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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

What you need to know about E15 fuel

Ethanol fuels are not new, but recent legislation targeting high-fuel prices has brought the biofuel back to the forefront of the conversation. What is this change and how will you be affected? It's pretty simple: Tuesday's announcement is merely an extension of a practice already in place seasonally.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/maintenance-and-tech/what-you-need-to-know-about-e15-fuel/
125 REPLIES 125
hyperv6
Racer

Now not taking this from a political sense but from a mechanical sense this was a waste full move.

First the claimed 10 cents is not really a savings.
Poorer MPG is not a savings.
The damage this can do to power equipment can be devastating.
The damage to the older cars is much greater including carburetors.

The one good thing is this is not being added to most fuels it will just be continued in areas that already offer these fuels clearly marked on the pump. So read the pump and try to avoid this fuel.

One economic thing that makes no sense is this. Ethanol is made of grain. With the war in the Ukraine higher grain prices are expected as are higher fertilizer cost since much of each come from there. This will raise market cost on futures. So this in turn should raise corn cost that will raise ethanol and meat prices. Just saying none of this makes sense.

If you ever raced on Alcohol (in the car not the driver) you would understand the corrosive properties of this fuel. When you are done racing you have to flush out the engine fuel system with Gas or it will eat up the fuel system and parts of the engine. When you are done racing you are far from loading up and going home with an Alcohol racer.

Note the new cars do not have plastic gas tanks just because they are cheaper.

We need to be wary of increases of this type of fuel in the future and Europe is pushing for higher ethanol content. I expect the same to come here. This is why Porsche is working on synthetic fuel for racers and classic cars and it is not going to be cheap.

We really need to understand the policies of some folks in office to make sure we protect our hobby. We are already losing the good oils for older engines. I expect the fuel will be next.
MustangJim
Technician

Absolutely right. You are not being political but our politicians are nothing but. Once again, a nice sound bite for an uninformed base and no common sense in the decision.
On a lighter note, I didn't know alcohol had to be flushed with gas at the end of race day.
hyperv6
Racer

Yes with a topic like this it is difficult not to be political. The truth is if you go there the Democrat's have dirty fingers now embracing this and in the past the Republicans have pushed this to garner Farm votes in the mid west. 

 

Biden right now has given over to the Green supporters the the future of his administation. What he did not expect was the situation with the Ukraine and oil prices rising as fast as they. 

 

He expected some increases after his executive decrees when he took office by killing pipe lines and tying up drilling permits. But the Ukraine war has thrown gas on the fire you could say. 

 

He is trying not to fail his money people that got him elected but he is seeing everything else crumble around him. 

 

He can not blame the previous admin for this and people are no longer buying the Putin claims. 

 

Will he cave of will he keep us stuck with higher prices?  What worries me is unless the price of oil globally drops it will continue to feed Putin's war machine as it lives on Russian oil and gas prices. 

 

If we just move to open up more permits and pipe lines the market will react to the futures drive the market down as oil is a traded commodity like Gold or Silver and it reacts to future supply and demand. 

daffodildeb
Intermediate Driver

Rather than opening up more permits, as you suggest, how 'bout the oil companies drill on the 9000 unused permits they now have? The fact is, until very recently there was no incentive to drill. Remember when oil futures went briefly negative? The market will sort this out, but it will take time--war or no war. Rome wasn't built in a day, and drilling doesn't hit a gusher in a day, either (if at all).
Roxton
Pit Crew

You are absolutely right! Always easy to blame the current administration. Oil prices are a global problem not easily solved by the President. At least he's trying to lower prices instead of praising and embracing Russia.
Grumpyoldcoot
Intermediate Driver

Not "blame the current administration?" Are you SERIOUS? Can you explain how and why we no longer are an oil exporter? Do you not think that anti-oil regulations from the Biden administration have nothing to do with the supply of oil and oil products?

cslandry
Intermediate Driver

When fuel/oil prices were very low - even briefly negative - the oil companies shut down tons of producing wells. I heard something like 5000 in Kansas alone. There were mostly older, low producing wells, but it all adds up. These could be brought back on line and, unlike new drilling, would immediately increase supply, helping to increase the current higher demand. However, there is considerable cost to do this due to the age and condition of the wells. The oil companies have been burned a couple of times recently by making investments when prices were high, only to have prices drop dramatically. They, and the financial markets, have little taste to go through that again. This reality, and recent world events, have a much larger impact on the supply and demand balance than any decisions the administration can make.
mpzz
Advanced Driver

