the Ethanol Blues
gas (10 percent ethanol today, 15 percent soon) isnt
fuel economy noticeably (because theres less energy in a gallon
of 90 percent gas plus 10 percent ethanol than there is in a gallon
of 100 percent gas).
It makes food
especially meat more expensive (because not-far-from-half
the corn crop is currently diverted to ethanol production, not livestock
politically powerful agribusiness cartels not the American
farmer (not that the American farmer has any more right than
an agribusiness cartel to force others to buy his product).
It can also
cause problems in older (and especially occasional use) vehicles
and power equipment not originally designed to withstand high alcohol-content
The main worries
are: the alcohol eating away at rubber and plastic parts not made
to deal with alcohol-rich fuels and corrosion (from water
accumulation courtesy of the alcohol in the fuel) eating away at
the insides of metal parts such as metal gas tanks and fuel lines.
Both of these worries are more likely to become actualities if the
vehicle car, bike, lawn mower is left unused for extended
periods of time, in particular because of the increased likelihood
of moisture accumulation within the fuel system and also because
E10 (thats what gas is nowadays) doesnt
have as long a shelf-life as 100 percent gas. It goes bad sooner
leaving you with problems.
is the first thing you can do to avoid the ethanol blues. Run whatever
it is for at least half an hour at least once a month. This will
keep fresh fuel (or at least, fresher fuel) in the carburetor
which will mean less moisture in the carburetor. If its
an old bike, turn the fuel tap to off just before you shut down
the engine and let it run until the carbs are empty. Do the same
with lawnmowers and so on that also have on-off fuel taps (and if
yours doesnt have an on-off fuel tap, consider installing
one). This helps avoid problems associated with gummed-up carburetors
caused by the fuel sitting in the bowls dissolving rubber seals
and so on and corrosion caused by water in the fuel.
Also try to
top off the tank when youre done. A full tank is less prone
to moisture forming inside from condensation/heat cycling
and the new fuel will help freshen up the old fuel thats still
in the tank.
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Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2012 Eric Peters
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