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Ethanol: Your Cold-Weather Friend

February 11, 2021


With temperatures at or below freezing in many states, a lot of drivers are curious or concerned about the effect on their vehicles. And there are systems you especially need to watch or maintain, such as your battery and your radiator.


Thanks to ethanol, however, one old worry drivers used to have has gone away—the possibility of gas freezing in the tank or the fuel line. Since ethanol is an alcohol, and present in a higher amount than a bottle of gasoline antifreeze in a tank, it does a terrific job at keeping your fuel from freezing. Even Gold Eagle, producer of one of the most popular brands of gasoline antifreeze, recognizes this: “Most gas contains up to 10 percent ethanol and will work as antifreeze.”


Here are some more explanations from experts in the field:

“Water does collect in gas tanks and fuel lines from moisture in the air, or from the storage tanks at gas stations. Today, however, vehicles in most parts of the country burn gasoline that includes up to 10 percent ethanol, a form of alcohol that performs the same water-absorbing chores as brand-name gasoline antifreezes,” writes “Gas-line antifreeze isn’t expensive and probably can’t hurt, but if you have 15 gallons of fuel in your vehicle and 10 percent of it is ethanol, your tank already has 1.5 gallons of alcohol in it. Adding another 12 to 16 ounces of alcohol is not going to provide any additional protection against freezing.”


An auto writer at agrees: “Gasoline deicer sales have plummeted in the last ten years because fuel producers are putting ethanol (ethyl alcohol) into their blends. Fuel deicer’s primary active ingredient is alcohol, so if refineries are putting 10 percent alcohol into their regular blends, a few ounces from a plastic bottle into a full tank won’t really add much to the mix.”


And we can be sure Minnesotans know how to deal with cold weather. “Adding a gas line antifreeze is not necessary when using ethanol-blended fuel, writes an auto columnist at the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “The ethanol — ethyl or grain alcohol — is an effective antifreeze/moisture remover so no additional additive is necessary.”

Whatever the season or weather, ethanol-blended fuel is a smart option for so many reasons. Stay warm, stay safe—and choose ethanol!


Robert White

Robert White is the Vice President of Industry Relations at RFA.