We do still export oil and also import some. We don't need to do either, but we do it to aid our allies and sometimes for cheaper oil.
Inline8OD
Technician

The oil companies will do anything to boost their already obscene profit, so not a partisan issue. But they're glad to have you blaming one party over another so you don't focus on their moves.
zappafanx
Intermediate Driver

It is not easy to blame the current administration when their policies directly contribute to higher prices?
mpzz
Advanced Driver

So your argument is that Biden is despetately trying to raise oil prices by encouraging Putin to invade Ukraine, while our saintly oil companies are desperately doing everything in their power to keep prices and profits super low? I'll say this in a way you'll understand, komrade: NYET!
Inline8OD
Technician

Thank you. You nailed it. All you have to do is trace oil company history the past century. They love having the little people blame one party over another instead of looking behind the curtain.
MustangJim
Technician

The administration brings uncertainty to business which is why they are reluctant to do exploratory drilling on already leased land. One big reason is that the Fed is appointing people that are ideological on the environment and believe that the Fed should actively discourage big banks from lending to oil companies. Even if they say they are not watching this now, this investment in exploration is long term and if lending can be tighter in the future, the oil companies are hesitant to invest. 

Lightning1
Advanced Driver

Those 9000 permits need DEQ approval to actually drill. That hasn’t been given. The “Permit” is only step one in a sea of government bureaucracy.
BMD4800
Gearhead

And the royalties (fees paid to the king…err govt) were simultaneously increased.
timb0
Intermediate Driver

The King has left the building (in 2020).
mpzz
Advanced Driver

No. The word Permit means exactly that. Once you have a permit, you are permitted to drill and pump out the oil. But oil companies don't use thousands of wells they have permits for in order to keep the price of oil high.
Inline8OD
Technician

Thank you.
Retrorider
Pit Crew

You mean the permits that this administration won't authorize drilling for, or the permits they authorize that oil companies know are prone to failed results based on scientific exploration? Open the damn pipe lines, give out the DEQ permits to drill in productive ground, and let's get energy independent again like we were with the last administration. Screw the New Green Deal. It's a far left pipe dream!
limoguy
Detailer

Unfortunately, if the government gets involved it becomes a political issue by definition.
SAG
Technician

Ukraine is more Oil rich, than Grain rich.
USA Ag is the "bread basket" for the planet.
98% of Beans grown/produced/sold come from Nebraska.
SAG
Technician

actually
North America Ag.
is the "Bread Basket".
SAG
Technician

Less we forget
Our friends to the North
who's currency has the picture of the "Queen".
Eh!
oldcars
Intermediate Driver

In my wallet
I have a 10 dollar bill with a picture of Viola Desmond
10 dollar bill with a picture of Sir John A. Macdonald
20 Queen Elizabeth II
50 W.L. Mackenzie King
100 Sir Robert L. Borden
Yes I am a Canadian
DUB6
Specialist

And today, we wish Happy Birthday to Queen Elizabeth II who is 96!  (and also to me, who shares her birthday of April 21)

Long Live the Queen 🤗

mpzz
Advanced Driver

Bull! Ukraine is the bread basket of Europe. And Nebraska is the bread basket of....... nowhere. Illinois (672m bu) grows nearly twice as many bushel of soybeans as Nebraska. Iowa (621) is not far behind and even Minnesota (356) grows more bushels than Nebraska (350). And if Ukraine was so oil rich, the problem of Europe needing oil from Russia would be solved. Try again, Yuri.
Inline8OD
Technician

Heaven forbid we should tackle the overarching problem, the biggest threat to i.c. cars, what a 2013 poll of 2,000 UN scientists, and 11/5/2019 poll of 11,000 scientists in Bloomberg News showed in agreement, that overpopulation is by far our biggest problem, their words "bigger than climate."

According to UN and other vetted studies, animals raised for meat and dairy produce more greenhouse gas than all the world's cars, trucks,buses, trains, planes, ships combined.

But easier to play us/them instead of grabbing the bull by the horns.

Inline8OD
Technician

Yup, them thar "politicians." Who put them in office, who do they serve? Do you vote? So run for office yourself. Tell us how it goes.

CamryDriver
Intermediate Driver

You're spot on questioning why we are leaning on a fuel source which is already fundamentally inefficient and backwards, precisely at a time when the ag sector is already feeling a squeeze from fertilizer shortages, and consumers have already been feeling the sting of increased prices at the grocery store.

