The Disadvantages

The Disadvantages of Adding Ethanol to Your Fuel

Ethanol is not something that you can wish away. It is now a fact of life. For some years now, 10% ethanol blends have become commonplace in many countries including the U.S. The wide acceptance if ethanol is recognizable. However, we need to appreciate that ethanol causes significant issues for you as a consumer. You face problems such as; a loss of mileage, issues with storage, and a tendency for ethanol to cause corrosion of plastic and fiberglass parts and tanks.

A loss of mileage

This loss results from the use of ethanol blends. Ethanol molecules have an energy value that is less than that of gasoline. Petroleum fuels have some carbon bonds, whose formation are different from those of ethanol. This is what causes the difference in energy level. Gasoline molecules are longer and have more carbon bonds, as compared to their ethanol counterparts. Ethanol molecules are smaller with lesser carbon bonds. Therefore, a fuel that is an ethanol blend has a lower energy value and potential.

Water attraction

When ethanol is in its purest form, it has a strong ability to absorb water from the air that is around it. This is the case, in the fuel blends that are made from gasoline and pure ethanol. Ethanol has a powerful attraction to water, such that those who produce chemicals cannot sell it in 100% purity. It is sold in either 99.8% purity or less. This problem is even more significant for marine users of E10 to E85 than it is for car drivers. On accumulation of this water in a storage or fuel tank, it descends to the bottom. This is because water is denser than fuel. This then contributes to the development of many fuel issues and problems, for all engine types which use ethanol.

Creating a breeding ground for microbes

Microbes such as fungi and bacteria develop in fuel storage tanks that have accumulated water. The microbes live inside the containers, feeding off of both the water and the fuel. When they feed off this, they grow and multiply in high numbers. They also release harmful by-products which are detrimental for the fuel systems. If this continues over time, corrosion issues, a reduction in the quality of fuel, and filter plugging develop. This causes millions of dollars to be used per year, to keep these problems under control.

Ethanol has many benefits. For instance; cutting emission of greenhouse gases from the cars and reducing oil dependency. However, with every advantage, comes a disadvantage. You should, therefore, gauge the pros and cons, before deciding whether ethanol blends are good for your car.