Ethanol has been used in cars since Henry Ford designed his 1908 Model T and trillions of miles have been driven on ethanol-blended fuel since 1980. In fact, several teams in national and international racing competitions, including Formula 1, Championship Drag Racing and NASCAR, use ethanol because of its high quality and exceptional performance.
Nearly all U.S. gasoline contains 10% ethanol
Renewable fuels like ethanol have a forty-year track record of making gasoline more affordable and vehicles more efficient for millions of Americans.
What is E10?
E10 is a 10 percent ethanol-blended fuel. Today all vehicles can run on E10, which is interchangeable with gasoline. Since 2010, nearly all gasoline sold in the United States has contained 10 percent ethanol.
Higher octane is the key to higher quality fuel and provides more torque, power and efficiency. With a 114 octane rating, ethanol is the highest quality fuel in the market and keeps today’s high-compression engines running smoothly.
Ethanol and added components called detergents help to keep gummy deposits out of a car’s fuel system. When unleaded gasoline containing ethanol and detergents replaced leaded-gasoline beginning in the mid-1980s, there were some initial problems as deposits were flushed from fuel systems and plugged filters. Today, the use of unleaded gasoline blended with ethanol has reduced deposits in fuel systems, and all gasolines sold in the U.S. include detergents designed to keep fuel systems clean.
Ethanol acts as a gas line antifreeze, helping reduce wintertime issues. If you live in a cold weather climate and use ethanol-blended fuel, you don’t need to buy over-the-counter additives such as de-icers to prevent water, which collects in your fuel system, from freezing in your gas-line.
The use of renewable fuels reduces harmful tailpipe emissions like carbon monoxide, and other hydrocarbons and fine particulates found in car engine exhaust.
Ethanol has a significantly higher heat of vaporation, providing a cooling effect which helps reduce engine knock.
Tests and fleet studies, including those conducted by Amoco and the CRC indicated no difference in vehicle performance compared to gasoline without ethanol.
“Of the 175,000 cars and small trucks that we have serviced in 42 years, not one engine has been damaged by ethanol. When it comes to the fuel line and primer, ethanol is no worse than gasoline when proper storage guidelines are followed,” says Bobby Likis, owner and operator of an award-winning automotive service facility and car-talk host of ‘Bobby Likis Car Clinic.’
To help other mechanics and service technicians have the information they need to understand fuel quality issues, the Renewable Fuels Foundation provided an educational grant to support the creation of the Changes in Gasoline Manual: The Auto Technician’s Gasoline Quality Guide. Updated, factual information on the numerous changes that have been made in modern gasoline formulations will keep mechanics and consumers informed.
Since 1998, many automakers have produced flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) that can run on gasoline without ethanol, E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline), or any combination of the two. There are now more than 20 million FFVs on the road and they are produced by GM, Ford, Chrysler, Jeep, Mercedes and others. These vehicles use modern technology to automatically adjust the vehicle to whatever blend is purchased. You can identify these vehicles by checking your owner’s manual, checking the rear of your vehicle for a flex-fuel badge, visiting with your dealer, or checking the fuel filter door or gas cap for more information. FFVs must be identified in one of these ways, but each automaker is different.