EPA emissions requirements and Ethanol fuel. How much of your equipment is ruined?

Discussion in 'Alternative Fuel Forum' started by JDiepstra, Aug 19, 2011.

  1. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    Gasoline with ethanol isn't and wasn't implemented to be "green". It was a feel good move by the government to make people think we are doing something about foreign oil dependence which it actually does little for. You get less mileage from ethanol fuel than straight gas. E-85 has been shown to be damaging to flex-fuel vehicles which are actually designed to run on 85% ethanol blend. The government provides a subsidy for corn producers from which ethanol is made and that has had the effect of driving up the prices of other corn products like corn flakes.

    So in reality ethanol is just another goverment intrusion that benefits a special interest group at the expense of everybody else.
  2. jvanvliet

    jvanvliet LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,944

    Great link; found pure gas right around the corner! :clapping:

    Am having the same problems as everybody else. I think using mid grade & Lucas helped us a little bit, but it's hard to tell.

    Also, with so many "ethanol" additives on the market, how do you make a decision on which one? Does anybody rate them, like Consumers Report?
  3. victorpide05

    victorpide05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    I haven't had any problems with fuel in my equipment whether it is line trimmers blowers or my bad boy zero turn. I we reading some of the earlier posts and i am just a little unsure as to what is really going on here. Apparently there is a higher quality fuel provider? which companies would those be?
    Also i maybe reading this wrong but some of the posts talk about using the low grade fuel 87 octane compared to the mid grade 89 or high grade 93 levels of octane. The difference in the fuels is actually opposite of most of the arguments presented. The Higher levels of fuel contain more ethanol than the low grade.
    Certain engines (mainly air cooled engines) can create hot spots and cause the fuel to ignite prematurely or detonate or knock. The way they changed that a long time ago was to put additives in the fuels typically ethanol. Ethanol Changes the volatility of the gas. With ethanol it takes more pressure to make the fuel detonate, therefore ensuring that it doesn't knock or tear up your engine. Unless you are running a diesel engine you want the fuel as controlled as possible so that your spark plug is what ignites the fuel. you do not want your engine detonating while the piston has not yet reached the top of its stroke, because if it does, it will try to push that piston back down the wrong way and cause serious problems to your engines.
    Although I read the other posts or primer bubbles and gas lines corroding and have not yet had that happen, those are sooo cheap to replace i would much rather replace a primer bubble than the engine.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  4. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    Absolutely not true. The amount of ethanol has nothing to do with the octane and it's not an anti-knock additive like lead was. Its required by law to be no more than 10% for any E10 fuel and is simply thrown in the tank truck at the fuel terminal to be mixed with the gasoline as it all slosshes around on route to the gas station. The only reason it's added is because the government wants the dumb ass public to think we are doing something about foreign oil while they subsidize corn producers. They couldn't give a s*** if it damages our equipment and vehicles. This is purely political and has no benefit other than a negative one.
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2011
  5. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    Sorry about being political but there are some people out there who don't know why ethanol is put in gasoline. Unfortunately there is no answer other than politicians.

    There is a thread similar to this over at a Ford F-150 forum where somebody asked about using E85 (85% ethanol). Once again the government required all manufacturers to produce gasoline powered vehicles that will run on E85 (Flex Fuel). But if you read the owners manual Ford cautions about higher maintenance (more frequent oil changes) and not running on E85 all the time. That should send up red flags right there. What it looks like to me is that they did the best they could to comply but it's at the expense of higher maintenance and shorter engine life. I think if they could legally get away with it they would just say that in the manual but you have to read between the lines to come to that conclusion.
  6. victorpide05

    victorpide05 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    Octane rating does not relate to the energy content of the fuel (see heating value). It is only a measure of the fuel's tendency to burn in a controlled manner, rather than exploding in an uncontrolled manner. Where the octane number is raised by blending in ethanol, energy content per volume is reduced.

    or this article showing the reasons WHAT ethanol does for octane rating. Now if you want to say that it is the government giving subsidies to someone your probably right. could they use a different additive to the fuel to achieve the same thing? yes! there are many other candidates on the list in the Wikipedia article. But that's a different arguement in my opinion. I hate the government in my business too but the only way to change that is move or vote.

    Why is ethanol an effective octane booster?

