Mechanics Corner: Bioethanol: The Best and Most Affordable Fuel

This past summer, fuel in America sustained high price points for a long enough time that motorists did everything they could to save money. Although prices have leveled off slightly, the most obvious option to continue saving money at the pump is to choose the fuel with the lowest price: bioethanol, which saved consumers in our area as much as fifty cents per gallon over non-ethanol fuel in the midst of the long-term price spike.

Since then, we've continued to see an uptick in bioethanol use by our own customers, who have been calling us to ask what bioethanol blends they can use in their vehicles.

We are more than happy to educate them that E15 is certified for use in all 2001 and newer vehicles. When asked about higher blends like E30, we inform them that we use higher blends in all our cars requiring premium fuel — and a lot of times use it in the ones that don’t as well. In addition to saving money, we’ve seen performance gains thanks to the higher octane. And while we can’t tell our customers they should use E30 in a non-Flex Fuel car from an EPA certification standpoint, many of them are reporting mileage gains when they do.

With the increased use of biofuel, we have yet to see any problems that relate directly to bioethanol. We have had three customers who filled their non-Flex Fuel tanks with E85. While they did have the “check engine” light come on, only one of them experienced slightly decreased performance. We told them all to drive the car until the tank was about three-quarters empty, then fill it with non-bioethanol gasoline. In each case, the light went off, and the engine ran perfectly. No damage was done to any vehicle.

These results have been the same throughout the history of our shop. We have not seen any damage caused by using bioethanol. The same can be said for our auto recycling business, which takes in hundreds of vehicles yearly, with none coming to us due to bioethanol damage.

Bioethanol keeps the engines we service cleaner and helps them achieve peak performance when the optimum octane level required is met by using bioethanol.

One of our cars is a performance Chevy Camaro. It runs well with 91-octane gasoline but runs even better with E30 due to the higher octane. This allows the computer to do its job and optimize spark and fuel. This car will achieve 23 MPG with E30 as opposed to 21 MPG with non-bioethanol fuel — in addition to the bonus of huge cost savings. It has driven on E30 for over 50k miles with absolutely no issues.

You heard it here, from experienced mechanics who have used the fuel ourselves for many years: clean, American-made bioethanol helps cars run their best and saves you money. If you haven’t made the switch yet, what are you waiting for?

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