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This may have been discussed before and I missed it,any info on the new Ethanol blended gasoline? I'm told we will see it in a month. A mechanic told me that it may stir up some of the crud in the bottom of older cars gas tanks and cause some problems. I was also told that it wasn't being added at the refinery and that it was going to be transported by rail and added who knows where prior to delivery to the stations. Back in 1980 I had a Turbo Regal sport coupe and was told that turbos just loved gasahol....well mine didn't,it clogged up everything,hope this isn't a repeat.

Mark Lewis

BCA#41402

65&70 Wildcats

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A proper <span style="font-style: italic">ethanol</span> blend of less than 10% shouldn't effect any car's performance or reliability (although it's lower heat content may be observable in slightly lower gas mileage). <span style="font-style: italic">Methanol</span> will play hell with older fuel systems, especially older rubber lines, but it is not widely used (except in some additives--read the label).

I find it very hard to believe that any fuel is rail transported today, excepting <span style="font-style: italic">maybe</span> some very isolated local instances. These blends are created in or prior to the pipelines and transported thusly. I've inspected fuel depots for almost every major refiner, not one of them had a blend tank or an ethanol tank.

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Dave,

Ethanol has been part of our life for about 10 years. Fuel economy drops about 20% in the old cars. It is harder on rubber and can lead to vapor lock and other hot weather reliability issues, particularly for cars that already tended to behave strangely in hot weather. If there is old crud in the fuel system, be ready to change fuel filters and potentially fuel pumps and lines when the crud softens just enough to fill everything with mud.

Some of the first gas tank sealers are not alcohol resistant so if you have a tank that was sealed quite awhile ago, it could get ugly.

The only consolation is that the ethers are much, much worse-30% or more economy drop. Fuel evaporation from carburetor bowls while engine is running leads to fuel starvation, rough idle and vapor lock.

Given a choice, I would prefer alcohol over ether and try to adjust my fuel buying habits appropriately.

You may also find it necesary to adjust tune on the engine based on what fuel you are using.

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The crud must be flushed out of just about every fuel system by now in Minnesota! 10% ethanol has been used year around for several years (it used to be just in the winter). You can still get straight unleaded at special pumps, but they cleverly use the oversized nozzle that used to be on "leaded" pumps back when you could use either. It won't fit auto filler tubes newer than about 1975.

I can attest to the mileage drop, and I think 10% is pretty close. Not a huge difference in 20 mpg or lower cars, but noticeable. I don't know why a turbo would either benefit or suffer from ethanol.

If you live in a cold climate and are running blended gas, forget about adding any "Heet" or other ethanol gas line antifreeze. It's just Coals to Newcastle.

In warm months, expect more fuel percolation and/or "vapor lock" due to the lower boiling point. Heat shields and insulation on lines might be required. Some carbs may benefit from a phenolic gasket or spacer.

I think most fuel systems in good condition get along OK with ethanol. Remember this stuff has been around since the late '70s (they used to call it "gasahol"), and most cars of that vintage or newer should have fuel systems that will not suffer from it. Natural rubber parts don't seem to like it, so older carbs should probably be upgraded to synthetics wherever they have rubber that comes in contact with fuel.

Best bet is to just put it in the tank, run it, and fix anything that comes up--which might very well be nothing. Carrying along an exra filter might not be a bad idea. And if you're really concerned about the amount of "crud" in the tank, plumb a good-sized in-line filter as close to the tank as you can and still be able to change it easily. Get a clear plastic one and you can check it visually.

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body"> In warm months, expect more fuel percolation and/or "vapor lock" due to the lower boiling point. </div></div>

This is due to the lower boiling point of the hydrocarbons allowed in gasoline since fuel injection became prevalant. Ethanol boils at 173 degrees F., at which point <span style="font-style: italic">today's</span> pure gasoline is nearly boiled dry, therefore it actually helps percolation and vapor lock.

Iowa has been running 10% ethanol year round for almost 30 years now (farm lobby!). I ran a 1960 Falcon on it for 30,000 miles with no modifications and zero effects.

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Dave, Guy,

Minnesota, Iowa are relatively cool states with high humidity. In the high heat southern states, or low humidity/high heat southern states the the mileage drop with either blend is more pronounced. I agree about the low boiling point of modern gas being a problem and alcohol behaves a bit better but the ether stuff ( usually MTBE ) is problematic.