    The octane number written on the gas pump is Anti-Knock Index (AKI). It’s an average of two octane ratings using the same test equipment but using different operating conditions. The methods produce a Research Octane number (RON) and a Motor Octane Number (MON). Both were once considered important and that’s why AKI is an average of the two. With modern engines and fuels systems, recent studies have shown that RON is more important than MON. So in these cars, the higher the RON the better these cars perform. For an AKI rating of 91 the lower the MON the higher the RON. This difference is called sensitivity. All gasoline components have different sensitivity. Most hydrocarbon components have low sensitivity. Ethanol has high sensitivity and so, modern performance cars benefit from gasolines with ethanol. Why does ethanol have higher sensitivity? One reason is related to the cooler combustion that results from ethanol combustion. Higher knock tendency is directly related to higher combustion temperature.
    Here is a comparison of two fuels with different octane with and without ethanol.

    91 Grade - no ethanol
    RON 97.2
    MON 85.6
    Ultra 94 - with ethanol
    RON 101.5
    MON 88

    Notice the difference in RON number from 91 grade without ethanol (97.2) and the RON of Ultra 94 (101.5). The difference is 4.3 numbers. That is significantly more than the 3 numbers difference between 94 and 91 AKI labelled on the pump. That is why gasoline with ethanol can be the best performance fuel for today's cars.
  7. CL&T

    CL&T LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 493

    That's comparing apples to oranges. I want to see straight 91 grade without ethanol compared to the same gasoline now with 10% ethanol added. I agree that the RON is going to increase but with 10% it's going to be slight. Matter of fact I don't even think the R+M/2 number on the pump even takes into account the added ethanol especially since it's added after the fact. Further, the intention for adding ethanol is not to boost octane, but to tell the public we have reduced our gasoline consumption by 10% with something produced in this country. Unfortunately in reality it doesn't work that way because of poorer mileage.

    Here is what Ford has to say about E85 and remember that this is 85% ethanol and only 15% gasoline:

    Want to add power to Ford's all-new 5.0-liter V-8 for the 2011 F-150 without making a single hardware or software change? Just burn E85 ethanol fuel.

    360 horsepower (at 5,500 rpm) and 380 pounds-feet of torque (at 4,250 rpm) running on regular unleaded gasoline.

    Burning E85 fuel boosts 5.0 engine power to 375 hp and 390 pounds-feet of torque, said Mike Harrison, Ford's program manager for V-8 engines.

    Ethanol has a higher octane and heat-of-vaporization point than gasoline, meaning it combusts at a higher temperature and with greater force (higher compression) than gasoline, while also having a greater capacity to cool the fuel/air mix in the cylinder before combustion.

    This inherent efficiency is what enables the 5.0 to produce more power while burning E85 instead of regular unleaded fuel.

    There's a trade-off, though. Even though E85 combusts with greater force, it has less energy per gallon than regular unleaded gasoline, so fuel economy is worse when burning E85.

    There's the reason straight ethanol is used as a racing fuel but at 10% in an engine designed for gasoline the benefit is less than zero.
  8. Boit4852

    Boit4852 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 2

    GG: You hit a grand slam with your questioning how green is it to have to toss equipment into a landfill because ethanol is ruining our tools. Also, what sense does it make to turn food into fuel when the population is increasing throughout the world? Was it Tunisia where the riots started last year due to spiking corn prices due to ethanol use as a fuel and then expanding into the so-called 'Arab spring'? The feds now want to increase the ethanol content in gasoline up to a point where it will have a seriously detrimental effect on ALL internal combustion engines, whether older or currently produced. BMW and M/Bz have already voiced their protests about this development. I betcha the feds don't give a damn about that. In the meantime, I have to add Startron or Sta-bil(ethanol fixer) to my fuel. It absolutely infuriates me that our politicians are sooooo stupid and get paid so highly for being stupid. Look at CFL light bulbs that are being touted as 'green' and yet, they have MERCURY in them. P.S., hey barney frank, please wear a bra! ( No caps for barney due to personal contempt.):rolleyes:
  9. Fox Landscape Services

    Fox Landscape Services LawnSite Member
    Messages: 77

    I only use pure gas and have been for quite a while. Ethanol blended gas messed up every small engine I had. Hopefully, these stations will be able to continue to sell pure gas without the government stepping in.
  10. whoopassonthebluegrass

    whoopassonthebluegrass LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,305

    Ethanol is the only option available here now.

    Bought a new Stihl trimmer back in May. By August, the primer bulb had already hardened, cracked, and failed.

    I never get more than 2 years out of any handheld anymore. And, quite frankly, that 2nd year is often problematic.

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