enclosed areas).

In the early 1900s gasoline was terrible and a typical compression ratio was about 4:1. Lead additives were developed in the 1920s and compression ratios began to rise. After WW2 many of the techniques developed for aviation and tanks oozed into the civilian world and both compression ratios and octanes began to climb, peaking around 1970 with 100+ octane (research method) and 13:1 compression ratios.

The decline began with 1971 models as manufactures tried to cope with emissions laws. The problem was that high compression = high combustion temperatures = increased nitrous oxides = smog. (I recall flying into LA one time in the late 70's and heard on the radio that air quality had improved to "unhealthy").


In 1973 EGR was introduced to try to contol cylinder temps and the fleet average MPG hit an all time low, around 13.5 mpg. When gas was 20c/ga. who cared ? At 50c/gal (after the '73 "crisis") people noticed. By the end of the decade (and the second "crisis") it was knocking on $1/gal. Of course you could buy a new car for $3k then so if gas had matched car prices it would be about $10/gal today.


Meanwhile the government introduced CAFE and the only chance MFRs had was to add a bag on the side called a catalytic converter. The early ones were very restrictive and to improve MPG, 2:1 axles replaced 3:1, and cams were designed to peak torque at 2000 rpm (some less). In the daze before VVT, this meant all done at 4000 rpm and 400 cid engines were making less than 200 hp (now the 3.6 in my '12 Jeep makes 290 hp and is obsolete).


These kludges gave the mfrs time to do the research neccessary for the highly efficient engines of this century and 400hp is becomming commonplace as is 30 mpg (highway).


The next big thing is direct injection with boost that today is meeting emissions laws and providing 125hp/liter on 87 PON. This is enabling a new breed of small powerful and economical engines (truck engines under 3 liters) and the secret is something unknown before 1981: computer controlled FI with feedback (the O2 sensor). Reattas have the second generation of computer controls and FI from GM so are very good cruisers but at 165hp (170 in '91) from an iron cam-in-block engine can never be much more.


So that is how we got here and the bottom line is Ethanol came in when MBTE was banned over a decade ago. Ethanol can be used as a pure fuel (Brazil does but does not rely on corn to produce) but requires about 2x as much as pure gasoline because it only has about half the heat energy (BTUs). So you need a computer that can recognise the ethanol content and adjust the mixture accordingly. In addition Ethanol burns slower than gasoline (higher octane) so you need to be able adjust the timeing for more advance. My Jeep is "flex-fuel" and can run on E-85 so has those extended maps for mixture and timing.


So getting back to the original post, you can drill out the carbs jets (better to buy bigger ones because jets are tapered to improve flow) BUT you also need to advance the timing to accomodate the different flame propagation rate.

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spoton.gif  great explanation of how things changed , also, from a GMH training manual from 1941 describes how the "octane number" was derived.


"pure iso -octane we will call 100 octane number"

"pure heptane we will call zero octane number"


For example..."if a gasoline is matched in knocking properties by a mixture of 70% iso-octane and 30% heptane,the gasoline has a 70 octane number".


"normal heptane with low antiknock quality came from the Jeffery pine grown on the Pacific Coast"


Of course the "blends" now are much different from then  and computers are becoming more prevalent on "modern" engines...but that does not help those who own/drive run a carby fed vehicle.


But having said that the place where i spend some time has a 27 Chrysler that seems to be quite happy on just ULP with a tad of "killer" in the juice,along with the "T",35 Chev.


We may also have a different type of fuel over here meaning that we don't get the Summer/Winter blend as  the USA needs?

Edited by Flyer1 (see edit history)
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If really interested, see the work of Thomas Midgley under Boss Kettering at the Dayton Labs in the early 20s. Also see "lead poisoning".


I recall seeing the first "octane machine", basically a one cylinder variable compression motor at GMI.

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We're blessed here in Michigan to have NO ethanol in our gas, regardless of blend or octane.


Hello Bob :)


Where in the H%&L did you hear that...hehehe?


Straight from the horse's Ass, I mean mouth:


Source: http://www.michigan.gov/mdard/0,4610,7-125-1566_1733_23370-63247--,00.html


"Ethanol Fuels

Ethanol has been used as an octane enhancer in Michigan gasoline for many years. Adding ethanol to the gasoline increases the octane almost 3 Anti Knock Index points. Not all gasoline contains ethanol. If ethanol is in the gasoline, it is limited to no more then 10 percent of the total volume for conventional fuels."


HMMM....anti-knock index-points!!! Wooohoo-whuht?


I heard that we've been subject to the 10%-ethanol-mix for quite a while and there was consideration a while ago to go to 15%. My '97 LeSabre (3.8-SeriesII) has lost mileage in the last six months and I'm suspecting more ethanol or water or whatever as the cause - especially since the "drop" in prices over the last so many months (which are now going back up).


BTW, I grimaced silently as I filled up my '88 at Meijer on Hill & 23 yesterday at $2.99/gal. And yes I realize that gas is more expensive in other places in the nation - I'm just sayin', we're all gettin' screwed :-D


Chhers Bob,

Hope to see you soon around the greater-Flint area,

Dan G. :)

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In Miami Florida yesterday I noticed a Citgo station that is now offering "pure gasoline,no ethanol" on big signs. In smaller letters it shows the price as 90 cents more a gallon then regular unleaded. I wouldn't mind paying 25 cents more a gallon for gasoline because of the higher energy content and less corrosion. But 90 cents more? That is gouging IMHO

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Have you been in a time warp this century ?

Yes, 10% ethanol raises the octane by about 3 points. This means gasoline producers need only refine to 84 octane (gets more per barrel) and add the ethanol to get 87 PON. Yes the energy content (BTU/pound) is lower which means lower MPG but that has nothing to do with the octane (antiknock) rating.

ps "up to 10%" on the pump means "at least 9%".

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