The Pros and Cons of Non-Ethanol Gas
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How much do you know about ethanol and non-ethanol gasoline? At Marc Nelson Oil Products, we sell both types of gas. Throughout the years that we have sold non-ethanol and ethanol-based gas, there have been many debates about the benefits and downsides of non-ethanol gas. In this article, we’ll go over the top considerations you should keep in mind if you plan on switching to ethanol-free gas or if you are wondering if you should still use it.
Most of the gasoline you will find in the Portland-metro area and across the country has around 10% ethanol in it. Ethanol is likely a term you have heard, even though you may not be very familiar with what it is. Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel that is distilled from plant materials, namely sugar and corn. It is biodegradable, dissolvable in water, and non-toxic.
Ethanol is used as an additive in gasoline to help oxygenate the gas, causing the fuel to burn completely. Thus, ethanol-infused gases produce cleaner emissions, leading to better air quality. To help combat harmful emissions given off by vehicles, the Department of Energy has even called for gasoline suppliers to produce products made with 15% ethanol, rather than just 10%. You may see these mixtures referred to as E10 and E15.
Ethanol-free gas, or pure oil, is a type of fuel that can be used instead of ethanol-mixed gases. Most vehicles run just fine on a 10% mix of ethanol in their gasoline. However, some vehicle drivers are switching to ethanol-free gas for a variety of reasons, while others are shying away from it. There are benefits and downsides to using non-ethanol gas that you should be aware of. Read on to discover the pros and cons of non-ethanol gas and decide for yourself whether or not it is worth it to switch over to non-ethanol gas.
Benefits of Non-Ethanol Gas
Less Dependence on Ethanol Crops
Since ethanol is made from agricultural products like corn, corn crop prices are affected by the production of ethanol. The more drivers there are that rely on ethanol-based fuel, the more the corn industry must produce. Using non-ethanol gas takes the pressure off of the corn industry and allows us to be less dependent on crop production for fuel.
Pure gas gives drivers better mileage. This is because gas mixtures like E10 and E15 have less free energy due to the added ethanol. According to Mike McCarthy, a Senior Energy Researcher for Toyota, and Ford spokesman Paul Seredynski, regular and premium gases can reduce your gas mileage by up to three percent. Even if three percent may seem small, it can add up in the long run. Compared to regular and premium gas mixtures, non-ethanol gas is better for your overall mileage.
Less Harm to the Engine
Ethanol and gasoline mixtures like E10 and E15 can negatively impact your engine, especially if you drive an older model car that isn’t equipped to run on ethanol-mixed fuels. Some drivers have reported a breakdown of rubber seals for certain parts. Others may notice an increase in their vapor pressure, which can lead to vapor lock in the car’s carburetor. Additionally, ethanol attracts water. This can lead to rust on the interior parts or the car engine.
Longer Shelf Life
Compared to traditional gas blends like E10 that have 10% ethanol, non-ethanol gas lasts much longer. If stored properly, ethanol-free gas can last up to six months. It is not as likely to succumb to oxidation or evaporation. E10 gas has a three-month shelf life maximum. This makes ethanol-free gas ideal for storage compared to E10.
Better Fuel for Lawn Mowers and Outdoor Power Equipment
Ethanol-based gasoline can damage lawnmowers, chainsaws, trimmers, and other similar tools. Especially with the introduction of E15 becoming more popular, outdoor equipment owners need to make sure that their gas does not contain any ethanol, or at least no more than 10%. Too much ethanol in these tools can cause corrosion and damage from overheating. Small-engine equipment is not designed to handle high ethanol-based gasoline. For example, E15 burns much hotter than E10 and may cause small engines to overheat. Most outdoor power tools will come with warnings that let purchasers know that no more than 10% ethanol gas blends should be used.
Downsides of Non-Ethanol Gas
More Harmful Emissions are Given Off
Even though there are some advantages of ethanol-free gas, especially for individual drivers, non-ethanol gas is said to be more harmful to the environment. Pure oil emissions contribute to air pollution and global warming. This is one of the main reasons why ethanol is mixed with gasoline. Mixed gasoline and other alternative fuels are increasing in popularity as concerns of global warming become more widespread.
We Become More Dependent on Other Countries for Oil
As our country becomes ever more dependent on oil, we have increasingly relied on gas imports from other countries. The use of ethanol-free gas makes us more fuel-dependent overall. This dependence inevitably leads to increased gas prices.
Difficult to Find in Certain Areas
Ethanol-free gas is not as easy to find as E10 or E15. Most gas stations will make it a priority to have ethanol-based gasoline. Those that decide to switch to non-ethanol gas may have to go out of there way to find it. A lack of availability and the possible inconvenience is why many drivers find it challenging to commit to using ethanol-free gas.
Costs More than Regular Gasoline
Non-ethanol gas can range anywhere from 10 to 15 extra cents per gallon compared to regular gasoline. This additional cost per gallon can add up quickly for drivers. If you use ethanol-free gas, you will need to consider whether the gas mileage you gain from using it outweighs the initial costs.
The Debate Surrounding Non-Ethanol Gas
Ethanol-based gas has been mandated by Congress in the United States since the Clean Air Act was passed in 1990. Then, in 2005, the Renewable Fuel Standard passed and created minimum standards for the use of renewable fuels. Now, over 13 billion gallons of ethanol is mixed with gasoline supply in the United States every year.
In addition to increased use over the past several decades, ethanol is one of the top exports in the United States. Nearly 30 million barrels of ethanol were exported out of the country in 2011 alone, with about 20 million barrels being exported consistently per year since 2014. Overall, our economy relies on ethanol exports for nearly $5 billion to the economy and over 47,000 jobs for citizens.
At one point in time, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed a ban on the sale of E15 during the summer months. This ban was lifted in 2019, as it was found that it would help both consumers and the economy. Since the ban was lifted, states like Indiana have seen improvement in their economy due to the revamped production of corn for ethanol fuel.
The EPA has stated that the large-scale production of corn and soybeans to produce ethanol-based gasoline harms the environment. They have found that ethanol made from corn has the highest emissions output compared to ethanol gas made from other sources. Since most ethanol plants in the United States are powered by coal, greenhouse gas emissions derived from ethanol production contributes negatively to the environment. Additionally, the EPA has stated that ethanol production can adversely affect ecosystems, bodies of water, and accelerate the loss of organic matter and nutrients found in certain soils.
The biofuel industry disagrees with these findings by the EPA. The Biotechnology Innovation Organization released a statement saying that the use of E15 over the next decade could spare our environment between 7 million and over 10 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. This is equivalent to taking 1.4 million cars off of the road.
Looking for Non-Ethanol Gas in Oregon? We’ve Got You Covered!
At Marc Nelson Oil Products, we carry non-ethanol gas in regular 87 octane and 92 octane premium. If you are looking to fill-up with non-ethanol gas today, visit our location at 1977 Claxter Rd, NE, in Salem, Oregon. You can also find ethanol-free gas at most of our Pacific Pride locations in Oregon.
MNOP is committed to providing high-quality fuel products for our customers. No matter what kind of fuel you need or products you are looking for, we can help! We provide ethanol-free and ethanol-based fuels for multiple locations throughout Oregon and Southern Washington. We work closely with our suppliers to bring you the best fuel products available. MNOP also offers lubricants, racing fuels, and other products to help meet all of your fueling needs.
Since 1936, we have been one of the top fuel providers in the region. Regardless of which kind of fuel you need or prefer, you can always rely on our dependable team members, excellent customer service, and prompt response times. Our customers love working with us due to our dedication, advanced monitoring systems, and overall commitment to providing excellent services.