I just saw at Sam's Club last week that we get alcohol from them in Winter and now Ether MTBE in the summer. However, that might be particular to Sam's.

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I'm not familiar with the qualities of MTBE, but I thought I read somewhere on the forum that it has been outlawed, at least in some areas.

BTW, contrary to popular belief, it gets REAL hot in Minnesota in the summer, with high nineties common and over 100 occasionally. Isn't that amazing? A temperature range of over 130 degrees in a 12-month period is a possibility, and over 100 degrees "normal." This makes automobile ownership interesting, to say the least.

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The heat thing is also a question some people have about South Dakota as well. We almost always have a least one week of near of over 100 degree heat here every summer and with it usually 85 to 90 percent humidity. This is in Eastern South Dakota where tornadoes and severe thunderstorms are just as common as they were when I lived in Elsberry Missouri. We have had Ethanol blends here for at least 15 years and I have used them in everything I have that burns gas. The biggest peice of advice I have is try not to store anything (espescially small engines such as lawn mowers) for a long period of time with it. I personally have not had trouble storing things for a few months but there are people who say they have had problems. Of course there are people who say they have had problems with it in everything it touches and one has to wonder it they have even tried it. Nearly every area has some form of alcohol added to the gas some time or another and it is not always advertised.

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I live near 3 ethanol plants in South Dakota and every gallon that leaves every plant is either by rail or by truck. There is no access to outbound shipment of any product by pipeline from this area so that is the only way it can leave. Maybe in an area where there would be access to pipeline it is done that way. I know the Broin companies have 6 or 8 plants in SD and IA and each one produces several million gallons of ethanol every year and to my knowledge the majority of it goes by rail, as to how it is stored at the terminals, I don't know anymore. When I lived in St Louis I drove gas transport part time and at that time they didn't have much available for ethanol but what they did was trucked in and stored in above ground tanks to be mixed with the gasoline.

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A week or so of 100 degree weather is nothing. I'm talking about 3 to 4 months of those temps day in, day out with cools in the 90's in the middle of the night. That's when problems start to happen.

MTBE was in a phase out situation and it's something like 2010 or 2015 until it's finally gone. Dave probably knows the exact date. As of last week, Sam's in our area stated simply ETHER blend in summer.

It's probably best to just be aware of what you're putting in the car and look/listen for changes so you can catch problems before they become major. And, CARRY FIRE EXTINGUISHERS, just in case of a disaster.

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Absolutely, fire extinguishers in every car, particularly old ones--and have one at the ready outside the car when doing any work on the fuel system. Short-term or long-term hot weather shouldn't make a difference for fuel percolation or vapor lock. Just one hot day will point out any weakness for those conditions in your fuel system. But for gas mileage, of course, if hot weather makes a difference your mileage will suffer over a longer term. (Running the air conditioner full time would compound the problem.) I wonder how much of the hot weather mileage drop is due to evaporation? Anyway, you haven't lived until you've experienced what below-zero weather does to gas mileage. Ethanol or no, we're talking drops of 20% or more, just due to decreased thermal efficiency--then add longer warmups to the picture. So, things are tough all over! grin.gif

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Ethanol, like most alcohol-based compounds, absorbs water when exposed to air. In pipelines, they used to use a "divider" of water (of some kind) to allow different batches of fuel from different sources to travel in the same pipeline. Can't do that with ethanol, obviously. Possibly one reason that different fuels had different colors in prior times?

Since about the middle 1980s, all replacement rubber items that relate to an automotive fuel system have been rated and compounded for "alcohol fuel blend" contact. Therefore, NOS items are not good in these places, unless they were produced post-1985 (or thereabouts). Seems like South America has been using "high aromatic" alcohol-based fuels since the 1980s, which also prompted GM to issue a particular part number for Quadrajet carburetors' accel pump cup (export market, "high aromatic fuel" listing in the parts list of particular carb numbers).

If you read your owner's manual, it could well state that up to 15% ethanol is acceptable to operate in your (newer) vehicle--but only the "bi-fuel" vehicles of late (usually with some little emblem to signify such, or a particular engine option code on the build sheet/Service Parts ID label) can tolerate the E85 fuels. Again, read your late model vehicle's owner's manual for information.

As mentioned, some of the early fuel tank sealers were not compatible with alcohol-based fuels.

Many CURRENT fuel blends have had a small amount of ethanol in them for several years--depending upon and varying by brand and region. MTBE was a known carcinogen when it was approved. After it was discovered in the water supply of a California city, then they got excited and that started the ball rolling on getting it outlawed. In TX, it'll be gone by May of this year, for example.

