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Ethanol blending/inclusion

With the recent increase in US gasoline prices and the reportedly growing stocks of ethanol, is there a rule against the oil co.'s blending ethanol into their product without telling consumers? Is there an easy test of gasoline products to check for any inclusion? Looks like an easy profit for any company to buy ethanol at less than gasoline market price and "extend" there retail product. one would ever misrepresent a product. Keep grindin!

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2 Replies
Senior Advisor

Re: Ethanol blending/inclusion

There is an easy test for the presence of ethanol in gasoline.  You can use any number of procedures, but this one uses a quart jar or something similar.

Ethanol mixes with gasoline but would rather mix with water. 

Make a mark up a couple of inches from the bottom.  Pour water in to the mark.  Fill the jar most of the way with gasoline and put a cap on it.  Shake the jar so it mixes up well.  Let it set.   If there is ethanol in the gasoline, it will leave the gasoline and join with the water, making the water look higher than the mark.  If there is no ethanol the gasoline, obviously the water line witl be the same as when you started.

There are also dyes that can give an indication.

Here is a link to a somewhat sophistaced way to test. 

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Ethanol blending/inclusion

You can also pour off the gasoline, and see if the 'water' at the bottom burns!  I don't doubt that as long as ethanol is cheaper than gas, they will blend in the maximum allowable, to still be able to call it 'unleaded', just the same as the grain companies will blend in the maximum amount of FM to corn, to still get it to grade #2.


We had a blender pump open up near us, and I think it is one of the best things for the neighborhood.  I have been experimenting, and found that running e-20 on my old 1986 pickup with a carb gives me the best mileage.  Power may be down just a hair, but I don't tow with it, so I go with what gives me the bes MPGs (plus it is cheaper per gallon than straight gas).  I run e-10 in the dead of winter, because it starts better in extreme cold than the e-20.  Willl find out this summer if the e-20 will have problems in the summer heat.  It should on this old rig, if it will in anything, as it is black.

Ethanol is less 'runny' than gasoline, so anything with a carb will burn less of an ethanol blend, than straight gas at any given throttle position.  The problem is that too much ethanol will thicken it to the point it may lean out the mix to where it won't run properly.

We have a flex-fuel viechle, and it gets the highest MPG with e-30, and no starting issues other than perhaps 1-2 seconds longer cranking when it is below zero.

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