Skip to comments.Automakers continue to quietly void warranties if you use E-15 gas
Posted on 02/01/2014 7:34:04 AM PST by SeekAndFind
It seems to be a growing trend that motorists are shopping around for gas stations which offer ethanol free gas, even if they have to pay a bit more per gallon to get it. Distributors are noticing, and more and more stations are featuring this option. (You can find a list of such stations near you here.) I noticed this myself during a recent trip in New York, and now it’s showing up further south as well.
Arthur Wyckoff III has sworn off alcohol in his gasoline.
“I make it a point, before I get real low, to make it to a gas station that has 100 percent gas,” the Chickamauga, Ga., man said Thursday morning as he fueled his Toyota Corolla at the Sav-A-Ton on LaFayette Road in Fort Oglethorpe.
The gas station is one of a number in the Chattanooga area that advertise gas free of ethanol. The grain alcohol additive — usually derived from corn — makes up 10 percent of almost all gasoline sold at the pump around the United States.
“The ethanol, it just messes up your engine,” Wyckoff said.
The repeating theme among customers is repeated here. Drivers have become more and more aware that not only is the higher corn gas bad for engine components, it actually costs you money by cutting down on your mileage.
Pure gas means better mpg
There doesn’t seem to be any dispute that pure gasoline delivers better mileage than gas that’s part ethanol.
Mileage suffers by 3 to 4 percent using E10, or gas that’s up to 10 percent ethanol, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Transportation and Air Quality.
But one factor which some auto shoppers may not be aware of is that the industry is aware of these dangers and they aren’t going to honor warranties on vehicles guzzling the latest 15% ethanol blend unless you’ve got a brand new car or one that is specifically rated as a “flex fuel vehicle.”
AAA and a number of automakers came out swinging against E15, warning that the extra ethanol could corrode plastic, rubber and metal parts in cars not built to handle it.
Five manufacturers — BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota and Volkswagen — stated their warranties will not cover E15 claims, the automobile association warned. And eight others — GM, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo — said that E15 may void warranties.
“Research to date raises serious concerns that E15 … could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false ‘check engine’ lights,” AAA stated. “The potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers. This is especially tough for most motorists given that only about 40 percent of Americans have enough in savings to afford a major auto repair.”
We already knew that high levels of ethanol will destroy boat engines and some smaller engines such as those in your lawnmower. But Consumer Reports confirmed back in 2011 that buyer beware. Auto makers won’t pay for damage caused by E-15.
The new orange label displays “E15″ in large type and states that the fuel is for use only in 2001 or newer model-year vehicles or flex-fuel vehicles, and that it is illegal to use it in other vehicles or in power equipment such as lawnmowers.
In response to the release of the labels, nine automakersincluding Chrysler, General Motors, and Toyotawasted no time writing letters to Congress criticizing the proposal and noting that they will not honor warranties for older cars running on E15. The automakers say they are concerned about the effects of E15 on engines, fuel pumps, and other fuel-system components in cars that were not designed for it. (Learn more about ethanol: “The great ethanol debate.”)
In January, the EPA approved the use of E15 in all cars from the 2001 model year on. The only cars that would be warranted for use of the new fuel are flex-fuel vehicles, which are designed to use concentrations of ethanol up to 85 percent (E85).
Keep in mind that you’re paying for this though your tax dollars because of subsidies which continue to keep the “renewable fuels” push not only afloat, but mandatory in most cases. And in exchange for your big hearted investment, unless you do your research, you can see your boat engine, your lawnmower and even your family car producing expensive repair bills. And unless your car is one of the new ones which “qualifies” by way of design, your warranty may be void.
For now – thanks to Uncle Sugar – ethanol free gas is going to cost a bit more at the pump. But the EPA shows no signs of relenting, and until the President who put the current policymakers in place is out of office there’s no relief in sight. It may be worth the extra investment to put real gas in your tank just to avoid the downstream costs later.
Adding alcohol to gasoline dilutes the fuel, and lowers the heat energy.