MTBE was also linked to many respiratory issues with "at risk" individuals, yet this issue was not widely mentioned as it was promoted as "a better" situation. Some of these health issues were (seemingly) close enough to those of ozone issues to be considered "the same", but reporting of such things was (by observation) highly crude in those earlier times, so the information from the medical field could be flawed. For more information on the ongoing MTBE situation, since its inception, there could well be some archived information on Ed Wallace's website www.insideautomotive.com.

Even before the alcohol content in our fuels was a real issue, there were transition periods between winter and summer fuels where many vehicles, including newer ones, had issues in the warmer weather of spring that might have happened sooner than anticipated. Stalling, poor fuel economy, poor driveability--all of which went away as the blends got stabilized a month later.

If there are concerns about "hot fuel handling" or vapor locks due to evaporating fuel from the fuel bowl, there can be a few things to consider. ONE will be engine operating temperature and radiator condition--if in doubt, get it cleaned out or replaced and use the recommended temperature thermostat of good quality. If the engine temp starts hotter, then it'll get hotter in the "hot soak" mode after turning off the engine.

If possible, always aim the car into the wind when you park it. That should get things cooled down sooner with less evaporative loss from the float bowl. Keeping the outside of the carb clean can help things cool down sooner too.

Similarly, making sure the clutch fan (if equipped) is working as designed is a related issue. Many replacement fan clutches are no longer of the thermostatic variety (preferred, with the thermostatic coil on the front), but rather of the earlier design that decoupled based on engine speed rather than cooling demands (no thermostatic spring on the front). I always liked the dedicated bolt pattern flange rather than the universal slotted design (using the centering hole specifically to center the clutch on the water pump hub), but many older part numbers are now of the universal flange design.

I'm not sure why a turbo might "love" alcohol-based fuels, other than the possibility that it might serve to cool the charge a little more, might be marginal at best.

Another "something" that might be needed is to increase the size of the carb main jets to compensate for these newer fuels. Back when octane boosters were "everywhere", some recommended increasing the main jet sizes up to 4 sizes larger, which was later determined to be due to the high alcohol content of the particular quart of booster, lest it lean things out too much--don't know how this might play into the situation with a vintage street car, though, so an air/fuel ratio check on a road load chassis dyno might be advised before going this direction. It could be that higher compression engines might make the transition to alcohol-based fuels better than lower compression engines might.

And, last but not least . . . many of the oil company websites might contain some really good information on (what might be called "Reformulated Fuels with Ethanol") gasoline now blended with Ethanol, plus the "greater" Ethanol fuel E85. MTBE was considered a "fuel extender" or "oxygenate" additive, with Ethanol now taking it's place in that respect. I kind of suspect there have been some SAE Transations/papers on this subject, but have not investigated that possibility. Remember that this change of additive packagaes is generated by governmental entities and not the oil companies themselves.

In the DFW area, fuel prices have spiked to $2.75+/gallon for regular unleaded in the past weeks--which curiously seemed to follow predictions from industry "experts" that such would happen. DFW and Houston have to be changed to the new additives by sometime in May. Refineries have to be changed over too, it seems. Spot shortages of fuel due to lack of fuel inventories are also happening, but these shortages have been spotty and temporary (as reported in the local newspapers). In some cases, the name brand fuels have been slower to increase prices than the private brand fuels, but they'll all stabilize at the same levels before it's all over. People seem to be more price conscious, especially on the fringes of the area where they have to drive an hour to work each day (one way), but speeds on the highways have not noticeably become slower.

As much as we might complain about the fuel prices now, many of our reference points can hinge upon what they were when we were growing up. If you remember 25 cent/gallon regular leaded gas, then things are really more expensive now than in the 1960s (or prior), but if you're younger and your reference point if more in the $1.50/gallon range, it's not quite as big of an increase. Fuel costs have not really been influenced by inflation as other consumer good have, though--not that THAT's justification for some of the (perceived) pricing tactics of late, though.

How a vintage vehicle "takes" to the ethanol-blend fuels can be highly variable. Maintenance and operating condition can be factors just as basic design and engineering of vehicle systems can affect the tolerance to ethanol blend fuels. A good start would be to make sure that everything's working "to spec" before automatically blaming the fuel for any new problems.

