Bob's Resource Website (2007)

New gasoline and our Old Cars.

(From Alt.Autos.Studebaker, September 2006)

In the real world I am a petroleum distributor, for a number of large refineries. As part of the government mandated change from MTBE to ETHANOL additized gasolines, our industry has been faced with a lot of conversion problems related to the changeover.
As an example, all of our underground storage tanks had to be thoroughly cleaned, which in some cases, meant we had to put men down in the tanks to make absolutely certain, the tank bottoms were both dry [water is typically found in the bottoms of gasoline tanks as a result of natural condensation] and clear of any soluble debris that often times finds it way into storage tanks.

The primary problem being water as since gas will not absorb water (products) and will float on top of any water in the tanks. This is not usually a problem since the submerged turbine pumps that lift the product from the tanks bottoms are cut off at anywhere from 6 to 12 inches from the bottom of the tank.

With the introduction of ethanol that all changed because ethanol WILL absorb water, which of course in any quantity, will raise havoc with any internal combustion engine.

As a result, not only do the tanks have to be cleaned of water but they must also be continually monitored, so that when water appears [as it will, inevitably], a stop sale on the product will be instituted.

Additionally, the industry has developed a filter, which should be installed on the fuel dispensers [gas pumps], which will shut off the flow as soon as any contaminated product is detected.

The other, probably more significant issue, is that all gasoline leaves a varnish type residue which is found in virtually every system the product touchs. ETHANOL is a solvent for varnish, so the ethanol additized product is actually stripping the accumulated varnish from the underground storage tanks, piping, gas pumps, car fuel tanks, fuel lines, carbs, injectors, manifolds etc.

With all the above as background, what we are probably experiencing (from runability problems), is some water dilution of the ethanol along with the varnish scrubbing effect which is resulting in rough idling etc.

My guess is that the more ethanol additized product you burn the cleaner your fuel system will become and the quicker your performance issues will resolve.

My advice is to be patient and wait for the new fuels to do their job, BEFORE you start fooling around with fuel mixtures etc.

Hope the above helps.

Ed Ellis

    Eastern Shore, Maryland

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