Ethanol Myths Debunked

Ethanol & Your Car

Regular/Mid-Grade/Premium Fuels (E10)
Nearly all unleaded gasoline in Ohio is an E10 blend (10 percent ethanol and 90 percent unleaded gasoline).

  • All motor vehicles manufactured since the 1970’s can run on E10,
  • Does not require engine modifications,
  • Significantly lowers carbon monoxide levels,
  • Ethanol serves as an oxygenate and antifreeze component when blended with your gasoline,
  • E10 has been approved for use by all small gas engine manufacturers as well as marine engine manufacturers.

Higher Ethanol Blends E15, E20, E30, E40, E85
Each blend is indicated by the percentage of ethanol it contains (i.e. E30 is comprised of 30 percent ethanol and 70 percent gasoline). E15 has been approved by the EPA for use in 2001 or new vehicles. Blends higher than 15 percent ethanol are approved for use in Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) only. These ethanol blends offers consumers with FFV’s another choice at the pump.

More information on higher ethanol blends.

Myths vs Real Story

Myth: Ethanol clogs my carburetor.
The real story:
Ethanol is an effective solvent and can help remove gum and deposits left by years of gasoline use. This is one of the reasons alcohol is often used as an additive in today’s fuel.

Myth: My fuel system is harmed by ethanol.
The real story:
Aromatics in today’s gasoline are generally more aggressive to rubber than those of the 60s and 70s. Extended storage without proper treatment or overuse of certain additives may contribute to deterioration of fuel system components.

Myth: Using ethanol reduces my car’s performance.
The real story:
Ethanol is one of the most economical performance fuels on the market. That is why it is used by every car in NASCAR’s three premier series. Many teams have reported an increase in horsepower and no decrease in mileage when using ethanol-enhanced fuel.

Myth: Ethanol adds water to fuel and causes phase separation.
The real story: Ethanol is anhydrous. E10 fuel cannot absorb enough moisture from the air to cause phase separation (separation into two liquid phases). If water is allowed directly in the tank, phase separation can occur in both straight gasoline and ethanol blends.

Myth: Ethanol reduces the performance of my boat.
The real story: Ethanol provides high octane for exceptional engine performance and reduced emissions. Need proof? The National Boat Racing Association (NBRA) uses E10 exclusively for all their races.

Myth: It is unsafe to use ethanol in my lawn mower/weed eater/small engine.
The real story: 
All small engine manufacturers in the United States approve the use of E10 (10 percent ethanol, 90 percent gasoline) in their equipment.

Myth: Ethanol doesn’t work with two-stroke motors.
The real story: Internal testing must be completed before a manufacturer recommends using a specific fuel blend. Recognizing the fuel’s growing popularity, all small engine manufacturers have long permitted the use of E10. See your manual for more information.

Myth: E10 goes bad in my outdoor power equipment.
The real story: 
Today’s fuel (ethanol enriched or not) has a short shelf life. Many manufacturers recommend storing fuel no longer than 30-60 days unless a stabilizer is used. After this point, gasoline starts producing gums and varnish in your fuel system, possibly harming the engine. Fuel containers should also be sealed to improve longevity.