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-   -   10% Ethanol Gasoline: Yes or No? (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=565788)

cn90 09-02-2011 08:42 AM

10% Ethanol Gasoline: Yes or No?
 
I read somewhere on the internet that 10% ethanol can be harmful to the fuel delivery system in any cars, but the evidence is anecdotal and I am not convinced that 10% ethanol is bad.

Does anyone have any hard evidence (preferably scientific study) that says 10% Ethanol is bad for the seals etc.?

All of my cars at home have been running on 10% Ethanol gas for the last 10-14 years, zero issues (or maybe I don't know yet). In 95% of the time, I pump 89 Octane (with 10% Ethanol in there).

Any Ethanol expert here?
Well, everyone is an expert on the internet LOL (j/k).

98540iA 09-02-2011 08:49 AM

I'm pretty sure it's used only in winter months and at most is 10% so the pumps all have stickers stating 10% ethanol. I am no expert and have no proof of this.

I've also heard it will bring mileage down and performance as well, however I don't think we as consumers have much of a choice as pretty much all gas stations have this.

cn90 09-02-2011 08:54 AM

Not really, in my area:
- 89 Octane: 10% ethanol
- If I buy premium gas (91 octane), it has no ethanol in it.

cn90 09-02-2011 09:00 AM

I found something interesting on youtube:


Combustion test of Ethanol vs Gasoline:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2BXuI52fOI




Test for Ethanol content in Gasoline. I think this is based on the principle that Ethanol can mix with water better than with Gasoline, so Ethanol raised the "interface" level between Water and Gasoline:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gsSQSuCiUjE

bimmerteck 09-02-2011 09:12 AM

It isn't the ethanol itself that causes issue with seals as much as it is the drying agents they add to it b/c ethanol in it's natural state absorbs water. The upside is that it cools combustion events and allows for higher compression, downside without modifying your compression ratio and writing a new tune for your DME you can't truly take advantage of it so it will show up as decreased fuel mileage and reduced emissions.

98540iA 09-02-2011 09:45 AM

that's strange, here in Colorado all pumps (including premium 91) have the same sticker "contains up to 10% ethanol".

dvsgene 09-02-2011 10:00 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cn90 (Post 6294083)
Not really, in my area:
- 89 Octane: 10% ethanol
- If I buy premium gas (91 octane), it has no ethanol in it.

Quote:

Originally Posted by 98540iA (Post 6294222)
that's strange, here in Colorado all pumps (including premium 91) have the same sticker "contains up to 10% ethanol".


I can vary by market, state, supplier AND station.

bluebee 09-02-2011 11:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dvsgene (Post 6294265)
I can vary by market, state, supplier AND station.

Looking at this thread:
- Is anyone using fuel with a blend of ethanol?

I see that California gas is (apparently) almost all 10% ethanol, winter or summer.

Other posts in that thread say it's a Federal mandate. Dunno what the actual fact is though.

http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/att...1&d=1306395514

dvsgene 09-02-2011 11:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by bluebee (Post 6294533)
Looking at this thread:
- Is anyone using fuel with a blend of ethanol?

I see that California gas is (apparently) almost all 10% ethanol, winter or summer.

Other posts in that thread say it's a Federal mandate. Dunno what the actual fact is though.

The correct answer: It is a state by state mandate with incentives in many others:

http://www.ethanol.org/index.php?id=79&parentid=26

Ten states have enacted Renewable Fuels Standards that require the use of ethanol-blended fuel:

Hawaii
Iowa
Kansas
Louisiana
Minnesota
Missouri
Montana
Oregon
Washington
Florida

*California has a Low Carbon Fuel Standard and Pennsylvania has a cellulosic ethanol standard.

CARB is denatured ethanol. Technically, a fuel that meets the requirements of the CaRFG Phase 3 Predictive Model could contain as little as 0 percent oxygen or as much as 3.7 percent oxygen.