What I haven't heard as much about (maybe it just hasn't been publicized as heavily) is any increased drilling?

I have a zero-ethanol fuel source near my house, it's pricey at around $5/gal but it's all I try to run in my carbureted motorcycles and yard equipment. Haven't many car manufacturers come out and clearly said they won't honor warranty on cars run on E15?
AG1962
Instructor

Where I live, we currently pay the equivalent of US$6.54 a US gallon for 94 octane premium without ethanol for my motorbikes (CDN$2.20 per litre). Still worth it as I just don’t have fuelling issues if the bikes sit for a while, esp. if I toss in some stabilizer. Compared to some older friends who refuse to pay attention to ethanol content, my expenses are marginally higher and my aggravation each spring is substantially lower.
daffodildeb
Intermediate Driver

Yes, the owner's manual for my 2015 MINI Cooper clearly states not to use E15. Our local Walmart station (Murphy Oil) sells ethanol-free 91, but it's not a Top-Tier brand. I'm between a rock and a hard place in my 2002 986 Boxster S, so I generally alternate between ethanol-free and Shell 93.
MrBill-1943
Advanced Driver

I too have to search but got lucky that GATE recently built a station in my neighborhood that has two Ethanol free pumps. Even thought its $1.00 more a gallon I am saving on repairs and better performance.
MPH168
Pit Crew

Your comments on the evils of alcohol need to be qualified. The alcohol you mention only relate to methanol - not ethanol. You are correct that methanol will degrade aluminum components if left in the system. You are incorrect with the  assumption that ethanol is the same alcohol. It is not. The chemical descriptions are completely different, which makes the rest of your comments - and that's what these assumptions are - comments suspect. Your information is not backed with facts. Yes, alcohols in general tend to affect rubber lines differently - ethanol is a dry fuel with fewer lubricants. But frankly rubber lines that are compatible with ethanol are easy to find and even easier to change. There should be a minimum of rubber lines in any car and something that should be maintained like any other consummable component. There are literally at least five or six different grades of "rubber" fuel lines - some cheap and some very good. But they are all consummable. So there's no issue with rubber. Ethanol is not the evil component in the fuel as you surmise. It is - and these are facts not opinions - that ether components like toluene, xylene, ethyl-benzene are the real evils and exist in all gasoline - they are called aromatics in levels of around 20-25% in all gasolien sold around the country. Look it up - do your own research - don't just believe my statements. Then look up what these aromatics do to components in older cars. Yes - if you leave a fuel to dry out in your carburetor in an older car, there will be damage from water that creates the aluminium oxide - that white stuff. This corrosion comes from water that collects in the fuel - any fuel - not just fuel with ethanol. Frankly, most enthusiasts have been duped by a constant barrage of false narratives from the petroleum industry that ethanol is the evil fuel. It is not. Yes, you should take prcautions and do preventative maintenance - but that comes with the territory of owning older cars. To blame the ethanol as the Great Evil is shortsighted. I did a test for one year immersing a Holley metering block in E85 - allowing it to evaportate - dry out and then immersing it again. I did this for an entire year. Nothing happened. No corrosion, no damage even to small strips of naked aluminum strips that were also included. Now if I had added water to this mixture, likely damage would have occurred. So the evil is water - condensation forming in systems that are allowed to sit unattended and corrode. Is that the fault of the ethanol? The corrosion is caused by the wter allowed to sit in the fuel system.  Also, your contention that food prices will rise because we're using another 5 percent more ethanol in fuel is not quite acurate. Do you know that corn yields in Iowa alone have increased almost 50% since 2004? Look it up. That is a fact. Food prices are on the rise because energy prices are up radically - and ethanol costs LESS than gasoline - not more. So adding 5% mor ethanol should reduce prices. I don't expect to change your mind with these facts. I expect that if you read this - you will merely come back with some sort of personal attack - which is the usual response in these situations. I do hope that others will read this counterpoint and then perhaps do their own reserach and make their own decisions rather than blindly believe opinions rather then facts.       

buellerdan
Instructor

Does corn based ethanol cost less than gasoline if you take away the government subsidies? (this is not a personal attack)
Jay
Intermediate Driver

... and a related question: Does corn based ethanol result in lower carbon emissions than petroleum based fuel?  My guess is "no".  Between having diesel-fueled tractors make multiple passes to plow, plant, spray and harvest the corn, and then factor factor in transportation and distillation (all of which are oil-fueled), I can't imagine that less carbon gets released to the atmosphere over the full lifecycle of ethanol.

