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Personal: Transportation

Ethanol

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Applications

Ethanol in cars

All major car manufacturers warrant their vehicles made since the early 1980's to run on a 10 percent ethanol blend without any engine modification.

Some automakers make flexible-fuel 'high-blend' vehicles that can run on blends of up to 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

High-blend vehicles use an on-board sensor to detect and adjust for the fuel mixture being used at any given time. To handle the high alcohol content of high-blend modifications are needed to an engine's intake valves, fuel-injection system and ignition system. Certain vehicle components must be made of alcohol-resistant materials (zinc, lead, magnesium, aluminum and certain plastics and rubbers that are commonly used in certain vehicles can be broken down by alcohol). For example, flex-fuel vehicles require stainless steel storage tanks and fuel lines. To overcome the problem of lower energy content, manufacturers have equipped high-blend vehicles with larger fuel tanks.

Ethanol in small engines and outboard motors

Before using ethanol blended gasoline in small engines, check with the manufacturer and your warranty. Small engines such as chainsaws and outboard motors are more susceptible to water contamination, and in order to prevent corrosion and performance problems, they should be checked for water and drained if necessary before fuelling with ethanol-blended gasoline.