Although the water absorption issue was noted to be an issue with alcohol-based fuels, it does not really seem to be as much of an issue as some might expect. This is one time that keeping the fuel tank pretty much full during storage could be beneficial (less air in the tank which can be moisture-laden with changing ambient temperatures over time). A lower fuel level, latent condensation from ambient temperature swings, plus latent corrosion in the tank itself might all contribute to an accelerated "crud in the tank" issue--not than any would be broken loose (unless possibly the earlier sealers had been used), but that it would multiply faster than normal with the fuel now absorbing more of the latent condensation. Perhaps an incognitio clear inline fuel filter could be an asset in these situations (or the glass fuel filter bowl on earlier vehicles)?

We might be trading one environmental issue for another one in the change from MTBE to Ethanol-blend fuels, but it's something we can work together to help each other with in making that transition (where applicable).

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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There's a couple of things that bug me about ethanol. First is the decrease in fuel economy - we are being told it is for environmental benefits, but we actually wind up using more fuel to get to our destination. Unless of course, they are lying to us, which is quite possible.

The other thing I don't like is the discussion of ethanol burning cleaner, but there is no mention of the different mix of pollutants, like an increase in aldehydes, which come with ethanol.

Is it entirely the farm lobby? I don't know. What I will say is that, if this is for environmental benefit only, I'd like to see a better cost-benefit analysis of the entire situation.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Seems there are a lot of theories and guesses going around. I work with some in the refining business and live in Dallas, so I think I keep up with the current situation pretty well, but still have questions. The major pipelines running from the Gulf to the East Coast are not accepting reformulated gasoline with ethanol because the ethanol seeks and separates with any water. I believe this leaves the gasoline components with lower octane. So the distributors are mixing the ethanol from the Midwest with a pre-ethanol blendstock from the refineries at the local storage tanks prior to shipment to the stations. Problems we have had here in Dallas are due to the fact that the decision to remove MTBE by May 5 was made late, due to the liability protection for the companies being removed from the final Energy Bill in 2005. MTBE found in the water table can bring lawsuits after that date (even though the American Lung Association favored MTBE over not using it when it was introduced, and ethanol has its own emissions problems which seem to have been overlooked by the politicians who always want to win in Iowa). In Dallas, some of the distributors did not get their plans in order and are having to truck in ethanol and perhaps build a rail unloading site. This is tying up trucks that normally deliver other blends or blendstocks. I suspect the East Coast may be facing similar problems getting the ethanol to the blending sites. This should only be a problem in those reformulated gasoline locations new to ethanol blending. California switched a few years back. Most of the country will still have gasoline without ethanol unless their local politicians have opted to mandate it, like in the Midwest.

My question is about older cars with high octane requirements, if the ethanol and water settle out with time, does this in fact reduce the octane of the remaining gasoline that goes to the engine? Is there a solution short of buying gasoline outside the reformulated area? Are some octane boosters better or worse with ethanol blends? Does topping up after every infrequent drive keep the water and ethanol flowing through the system rather than pooling in the bottom of the tank? I agree that it would keep the amount of water to just that which came from the service station, since as I recall Cessna pilots are told to keep their tanks full to keep condensation out of the gasoline.

The mileage situation is another under-reported fact. It doesn't support the argument that was made by the ethanol lobby, nor does the energy required to raise the extra corn in the Midwest and then transport the ethanol to the Coastal States, all the while the taxpayer is subsidizing every bit of US ethanol and taxing any cheaper imports from Brazil. Perhaps the price-gouging committee needs to look at those making ethanol and selling it for $2.60 a gallon when it was only $1.50 at this time last year.

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There is some really good information on the whole ethanol-blend fuels situation in some of the major oil company websites. Chevron is a good one to look at, by observation--lots of archived information if you can get to it.

IF the ethanol-blend fuel is "pure" when it gets into your tank, keeping the tank fuller will decrease the condensation and related water absorption by the ethanol in the fuel. By the same token, leaving the tank pretty empty between drives, which CAN be somewhat common to do, will result in more air space in the tank and more tank surface upon which condensation can happen. One issue in this scenario would be corrosion of fuel system metallic parts from the moisture.

Of course, there are fuel additives to deal with moisture in the gasoline, which are typically alcohol-based anyway. If the ethanol has some octane boosting characteristics, then it might lower the blend's octane rating as it absorbs or deals with the moisture, possibly, but the octane of the base fuel stock would not (I suspect) be affected.

