E10 Alcohol Fuel Blends Can Cause Damage to Engines
The primary reason E-10 ethanol gas is harmful
is because of alcohol's solvent and water-absorbing qualities.
E-10 is also inconvenient because the shelf life is only about 2-3 months in ideal environmental conditions.
Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) has several chemical properties and effects which render it to be incompatible with several conventional engine parts and vehicles -
Alcohols are water soluble, attract and absorb water/moisture, solvent, cleanser and cleaner, drying-agents, de-greaser, and more...
Many motors, especially older engines, are constructed with parts that become very brittle over time and cannot withstand the effects of alcohol. When E10 gas is used, the engine components can disintegrate and clog the engine with sludge and grime, causing the engine to "lock up" and seize. When this happens, often the engine cannot be fixed and must be replaced.
Ethanol's effects vary depending on the engine type, model and year and type of fuel system, (Carbureted, direct-injected, 2 stroke or 4 stroke).
Marine engines are probably least compatible with ethanol-blend fuels. Aircraft agencies ban alcohol-blend fuels and are exempt from using E-10 and E-85.
Gasoline absorption of water is problematic (gas becomes contaminated and must be discarded).
Operating an engine on an alcohol content that is too high (over 10% for E10), will cause engine damage and poor performance.
READ MORE BELOW on problems/damage that can result from gas that contains ethanol.
View List of types of engine damage caused by E10 in conventional engines.
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Engine Problems Resulting from E10 Ethanol Alcohol Fuel Use:
Ethanol alcohol is an excellent SOLVENT - Ethanol will dissolve plastic, rubber, certain types of fiberglass and even aluminum!
Ethanol can dissolve and disintegrate just about anything that has accumulated in a motor engine.
Example: Ethanol will dissolve resins that create a black sludge that coats and travels through the engine, causing engine stalling and complications, including clogged fuel filters, carburetor jets and injectors.
Ethanol alcohol is a DRYING AGENT and can DISINTEGRATE or DISSOLVE parts.
Ethanol will dry-out and cause cracking and damage to non-alcohol resistant parts, especially rubber and plastic parts and components.
Many engine hoses of older engines are not resistant to alcohol.
Ethanol alcohol is an excellent CLEANSER -While these can have useful purposes, it can also be very problematic...
Ethanol will clean and release years of dirt, rust, sediment and other gunk from the engine and circulate it through the engine, causing clogging of filters and engine parts.
Ethanol will ABSORB WATER. It actually combines (adsorbs and absorbs) with water, and the combined molecules are greater than the sum of each separate molecule.
All alcohols attract and combine with water. Petroleum and most other oil-based compounds are not soluble in water.
Both MTBE and lead (since banned for gas use) did not have an affinity for water.
Ethanol ignites at a higher temperature, compared to conventional non-alcohol gasoline, causing damage to pistons.
E10 can not be added to a tank or pump that contains oyxygenators MTBE or ETBE.
Over 10% ethanol will cause damage to most conventional engines.
All major auto and marine engine manufacturers currently limit allowable ethanol in gas to 10%. (Check your owners manual and warranty statement). ACE (American Coalition for Ethanol) is currently trying to convince the EPA and engine manufacturers to increase E10 to 15% ethanol content, E15. View E15 News - March 2009.
Ethanol based fuel additives and gas treatments will increase risk. Higher alcohol causes extra release of rust, debris, sediment and gunk - and further clogging and damage to engine components and filters.
Fuels that are safer and easier to manage, such as hydro, wind and solar power hold promise for the future...
But for now petroleum replacement with "ethanol" is our only viable solution to the current gas crisis:
Follow necessary E10 precautions and whenever possible, trade-in your conventional petroleum gas-powered vehichle for a FFV or AFV (flex fuel/alternative vehicle) which is designed to run safely on E85 85% ethanol gas.