One US gallon of Gasoline (regular unleaded) = 114,100 BTU/gal
One US gallon of Ethanol (E100) = 76,100 BTU/gal [67% of gasoline BTU]
One US gallon of 10% Ethanol/Gasoline Blend (E10) = 111,300 BTU/gal [97% of gasoline BTU]
Adding 10% ethanol to gasoline requires burning 3% more fuel to accomplish the same task.
Ethanol blended gasoline requires buying more gallons of fuel in order to travel the same distance.
Why do state and federal governments really like ethanol blended fuels?
Highway fuels are taxed “by the gallon”, so governments collect more taxes with blended fuels.
Mandating the use of ethanol blended fuel is a disguise for a hike in gasoline taxes.
I’d like to catch the person or persons responsible for my having to put up with ethanol in my gas and beat the holy hell out of them.
My new car has a warning on the gas cap.
ethanol needs to go the way of MTBE!
The ethanol in gasoline will also absorb water whereas gasoline always separates itself from it.
Good old Dan Rostenkowski.
Ethanol-free gas stations in the U.S. and Canada
There are major parts of the country where there is no ethanol-free gasoline. The nearest may be hours and hundreds of miles away.
Once again Washington passes laws demanding something be invented or discovered and screams or sues or worse when it does not come through on schedule. /FACT
There are a few government mandated requirements that have forced auto manufacturers to disavow their use in warrantees. TPMS sensors are one.
The EPA is full of it if they claim that 2001 and newer cars can “safely” use E-15. Read your owners manual and you will find that anything more than 10% ethanol gasoline blends will invalidate your warranty. I avoid ethanol gas where I can, but in states like Minnesota all of the gasoline except a high octane blend for marine engines contains at least 10% ethanol and is not labeled. In South Dakota, where corn ethanol is almost a religion, the state fleet has stopped using E-85 in its flex fuel vehicles after determining that it costs 13-percent more than the regular gas despite the heavily subsidized E-85 averaging more than 20 cents less per gallon.
It's not just the EPA. It's also the farm lobby.
I know when the local gas supply switches from the “summer” blend to the “winter” blend my mileage drops immediately from 21 mpg to 19 mpg.
In the Spring, when the “summer” blend returns, so does my mileage.
The government, purportedly, wants automobiles to get better gas mileage but by mandating gasoline containing 10% ethanol, cars get 3% less gas mileage while increasing the chance of damaging the engine.
Precisely. Welfare for farmers, nothing more.
I’m guessing there is some “crony capitalism” for the processors too.
Thank Ethanol on Presidential candidates (both parties) who sell their souls at the Iowa Caucuses.
And a lot of that ‘ethanol-free’ gas does, in fact, contain ethanol, in small amounts as an oxygenate at if not up to 10%. But a lot of people are convinced by advertising or mere assertions.
I hate the ethanol gas. Had a VW Rabbit in the late 70s. Filled it ONCE with that crap and it never ran right again.
Why? MONSANTO. That’s why.
Yes it is, in effect, but I don't give the Congresscritters credit for having enough brains to deduce that in advance.
Interesting, as 2 mpg is the difference I have seen between $3.10/gal 87 octane and $2.49/gal *E85* in both a flex-fuel Chrysler minivan and a flex-fuel Chevy Suburban on trips long enough to go through whole tanks of gas at a time.
When all he internal combustion engines stop running, I guess we will finally get that clean air.
But ... as we go to horses, their flatulence is explosive, like that recent cow explosion.
“There are a few government mandated requirements that have forced auto manufacturers to disavow their use in warrantees. TPMS sensors are one.”
Why would tire pressure monitoring systems be a problem? Seems like it would be a good idea.
They shouldn't have to pay more to get it. Ethanol costs more than gasoline.
Those folks in the hood be hooking up the fuel pump to their tire valve? WTF?
There’s only one thing though: going back to 100% gasoline won’t improve the fuel economy of a 2010 model year or newer car. That’s because the engines are nowadays tuned with 10% ethanol gasoline in mind, and as such going back to 100% won’t really improve performance or fuel economy.
This certainly doesn’t confirm that statement:
wholesale gasoline 2.59/gal
wholesale ethanol 1.89/gal
This begs the question: Why does the GOP allow a Dem state like Iowa be the first to select their Presidential candidate?
