What are the benefits of ethanol fuel?
Ethanol adds two to three points of octane to ordinary unleaded gasoline, so it boosts the performance of your engine. Because of its high oxygen content, ethanol burns more completely than ordinary unleaded gasoline and reduces harmful tailpipe emissions. Ethanol prevents gas line freeze-up.
Ethanol has both pros and cons as a renewable fuel source. While it is renewable, domestically produced, and produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than non-renewable sources of energy, it is less energy-dense, expensive to produce, and can have negative impacts on the environment.
Today's corn-based ethanol reduces greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by roughly 40 – 50 percent compared to regular gasoline, according to recent studies by Harvard, USDA and the Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory.
Ethanol has a higher octane number than gasoline, providing premium blending properties. Minimum octane number requirements for gasoline prevent engine knocking and ensure drivability. Lower-octane gasoline is blended with 10% ethanol to attain the standard 87 octane.
High-octane fuels, like ethanol, help deliver more horsepower and speed. Most cars require fuel with a minimum octane rating of 87. Ethanol's octane rating is 113 and is added to petroleum-based fuels to create a blend with at least 87 octane for use in modern vehicles.
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Higher octane rating: Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline, which can improve engine performance. Disadvantages: Lower energy content: Ethanol has a lower energy content per gallon compared to gasoline, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency and potentially higher fuel consumption.
Ethanol blended gasoline can cause serious engine damage when used regularly. It is corrosive and highly water soluble, often leading to storage problems. If left, water in the fuel system can cause rusting, fuel degradation and other problems. Ethanol fuel is also associated with microbial contamination.
The big problem is energy density – a gallon of ethanol has only two-thirds the energy density of pure gasoline.
Symptoms of exposure to ethanol may include irritation to the eyes, skin and nose, drowsiness and headache. Other symptoms may include stupor, nausea, mental excitement or depression, vomiting, flushing and coma.
Does premium gas have ethanol?
Is Premium or Mid-Grade Fuel Worth the Extra Money? Premium gas doesn't provide any more power or contain better additives than regular gas, and it contains the same amount of ethanol as other grades. It just resists detonation (knock) better than lower-octane gas—nothing more, nothing less.
87-octane can have no more than 10 percent ethanol. The difference between 87 and 88 is an additional 5% ethanol. This is important because if you have an owner's manual from a vehicle made in 2002-2015, it probably lists the maximum amount of ethanol at up to 10 percent.
E10 or less. E10, a fuel mixture of 10% anhydrous ethanol and 90% gasoline sometimes called gasohol, can be used in the internal combustion engines of most modern automobiles and light-duty vehicles without need for any modification on the engine or fuel system.
Most cars on the road today in the U.S. can run on blends of up to 15% ethanol, and ethanol represented 10% of the U.S. gasoline fuel supply derived from domestic sources in 2011. Some flexible-fuel vehicles are able to use up to 100% ethanol.
Ethanol is nasty stuff. It corrodes the metals and alloys used in the fuel systems of classic cars, and it also seriously shortens the life of any rubber or plastic components it comes into contact with, such as fuel lines. Such damage is not necessarily obvious in the short to medium term. It's cumulative over time.
But ethanol causes major issues for consumers, who face loss of mileage, storage issues and a tendency for ethanol to corrode plastic and fiberglass tanks and parts, especially in marine applications.
Ethanol contains about one-third less energy than gasoline. So, vehicles will typically go 3% to 4% fewer miles per gallon on E10 and 4% to 5% fewer on E15 than on 100% gasoline.
E15, often sold at the pump as Unleaded 88, for its octane rating, can safely be used in all cars, trucks and SUVs from 2001 on. Those model years represent more than 90% of vehicles on U.S. roads. The ethanol industry says the fuel is one of the most tested in history and has no effect on vehicle drivability.
It burns more cleanly than gasoline, and helps stretch the finite supply of gas further. However, the mileage in a car isn't as good a regular gas. The gain in air pollution is offset by the lack of mileage, making for an awkward tradeoff, with methanol still out ahead as a fuel.
Proponents of ethanol ethanol argue that it is one of the alternative fuels and it is a cleaner, more sustainable alternative to fossil fuels. In contrast, critics argue that it is not a viable solution for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and may contribute to environmental problems.
Is ethanol fuel cheaper than gasoline?
While E85 is typically cheaper per gallon than gasoline it might be more expensive per mile. Since ethanol contains less energy per volume than gasoline, FFVs will generally get 15%-27% fewer miles per gallon when fueled with E85, depending on the car and the driver's driving habits.
Ethanol can destroy gas tanks, fuel pumps, gaskets, and attract moisture into your fuel. Engines can be completely ruined over time if they're not designed for ethanol.
The EPA and an academic study have said that fuel containing 15% ethanol is safe for cars, trucks and sport-utility vehicles made in 2001 or later — which make up more than 90% of the vehicles on U.S. roads. Many car manufacturers have okayed the use of E15 fuel in their vehicles made in the past 10 years.
Though ethanol and other biofuels are often promoted as clean, low-cost alternatives to gasoline, industrial corn and soy farming still have a harmful impact on the environment, just in a different way.
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