Twelve states have some type of retail pump incentives for ethanol, whether for E10, E85, or both types of ethanol-blended fuel:

Alaska (E10)
Idaho (both)
Illinois (both)
Iowa (both)
Kansas (E85)
Maine (both)
Minnesota (E85)
Oklahoma (both)
South Dakota (both)
Hawaii (both)
South Carolina (E85)
Alabama (E10)

Twenty-two states have some type of incentive for ethanol producers:

Arkansas
Hawaii
Illinois
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
New York
North Dakota
Oklahoma
South Carolina
South Dakota
Texas
Virginia
Wyoming

dvsgene 09-02-2011 12:13 PM

The only Federal Level Mandate that exists under th Energy Policy Act of 2005:

"Under the renewable fuels standard, gasoline was mandated to contain 7.5 billion gallons of renewable fuel annually by 2012. It is expected that most of this requirement will be met with ethanol. The 2007 RFS requires 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2008, increasing steadily to 15.2 billion gallons in 2012 and to 36 billion gallons in 2022."

Then expanded to Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007,

NOTE: The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced in February 2008 that it is raising the renewable fuel standard (RFS) for 2008 to comply with the Energy Independence and Security Act, which President Bush signed in December 2007. The RFS applies to refiners, importers, and non-oxygenate blenders of gasoline and sets a minimum percentage of the fuel that must be displaced with renewable fuels, such as ethanol. The EPA is raising that minimum percentage from 4.66% to 7.76%, a 66% increase, in order to meet the new energy act's requirement to consume 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2008. The requirement will continue to ratchet up each year until it reaches 36 billion gallons in 2022

The Mandate did not say which states had to comply only that refiners must comply. How it is distributed by refiners have been based largely on state mandates and incentives.


http://www.seco.cpa.state.tx.us/re_e...nergypolicyact

http://www.epa.gov/otaq/fuels/renewablefuels/index.htm

Jason5driver 09-02-2011 09:00 PM

I would need to travel all the way to Kansas City to get gas without ethanol unfortunately...
All gas here has 10% ethanol.
Although, I always make sure to use Top Tier gas (Quick Trip), provided by Conoco.
IMO, ethanol is very bad.
Bad for the economy, bad for cars.
Mike Miller on Bimmer Magazine wrote an excellent article about the ill effects of ethanol - very eye-opening...

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...php?p=21838626

http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...php?p=21227212

Quote:

Originally Posted by chefsboss (Post 21232705)
Politicians, Iowa Caucus, federal subsidies,... words that better explain why we have 10% (with a 5%? margin allowance) corn alcohol running through our injectors.
Nothing to do with clean air, alternative fuels... etc..


Vin M 09-02-2011 09:37 PM

There are several stations around the country that sell ethanol free gas. Unfortunately, none of them are near me.

Here's a few websites that list them...

http://pure-gas.org/

www.*****realgas.com Edit: not sure why this site won't post correctly, fill in the ***** with the word buy

www.historicvehicle.org

NNY528i 09-03-2011 06:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cn90 (Post 6294041)
I read somewhere on the internet that 10% ethanol can be harmful to the fuel delivery system in any cars, but the evidence is anecdotal and I am not convinced that 10% ethanol is bad.

Does anyone have any hard evidence (preferably scientific study) that says 10% Ethanol is bad for the seals etc.?

All of my cars at home have been running on 10% Ethanol gas for the last 10-14 years, zero issues (or maybe I don't know yet). In 95% of the time, I pump 89 Octane (with 10% Ethanol in there).

Any Ethanol expert here?
Well, everyone is an expert on the internet LOL (j/k).

That's curious as Ethanol only really came into use in california starting in 2003 but didn't see wide use until after 2006 with the renewable fuels act. which means you car has been running on E10 for far less than 10-14 years and more likely for about 5 years.

Kamdog 09-03-2011 07:45 AM

In the NY metro area (NYC, LI, West. and Rockland) it used to be that ethanol blends were only needed in winter. Now, they are needed all year round. In practice, almost all stations in the state, except for a few upstate, use the blend.

poolman 09-03-2011 08:44 AM

Useing ethanol form what I have read will decrease the engines fuel mileage. I guess that means that power is down a smidge also. Big thing about the stuff in my point of veiw, by using ethanol as a fuel we have caused prices to increase for food stuffs. That has dramatic consequences for people through out 3rd world countries that depend on corn and other ag products as their main food sources. We should be working more towards natural gass and drilling for our recources that are available here in this country and Alaska.

bmw_n00b13 09-03-2011 08:59 AM

I avoid ethanol for ethical reasons (per poolman's post) and technical reasons (per Jason5driver's post).

