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Read the Label!

January 6, 2015


Every week I hear from consumers with questions on ethanol and what it does to their fuel. Most don't understand that the composition of gasoline, along with the refining process, has changed dramatically over the past two decades. They automatically assume that anything negative has to be caused by ethanol. Nearly all of them will admit that nothing has happened to them, but they have been told a story, or seen an advertisement that made them nervous. Many companies have jumped on this fear and the anti-ethanol movement. When Big Oil spends millions to denounce ethanol, it creates an opportunity to sell products to consumers they don't truly need. This year at Sturgis I found an "octane enhancer" bottle near our fueling position. RFA was again giving away free 93 octane E10 (10% ethanol) to riders. Our summer intern that was filling the tank said someone was through and was concerned the ethanol didn't have enough octane, and added this product before he left. My curiosity got the best of me, and I had to know what the secret ingredient was for this product. The AMSOIL Dominator Octane Boost wasn't trying to hide it; ingredients were listed on the back. The product is 60–100% #2 diesel. You can read the MSDS Sheet here. Let's think about this for a second. This gentleman was trying ethanol-blended fuel, supposedly for the first time, and due to his fear, AMSOIL had convinced him to add #2 diesel to his motorcycle's fuel tank? We didn't see the man again, but I did wonder what he would blame if he had issues... the ethanol, the gasoline or the diesel? Recently, I spotted someone promoting a new product on Twitter.  This product, BG Ethanol Fuel System Drier, claims that it "defends engines against the water that accumulates in ethanol-blended fuel." The supplier advertising on Twitter claimed it "goes in ethanol & absorbs moisture to prevent freezing." When I pointed out the fact that is what ethanol does for gasoline, they quickly responded with an "awesome, thanks" and blocked me from seeing their future Tweets.  But, my curiosity got the best of me again, and I went hunting for more information on this product. I easily found the MSDS Sheet and found that this product is 60–100% alcohol. So, again, the consumers that are concerned with the amount of ethanol (alcohol) in their fuel are being marketed by BG to add more alcohol? That this product will cure a problem that doesn't exist, that ethanol has already remedied? Just to further my point, in just 5 minutes of research, I collected this list of products that contain over 60% alcohol that claim to fix an ethanol issue:
  • Evinrude 2-4 Fuel Conditioner
  • Formula X2
  • K100 Fuel Treatment
Consumers are faced with a barrage of information daily, but one thing is consistent. They should all do their own research. I understand that convincing people to read an MSDS sheet is not ever going to be easy, but the label is a good start. RFA will continue its efforts to add more transparency to the marketing of the additive manufacturers. The best advice to give to consumers is for them to read their owner's manuals and follow the advice of the company that provides the warranty, and built the product. Not someone trying to sell you some snake oil.