Ethanol in Utah Gasoline
For the past several weeks, motorists may have noticed small signs at their gas pumps indicating the presence of up to 10% ethanol. This is happening because gasoline suppliers are abiding by provisions of the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA), which mandates that oil refineries blend their gasoline products with up to 10% ethanol. This is a federal act. Utah is not mandating the use of ethanol in its gasoline. We are uncertain whether some gas stations may continue to offer ethanol-free fuels.
Under Utah law, any station that sells gasoline blended with ethanol, MUST post signs indicating its presence. Our department continues to monitor the presence of ethanol in fuels and to assure correct signage is in place at the pump. In addition to testing for ethanol, the UDAF tests for correct octane levels, water in underground storage tanks, and dispensing pump accuracy.
There are varying opinions regarding ethanol’s benefits. According to literature, ethanol offers reduced engine heat and increased octane as well as producing lower carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions, and the same or lower levels of hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions. http://environment.about.com/od/ethanolfaq/f/ethanol_benefit.htm
But other sources report that a 10% ethanol mixture in gasoline reduces vehicle MPG by about 3%, and that ethanol acts like a solvent in vehicle fuel tanks, dislodging or cleansing away particles that could clog fuel filters and affect performance. The amount of this "cleansing" depends on the age of your vehicle. New models are made with materials designed to resist the affects of ethanol. http://www.ehow.com/facts_6008467_effect-ethanol-cars.html
Our advice is to contact your vehicle dealer or mechanic to inquire about possible mechanical problems associated with ethanol.
Information for Utah boat and RV owners
Boats build before the mid-1980’s may be at risk for mechanical problems. Before gasoline with ethanol is introduced to your fuel tank, ask your boat/RV dealer if any special precautions should be considered. Check for the presence of water in the fuel tank. Remove all water and dry the tank completely. As a precaution, carry extra filters in case filter plugging becomes a problem during boating. Consider a fuel additive during periods of extended storage.
Other information about this topic is available at: EPA http://www.epa.gov/smartway/growandgo/documents/0factsheet-e85.htm
Posted May 19, 2010