I doubt there is wholesale gasoline selling under the current $2.00-$2.20/gal wholesale ethanol price.
It is hard to determine the lower IQ workers...those in climate research or those in the EPA.
Of course, they both exist due to the lowest IQ group in the world: congress critters...led by the Cretin-in-Chief.
If your gas engine weed wacker, lawnmower, snow blower, chainsaw, boat motor, generator ... is more than 3 years old, these will be harmed by ethanol blend gas. More wear, garb gunk and rubber gas lines rot. These small engines were not designed for ethanol gas and even newer ones which have card & resistant gas lines will show more wear than with pure gas.
I’ve had to replace gas lines on my older small engine sand bought a new carb for my older snow blower. The repairs were kind of hard as the designs are not repair friendly—our throw away consumer goods. My source for pure gas is 50 miles away, thanks to the EPA.
Because no presidential candidate is selected in the Iowa caucuses. It’s just routine party business and the preliminary steps of a lengthy process to eventually choose national convention delegates.
All the hype is over a completely non-binding and fairly casual straw poll.
Actually you are incorrect.
The EPA emissions and mileage testing is run with non-ethanol fuel.
E-10 ruined 2 chainsaws and 3 string trimmers for me now I have to use that high dollar canned fuel from the hardware store to do the yard.
GARB / CARD = CARB [carburator]
GARB / CARD = CARB [carburator]
I always try to buy pure gas, and I notice a significant drop in mileage when I use ethanol. That said, I sometimes wonder if I’m actually getting what I pay for, because the pure gas can cost significantly more, like $0.30 per gallon or more. I watch my mileage, have a pretty consistent driving pattern (to/from work), and sometimes notice the “pure gas” mileage drops for no apparent reason to what I get with known ethanol fill ups. If there was some sort of inexpensive kit that could instantly test for alcohol content in my fuel, I’d probably use it occasionally.
On pure highway driving (long trip, using the full tank), I get about 38 MPG on pure gas. My mileage drops closer to 36 MPG on ethanol. It’s a noticeable decline and seems to be more than energy density calculations would otherwise indicate. I wonder if anyone else has seen similar drops in performance when they use ethanol.
TPMS are crap. They break and then are expensive to replace. If someone can’t check their own tire pressure, they shouldn’t be driving.
that would be me...
In CA, your car will not pass the SMOG test if the check engine light is on. They won't even test it.
Head to the local airport and get some 100LL.
Never had any sensor failures related to ethanol. I think O2 sensors are just made in bad and good runs. I owned one Chrysler, built in 1984, that went through a O2 sensor, every 40K. The car was programmed to run rich, it was a 2.2L Turbo Series I. 97 and onward none of my new cars have suffered failures in the O2 sensor dept. (knock on wood).
I concur though on the carb rebuild issue. In some cases, I have torn the carbs down and cleaned them, to find aluminum parts slowly being corroded by the alcohol/fuel combo. Jets clog, floats stick, and I have even seen fuel lines dissolved to the point that you touch them, and they disintegrate.
Cleaning a carb once in a while is not so bad... but it gets old once you have to do it 2 times a season.
Another poster said that some fuels may have ethanol, which are “ethanol free”. This is possible, I guess, I don’t know the industry, but I can tell you a gallon of that stuff with no stabilizer, sitting in a 1 gallon can, outdoors for a year, will crank a engine. E10 will not. Once the alcohol evaps, what is left will not burn... not sure if it is because of all the water left behind, or damage to the gasoline itself.
There are kits, or, if one is careful, it can be DIY.
Clarification: “what is left will not burn”
what is left will not burn in a gasoline internal combustion engine.
Tire Pressure Monitor Sensors (TPMS) are a real pain.
“When I stopped using E-10 gasoline and switched to 100% Gasoline, the mileage on my pickup went from 18.5 mpg to 20.5 mpg an 11% increase in mileage.”
Mathematically, ethanol shouldn’t drop mileage that much, but that’s my experience, too. Driving the same route to/from work, I drop a couple MPG on ethanol. On gasoline, I can drive for two weeks (10 days/same trip) on a tank. On ethanol, I have to fill up on the 10th work day.