In Brazil, they make ethanol from sugar cane, which is much cheaper and has less of an impact on food supply (in the US, the rest of the corn not used for ethanol is converted into high fructose corn syrup, used instead of sugar in many things as sugar is subject to an import duty-free trade agreements don't exist). Their ethanol content is very high, and causes extensive damage to even ethanol-capable cars. Apparently if one requires a BMW Motorrad fuel supply part (remember BMW bikes are used extensively for off-roading), they ship 10, leave them soaking in Brazillian fuel for a week, and the parts that still function as advertised are then used.

The production of ethanol uses up more energy than it produces in our cars, and because that energy is Diesel or electricity, probably from a coal plant, it is absolutely not a "clean" fuel.

QSilver7 09-03-2011 11:30 AM

BMW's Position on Ethanol: up to E10 (10% ethanol) is OK
 
This is info taken from a 10/25/2009 reply in a thread about the use of Ethanol & other Flex-fuels...the info was taken from the BMW TIS:


Quote:

Originally Posted by QSilver7 (Post 4628920)
BMW recommends NOT to use any fuel with an alcohol (ethanol) content greater than 10%.

Subject-Alcohol Fuel Blends in BMW Vehicles


All with gasoline engines

Fuel blends containing a high percentage (above 10%) of alcohol, mainly ethanol, are becoming more commercially available. Customers inquire about the possibility of using alcohol fuels (e.g. E85) in BMW vehicles

INFORMATION


Fuels containing up to and including 10% of ethanol or other oxygenates with up to 2.8% oxygen by weight, that is, 15% MTBE (methyl tertiary butyl ether) or 3% methanol plus an equivalent amount of co-solvent, will not void the applicable warranties with respect to defects in materials or workmanship.
Although, usage of such alcohol fuel blends may result in drivability, starting, and stalling problems due to reduced volatility and lower energy content of the fuel. Those drivability problems may be especially evident under certain environmental conditions, such as: high or low ambient temperatures and high altitude.
Only specially adapted vehicles (FFV - Flexible Fuel Vehicles) can run on high alcohol fuel blends.
BMW, for the various technical and environmental reasons explained below, does not offer FFV models.

Usage of E85, or any other high alcohol content blend (e.g. E30) in BMW vehicles, will cause various drivability complaints (cold start problems, stalling, reduced performance, poor fuel economy, etc.), may cause excessive emissions, and may cause irreversible damage to engine, emission control and fuel delivery systems due to incompatibility of materials with alcohols.


General Notes Regarding E85 Fuel.


E85 fuel contains 85% (by volume) of ethanol and 15% of gasoline. Ethanol can be produced chemically from ethylene or biologically from grains, agricultural wastes, or any organic material containing starch or sugar. In the US, ethanol is mainly produced from corn and is classified as a renewable fuel.
Similar to gasoline, ethanol contains hydrogen and carbon; with additional oxygen molecules build into its chemical chain. This chemical structure makes ethanol's burning process slightly cleaner compared to the gasoline (lower tailpipe emissions).
On the other hand, due to lower carbon content, ethanol provides 27% less energy (for identical volume) then gasoline, resulting in the reduced fuel economy of E85 vehicles (approximately 22% higher consumption). Increased fuel consumption requires the appropriately enlarged fuel tank capacities (usually 30% increase), and the specific DME calibrations for the E85 lower Stoichiometric air/fuel ratio (10 compared to 14.7 for gasoline engines).
E85 fuel volatility is typically lower then gasoline (RVP 6-10 psi, compared to 8-15 psi for gasoline). Lower fuel volatility will reduce vehicle evaporative emissions, but it may cause cold starting problems especially with lower ambient temperatures.

Under certain environmental conditions, mainly lower ambient temperatures, ethanol separates from gasoline/alcohol mixture and absorbs water. The ethanol absorbed water molecules are heavier then gasoline or ethanol, they remain at the bottom of fuel tank and when introduced into combustion process they tend to form an extremely lean mixture resulting in misfire, rough idle and cold starting problems.