BMD4800
Gearhead

Depends on the commodity markets. Generally speaking, no. Depending upon the net cost after the sale of the grain for feed, maybe.

But one thing is undeniable, distillers grain is a better feed than regular dent.
mpzz
Advanced Driver

Corn prices are at record highs. Adding corn to gas is not saving any money.
Air_and_Water
Instructor

That's great and everything, but can you get an ethanol-friendly fuel pump diaphragm or carburetor kit? No?

Bummer, huh?
BMD4800
Gearhead

Yes. Lots of E85 compatible components are out there.
Air_and_Water
Instructor

But not enough. This is a problem of political origin, nothing more.

Congress often shows us they have no idea how mechanical things work, which is how we got first generation airbags killing people. They were specced to be able to stop a 160 lb. man traveling 30 mph with no seat belt, so they came out of the steering wheel like Muhammad Ali.
Marv48
Intermediate Driver

You a correct when you say that water is the problem. However what you did not mention is that ethanol very readily absorbs and holds water. That is why ethanol is worse than gasoline for your fuel system.
mpzz
Advanced Driver

And just because ethanol isn't as toxic and corrosive as methanol does not mean it is not extremely toxic and corrosive. It is.
Inline8OD
Technician

Thank you, MPH168, for trying to introduce quantifiable facts on the usual torches and pitchforks forum. Even Al Gore admits our ethanol a boondoggle, environmental waste. Marv68 is right about instead using agwaste, switch grass, as Brazil does, a nation that's never been at war in two centuries, not that they're angels.
Henry Ford intended his Model T and Fordson tractor, by 1920 comprising half the vehicles and tractors on the world's roads and fields, to run on agwaste ethanol. But John D. Rockefeller controlled over 85% of all US bulk oil shipments, so with gas a dime a gallon, infrastructure in place, Ford went along. Had he bucked, likely GM, Maxwell, Reo, Chalmers, Auburn, Dodge, Packard, Pierce and the rest of the industry would've followed.

While we prefer straight gasoline, none of my prewar Packard, Pierce, Cadillac, Cord, Delahaye, Buick, Railton, Hudson, Lagonda, Auburn pals have had a problem with ethanol gas, these immaculate cars driven not trailered like beached whale carcasses, and tho' slightly off subject, once and for all: inline engines do not "vapor lock." Old Ford, Cad/LaSalle, Cord V-8s can because the carb's smack in the midst of a heat sink.

According to a 2013 poll of 2,000 UN scientists and another 11,000 scientists reported in the 11/5/19 Bloomberg News, their whelming consensus is that our biggest by far problem is overpopulation, their words: "bigger than climate."

This is the threat to our internal combustion cars.

UN and other vetted studies show animals raised for meat and dairy produce more greenhouse gas than all the world's cars, trucks, buses, trains, planes, ships combined.

If we're serious about preserving a nation, world where we can still take our i.c. alter egos out for a cruise, we should do everything in our power to promote education, contraceptives, adoption,  and a vegan diet, the latter hardly slowing the world's leading Formula One driver, Lewis Hamilton, and 77-year-old rocker rodder Jeff Beck.

We now return to our barroom rants, already in progress.

Corvettebaggs
Intermediate Driver

I agree with you on all except being a vegan. Take my burger from me and I will fight you.
mpzz
Advanced Driver

You're pretty much right until the end. The only thing we can do to save the planet is to cut the human population by half or more. Period. As long as the earth is horribly overpopulated, humans will produce pollution that will destroy the environment.
omac
Intermediate Driver

Thank you for a well written response with facts.
SAG
Technician

Ethanol / Methanol
Tomato / Tommato
SAG
Technician

you must be a Chemist,
not a Mechanic.
MPH168
Pit Crew

I am in fact a mechanic who builds engines and occasionally writes about his exploits. I love internal combustion engines and it bothers me enough to respond when people take a stand with no knowledge of what they are talking about. And no - probably like you - I struggle with chemistry - but I've learned enough to know that ethanol is not methanol. They are completely different fuels with completely different makeup despite the fact that they are both "alcohols" Don't drink methanol if you want to live more than about 30 minutes. Methanol has more oxygenates which makes it a better race fuel but also has half the energy content of gasoline. Both have excellent octane ratings.