In times past, one method of decarboning an engine was to take a soft drink bottle, add some tap water and some automatic transmission fluid (generally Type A back then), shake well, and then drizzle into the carburetor as the engine is kept running at fast idle. Made lots of smoke and the engine made some popping sounds, but it seemed to work.

Recall some of the alcohol injection devices of the 1960s? A mist of alcohol was added via a manifold vacuum tap so that regular fuel could be used rather than premium. Olds had "Rocket Fluid" so that their early factory turbocharged Olds JetFire Cutlasses could have a 10.0+ compression ratio and still use normal boost levels without detonation. Not sure if these things might relate to what we're going to get with the new ethanol-blend fuels.

. . . Waiting to see how this whole deal is going to play out . . . as gas prices keep going up and up and UP.

NTX5467

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Ethanol is only 10% of the mix or less in most fuels. If your gas is sitting around long enough for that tiny fraction to absorb enough water out of the couple gallons of air inside your tank to even remotely effect the engine's performance, then the fuel itself will have decomposed to such a point that water will be the least of your worries.

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Ethanol actually raises the octane rating of gasoline, however at the same time it lowers the heat (energy) content per unit volume. While there's little if any effect on detonation alone, there may be some effect with usage and in combination with other factors (I'm not sure how it might interact with differing additives for instance). Also performance and fuel economy will be slightly impacted, with likely fuel mileage more so than performance.

As a side benefit it also raises the vapor pressure slightly, reducing vapor lock and boiling of the gas in the carb a bit.

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Guest BJM

Julian,

As Dave noted, Octane is increased with the usage of Ethanol but energy is reduced and this effect mostly means less miles per gallon using an increased amount of ethanol or methanol. This would therefore be great for higher compression muscle cars. In fact to extract a reasonable level of fuel economy out of a higher ethanol blended gasoline, compression ratio needs to increase.

That is because the fuel/air mixture needs to be more dense, through compression, to get close to the energy level of 87 octane pump gas now. Properly built to 16:1 specs a motor would get the benefits of the higher octane with some or most of energy return (mpg) of a normal gasoline.

As has been mentioned, MTBE is gone thank god. MTBE is Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether, a chemical industry distilled additive that supposedly cleaned up gasoline, better for the air. The problem is it is an aggresive solvent, and leaked in many underground tanks into drinking water supplies.

Right now we are feeling some effects at the gas pump of increased usage of Ethanol, which is more in demand than the supply my Iowa farm neighbors can provide. Ethanol plants are booming in the countryside but it will take a couple of years to ramp up.

I have no problem with Ethanol usage as long as the plants don't use Fossil Fuels to make it! A lot of the older plants do. Ethanol must be distilled (or methanol) and the distilling requires heating and the heat source is often Wyoming coal.

This is the future. Properly set up with modern rubber hoses and some coordination with the carberators, I would not hesitate to run an ethanol blend fuel. Anything to help stop sending money to OPEC or Chavez in Argentina (or is it Venezuela, if forget)

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MTBE didn't leak in to the reservoirs that it's been found in, in trace amounts. As it's in the fuel, some residue will come out of the exhaust pipe and become part of the atmosphere--in some cases, causing respiratory issues similar to the much discussed "ground effect ozone" (as noted by some MTBE opponents back then). Normal weather cycles will clean the atmosphere and put the MTBE residue into the storm sewers and you know where they typically go.

As I recall, MTBE does not further degrade when it gets into the reservoirs and settles out--it just stays there.

Ed Wallace had an interesting and somewhat cummulative article on how "which" extended won initial favor to help clean up the air with new blends of gasoline. Check www.insideautomotive.com. The article was printed in the 04-31-2006 issue of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Back BEFORE all of the "clean air gasoline" stuff was going on, I was buying a regional private brand of fuel for one of my 1967 year model vehicles. I had been using this particular brand of fuel due to price issues and it seemed to run as good as the major brand fuels. One day, I went to the station for fuel on the way home. When I took off the metal gas cap, I noticed a white, fluffy-type "deposit" or residue on the inside of the cap. Looked like it was from moisture, so I didnt' buy gas there anymore. With no previous moisture issues on that car, I deduced that it was from alcohol-blends in the fuel. I got another gas cap and went back to the major brands of fuel and no more stuff on the inside of the gas cap.