Certain materials, commonly used with gasoline are totally incompatible with alcohols. When these materials come in contact with ethanol, they may dissolve in the fuel, which may damage engine components and may result in poor vehicle drivability.
Some metals (e.g. zinc, brass, lead, aluminum) become degraded by long exposure to ethanol fuel blends. Also, some nonmetallic materials used in automotive industry such as: natural rubber, polyurethane, cork gasket material, leather, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyamides, methyl-methacrylate plastics, and certain thermo & thermoset plastics degrade when in contact with fuel ethanol.

In order to safely and effectively operate a motor vehicle running on E85, the vehicle must be compatible with alcohol use. Some manufacturers have developed vehicles called FFV (Flexible Fuel Vehicle) that can operate on any blend of ethanol and gasoline (from 0% ethanol and 100% gasoline, up to 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). Ethanol FFVs are similar to gasoline vehicles, with main differences in materials used in fuel management and delivery systems, and DME control module calibrations. In some cases, also E85 vehicles require special lubricating oils.

Aftermarket conversions of gasoline-powered vehicles to ethanol-fueled vehicles, although possible, are not recommended due to internal materials and DME software incompatibility, as well, as the high costs of conversion.

WARRANTY INFORMATION


Components damage/malfunctions, or any drivability problems caused by use of fuels containing more then 10% ethanol (or other oxygenates with more then 2.8% oxygen by weight) will not be covered under BMW warranties with respect to defects in materials or workmanship.


cn90 09-03-2011 06:42 PM

I just stopped by the local BP gas station, and they confirmed with me that only Octane 89 has 10% ethanol. FWIW, here is the data:

Octane 87 (no ethanol): $3.79/gallon

Octane 89 (10% ethanol): $3.69/gallon

Octane 91 (no ethanol): $3.89/gallon

dvsgene 09-03-2011 07:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cn90 (Post 6296832)
I just stopped by the local BP gas station, and they confirmed with me that only Octane 89 has 10% ethanol. FWIW, here is the date:

Octane 87 (no ethanol): $3.79/gallon

Octane 89 (10% ethanol): $3.69/gallon

Octane 91 (no ethanol): $3.89/gallon

At those prices and blend. I would be filling up with 91 ALL THE TIME.

Cheapest Octane 91 around here is $4.21/gal for cash AND has 10% Ethanol.

poolman 09-04-2011 07:55 AM

Each blend of gas here in Va has the 10% mix--even to good stuff at 91 octane

bmw_n00b13 09-04-2011 09:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dvsgene (Post 6296890)
At those prices and blend. I would be filling up with 91 ALL THE TIME.

Cheapest Octane 91 around here is $4.21/gal for cash AND has 10% Ethanol.

Exactly! Except around here it's 5.29/gal for 87 octane. Not sure what it is where I actually fill up, in Point Roberts or Blaine.

cn90 09-23-2011 10:53 AM

Maybe it is my imagination but I have switched to standard gasoline (No Ethanol) for the last few weeks, even with Octane 87 (or 91), the fuel mileage "seems" to improve.

I have not done any actual measurement yet (such as driving 200 miles on highway and measure how much gas used), but it seems the gas mileage is better with standard gasoline.

ThoreauHD 09-23-2011 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by poolman (Post 6297715)
Each blend of gas here in Va has the 10% mix--even to good stuff at 91 octane

Yep. I wish I had a choice. Trading food crops for fuel seems to be mandatory here.

NNY528i 09-26-2011 04:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cn90 (Post 6336320)
Maybe it is my imagination but I have switched to standard gasoline (No Ethanol) for the last few weeks, even with Octane 87 (or 91), the fuel mileage "seems" to improve.

I have not done any actual measurement yet (such as driving 200 miles on highway and measure how much gas used), but it seems the gas mileage is better with standard gasoline.

For one who knows everything you should know this, Ethanol has a lower energy density than gasoline so if you run an ethanol blend then you will get a lower power output than you will out of a straight gasoline blend. The difference is about 1/3 less mileage gallon per gallon so at a 10% blend you will lose around 3.5% of your mileage. Welcome to the great ethanol conspiracy.

manticore33 09-26-2011 05:29 PM

Glad I live in Ohio where Shell and Turkey Hill are abundant. And, Ohio has no ethanol requirement. This with no annual inspections make me love this great heart shape state even more. :D


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