Archive for March 2011
Recently, I drove by a gas station in Montgomery, Alabama that had a large sign stating “No Ethanol in Our Gas!” I had not seen a gas station advertising ethanol-free gasoline before. Intrigued, I typed in “ethanol-free gasoline” on Google and found the website Pure-Gas.org. At this website, you can find gas stations in your area (if you live in the United States or some parts of Canada) that offer ethanol-free gasoline. You can also download POI and KML files that you can plug into your GPS device, smart phone, or Google Earth that will make it easier for you to find the gas stations.
Pure-Gas.org also has a handy map of the ethanol-free gas stations throughout the United States. This map shows lots of ethanol-free gas stations in the Southeast.
Why might you want to purchase ethanol-free gas? For one, ethanol reduces fuel economy by, at least according to the EPA, about 2-3% with a 10% ethanol blend (E10). Many have criticized these studies as overly optimistic and that fuel economy actually falls by 2 to 7%. Therefore, you will get more miles per gallon by purchasing ethanol-free gas.
Second, ethanol makes gasoline more corrosive, thus causing more harm to your engine over time than if you had just used gasoline. In 2009, for example, Toyota had to recall 214,570 Lexus vehicles because of corrosion caused by ethanol.
Additionally—and this is really significant for individuals with older cars—E15 is coming. The EPA recently decided that it is OK for gas stations to sell gasoline that is contaminated with up to 15% ethanol, which is 5% greater than the current rule of 10%. While the EPA claims that a mixture of 15% ethanol in gasoline is “safe” for car engines, it recognizes that this is only the case for car engines made after 2001. If you have a car made in the year 2000, the EPA admits that you shouldn’t be putting this stuff in your tank. Additionally, even if you have a car that the EPA deems as able to deal with the more-corrosive 15% blend, do you really want to put something in your car that is more corrosive rather than less corrosive?
E15 will also of course reduce fuel economy even more than E10. So when E15 is here, that is even more reason to find gas stations that sell ethanol-free gasoline.
Finally, buy buying ethanol-free gasoline, you avoid supporting the economic and environmental disaster that is the ethanol industry. See this post for more details.
Ethanol-free gas might cost slightly more money at the pump (the ethanol-free gas station in Montgomery is about 10 cents per gallon more expensive than other gas stations). But the reason isn’t because ethanol is cheaper to produce, rather, it’s because ethanol producers get a gigantic subsidy from the federal government. In any event, the increased cost of ethanol-free fuel is offset, and perhaps subsumed by the benefits of avoiding ethanol, primarily better fuel economy and less damage to your engine.