Rather than reading some government reports (that have been proven to possibly be skewed one way or the other, for various reasons), I like to get into the oil company websites and read what THEIR research has found. The old Chevron website had a huge amount of information in there in ReFormulatedGasoline, before we got it in DFW. Similar information on ethanol-blended fuels (currently) too. Then you might check ExxonMobil and Shell for good measure too. PLUS you can read about some of their products that have relevance to our vintage vehicle activities in modern times. Good information sources, not always advertising plugs for their products.

Chevron literature from the first RFG noted a 3-5% fuel economy decrease from prior blends. This turned out to be a non-issue to me . . . mere tenths of an mpg in economy loss, if that much. I suspect that E10 (the new blends with 10% ethanol to replace the previous MTBE) might be similar, but E85 could well be another issue. BUT unless you have a bi-fuel rated/equipped late model vehicle, E85 is not going to work very well in a vehicle rated for up to 15% ethanol in the fuel blend (which is everything else that is NOT bi-fuel capable), which is the bulk of vehicles on the road today.

For the last 5+ years or so, GM has been quietly putting bi-fuel vehicles on the road--many owners of such vehicles might not have known what they were buying (until they needed a $90.00 fuel filter for their 4 cylinder S-10, which looks like a "normal" S-10 other than some funny emblem on it). Not just into fleet users' hands either, but the general public. C/K chassis vehicles (pickups, Tahoes, Suburbans) and S-10s, not to mention Ford and their Tauruses and Ranger pickups. Many federal fleets might have spec'd the bi-fuel capabilities as a normal matter of course, but the bulk of those vehicles were sold to the general public. SOOOOO, read your owner's manual and check the option codes on your modern, fuel injected vehicles before you venture off into E85 Land!

Enjoy!

NTX5467

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  • 2 weeks later...

Wow, What a lot of discussion. I don't have a lot of info on ethanol but would like to weigh in on MTBE. It was added as an oxygenator to gasoline (RFGs)to reduce the levels of partially combusted hydrocarbons. This coupled with the catalytic converter on newer vehicles should combust all or virtually all of the MTBE. So the amount of MTBE really coming out of your tailpipe is really very low or nonexistant. MTBE is an ether (obviously) and is essentially infinitely miscible with water. Now how this fact works out with the concerns over condensation I don't know, but I would think that alcohols and ethers basically have similar characteristics and therefore would react similarly in your tank.

To address the MTBE issue in ground water, in most areas, no detectable levels of MTBE or any other gasoline constituent are present in ground water. While pollutants may seep into the ground water from surface spills of the raw product, most of the ground water issues from petroleum hydrocarbons are from leaking underground storage tanks (LUSTs) or their related piping and dispensers. However, these leaks did not occur because of the presence of MTBE. The leaks are primarily due to poor installation, bad housekeeping, or failure of a component. The MTBE simply went along for the ride as the gasoline was released.

As previously noted, MTBE is near infinitely soluble in water. It also has the annoying habit of moving almost as fast as ground water. While this makes it a good leading edge indicator of a ground water contaminant plume it also means that it spreads quickly. This chemical of concern has been regulated in water supplies/ground water in some states for over twenty years. While this has been primarily based on organoleptic issues there is some growing concern over the carcinogenic effcts of this chemical. These effects have not been demonstrated to the extent that regulatory levels can be based on it. Again, the phase out of MTBE is mostly related to the fact that it is doggone hard to get out of water and it tastes bad!!! The majority of remediation systems operating today are simply removing the contaminants from the ground water and putting them into the atmosphere. Yahoo for air pollution!

There was a series of letters/articles several years ago in Hemmings that detailed the breakdown of rubber hoses in older vehicles (pre-mid-80's)caused by MTBE. My next door neighbor's 1983 Honda suffered a fatal (for the car)engine fire after it was parked in front of their home. I have read in my flex-fuel vehicle's owner's manual that the seals, gaskets etc. have been designed for use with E-85 fuel. So I can only surmise that this breakdown of flexible parts of your fuel system is also occuring with alcohol based fuels. But as discussed in the other postings, this is nothing new with RFG's. The owner's manual also states that the computer can sense what fuel is being run in the vehicle and will adjust the fuel/air mixture accordingly, but to expect a drop in fuel economy when using E-85 fuels. This seems to confirm many of the above statements with regard to these issues.

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23Touring,

Thanks for the information on MTBE. I enjoyed reading your comments. Bottom line for me at least is that Ethanol is preferred as an oxygenator over MTBE in fuels.

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