The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Ethanol free scam?

combating the effects of ethanol "enhanced" fuel with Stabil additive

I recently posted about a new source of Ethanol free fuel at a nearby Kwik-Way station that has me wondering if it was really Ethanol free. My only evidence is a bit of sputtering and a few back-fires from the ATV.

The new plan is to use Sta-Bil in fuel that sits in the tank for longer than a week.

A friend of mine suggested that some stations advertise Ethanol free fuel just to bring in people like me. He claims it all comes from the same place in Knoxville no matter what company name is on the side of the tanker.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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You can test if gasoline contains ethanol with the water extraction method (the water extracts the ethanol from the gasoline).

Comment by Roland_Smith Tue Jul 23 18:16:48 2013

We've been using 10% EtOH mix here in IL since the early 70s: I've never had a problem with it in any engine from my lawn mower to a Lamborghini.

Stabil absorbs moisture and it turns into a gooey mess that is more trouble than the moisture would have been by itself. Beware. If you insist moisture is a problem for you, then either drain the tank when the engine is not in use, or, just keep it full so moisture doesn't condense on the inside of the cool, air exposed tank walls.

It's been known for decades that gas mileage is greatly improved and engine carbon deposits can be eliminated by burning a fuel/air/water droplet mix. (The source of that "100mpg carburetor" that BigOIl has supposedly kept off the market all these years myth.) The only drawback is that the blow-by of the water fouls the oil, leading to premature engine wear. Oh well. Back to the drawing boards.

Comment by doc Tue Jul 23 18:45:34 2013
I always thought it was odd that you mentioned from time to time you can get ethanol free gas so easily. There are no stations anywhere within 40 miles of me nor the many marina's in the area have no ethanol free gas. I am most surprised at the marina's not having any at all. I've found few things that help. I run the highest normal octane I can get usually 93, keep the tanks topped off, and use stabil if I know I'm not using it for more than a couple weeks.
Comment by Marco Tue Jul 23 20:43:49 2013
I thought the green one was for ethanol? I've been told by many that Seafoam is the best stabilizer on the market.
Comment by CJ Tue Jul 23 23:40:42 2013

@doc: water injection is an old idea. Although in practice the fluid is usually a mixture of water, methanol (antifreeze/anti-knock) and a little bit of oil to prevent corrosion. In the era of high-power aircraft piston engines it was often used to temporarily give a significant power boost. At a guess I'd say that the extra complexity (and thus cost) involved in building these engines, as well as the extra logistics (another tank to fill), has prevented it from becoming popular in mainstream use.

For petrolheads, here's an interesting story how to take a 1700 HP Rolls-Royce Merlin to 3800 HP.

Comment by Roland_Smith Wed Jul 24 08:20:25 2013
My dad used to say the exact same thing about the gas here in Bristol, that it all came from a storage facility in Knoxville. Homogonized gas? Lol!
Comment by Rhapsosy98 Wed Jul 24 08:32:41 2013

You might try asking the local repair shops where/if there are any places to buy ethanol free gasoline. We had to go to another town for parts for a riding mower and the repair staff were able to point us in the right direction. They were also able to tell us which ethanol free station was better for the money.

Storage tanks do develop leaks that allow water/moisture in without leaking fuel out. If your entire area (town) also has high water tables it is entirely possible that the tank is allowing moisture in - esp. as ethanol attracts water molecules. Our repair man had his own theories about which gas station owners had bad tanks based talking to the owners of the machines he repaired or sold parts to. You might also check with the state to see if there have been any complaints against the local stations about false advertising.

Comment by Stephanie in AR Wed Jul 24 10:32:01 2013

I remembered doing a test for alcohol in your gasoline during an Agriculture class in college. If you take a volume of suspect gasoline (90 ml) and mix in a known quantity of water (10ml), the water will combine with any alcohol. For example, if it is pure gasoline, you would see 10ml of water settle to the bottom. If you have more than 10ml of water settle to the bottom, that shows you how much alcohol was in the gasoline. For example, if you see 18ml, that means you had your 10ml of water plus 8ml of alcohol that combined with your water.

Here is a good link with photos to demonstrate:

Comment by David from Alabama Wed Jul 24 17:58:19 2013

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