Most gas stations these days supplement their fuel blends with anywhere from 10 to 15 percent of ethanol.
The thinking behind this is that it lessens the country's dependence on foreign oil without sacrificing quality of fuel.
But ethanol blended fuels can have a detrimental effect on your engine, causing problems such as:
- Difficulty starting
- Engine corrosion
- Water buildup in the tank
- Total engine failure
Thankfully, while ethanol is prevalent in most gasoline blends these days, there are several stations located throughout the country that refrain from using it in their fuel. However, these gas stations could soon be numbered.
Changes at Chalmette Refining
Chalmette Refining is the largest source of ethanol free gasoline in the state of Louisiana, producing about 192,500 crude barrels each day. And as of May 16, the source has stopped providing ethanol free gasoline, a major blow to the state of Louisiana that could lead to a trickle down effect to other refineries throughout the country.
Eventually, there's a fear among drivers and boaters that every refinery in America could follow the lead of Chalmette and start supplying nothing but ethanol blended fuel.
The only real solutions to staying away from ethanol blended fuel is to buy from stations that refrain from selling it - usually at a higher price - or to administer a fuel additive to the tank every time it's filled up. With refineries like Chalmette trending away from producing ethanol free gasoline, the latter option could wind up being the more popular one. Thankfully, fuel additives are inexpensive, easy to administer and also offer engines other benefits. Many of these additives clean out engine components, offer better cold starts and allow for an engine to increase their miles per gallon.
Fuel additives could wind up being more important after May 16 and beyond, as we know that ethanol-blended gas can:
- Lead to engine failure
- Engine corrosion
- Long-term engine damage
Fuel additives could save your engine from premature failure and save your wallet from emptying.
This post was published on June 9, 2014 and was updated on February 20, 2015.