Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is an alternative fuel that is primarily produced from corn, but barley and wheat have also been main contributors. It is the same type of grain alcohol associated with moonshine and tub whiskey. The United States and Brazil are responsible for nearly 70 percent of the global production of ethanol, which some see as the fuel of the future.
Ethanol in it’s purest form is blended with a small quantity of gasoline to enhance engine start-up. When pure, it burns clean with a colorless flame. E85, which is used in FFVs (flexible fuel vehicles), is a mixture with a ratio of 85 percent ethanol to 15 percent gasoline and is considered an alternative fuel. Gasohol, designated E10, contains 90 percent gasoline and 10 ethanol, but it is not regarded as fuel alternative and should not be mistaken for ethanol. Some of the cleaner burning gasolines uses a 2 percent amount of ethanol, which is used as an oxygenate. Another blend is E15, and is available from blender pumps that are clearly marked “Passenger Vehicles Only,” while use in other vehicles is prohibited by Federal law. E15 can’t be used in vehicles such as motorcycles, small garden engines or heavy duty engines in trucks and buses, boats, snowmobiles and others.
The EPA mandates of the ethanol blend gasolines were meant to decrease the country’s dependence on imported foreign oil and lessen the harmful exhaust emissions of greenhouse gases from vehicles. It was hoped from the onset that millions of vehicles would use ethanol, cutting down on carbon dioxide, benzene and hydrocarbons. So far, it has gotten off on slow start, but proponents are optimistic.
Visit “The 411 on Ethanol” page for everything you need to know about the Ethanol in your fuel!
FFVs have been in production since the 1980s, with dozens of models currently on the
market. These vehicles are identical to a normal-looking car or truck with the exception of modifications to the fuel delivery system, the addition of sensors and a re-programming of the car’s computer. The modifications to the fuel systems allow the vehicle to run normally without any noticeable performance deficits. Ethanol does burn cleaner, but it is said to be 20 to 30 less energy efficient, which causes a 5 to 15 percent reduction in fuel economy. However, there are only an estimated 1,500 E85 stations located around the U.S., and they are in proximity to the corn fields and nearby ethanol production plants.
With the jury still out, there is still a heightened optimism for the increased use of Ethanol. It is clearly on the rise and increasing in momentum.
Products like STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer and the new STA-BIL® Ethanol Treatment are designed to prevent gum and varnish formation/build-up caused by the breakdown of fuel and also help prevent corrosion from moisture/humidity during storage.
The New STA-BIL® Ethanol Treatment is designed to be used during USE of your gasoline powered equipment to protect against Ethanol related issues, such as corrosion, water, and power-robbing deposit formation. It will also stabilize fuel for up to 12 months. However, we recommend using STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer during STORAGE of your equipment, if you are storing for more than 30 days.
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