The government has recently issued a directive allowing blending of ethanol in fuel up to 10% .This means that the next time you fill up, you might end up with a tank full of what the kids are calling flex-fuel. Now from an environmental perspective like CNG, expect flex-fuel to burn more cleanly than conventional gasoline thanks to the alcohol content. The presence of alcohol in the burning process allows for better oxidation and means that greenhouse gases will be radically reduced in the exhaust. Explaining why our government seems so agreeable to what would otherwise be considered adulteration of a fossil-fuel. Fuel-magnates will also be happy considering that every 10 litres of fuel you buy, will already have 1 l of Ethanol mixed into the blend, meaning more profits for them. Thus, Flex-Fuel will be on a short list of things that make both Polar bears and Fuel magnates happy but what about the end-user. Here are 5 things that you really need to know about Flex-fuel before your next tank of gas:
Flex-Fuel is extremely prone to water-contamination
Being an alcohol, Ethanol is inherently hygroscopic. Which means that it absorbs water, the problem is that it continues to do so even after it has been blended in the fuel. Now once it has come in contact with water, the contaminated part of the fuel settles at the bottom of the tank, and can end up causing serious damage to your engine and injectors. What’s more is that Ethanol is inherently corrosive and could potentially damage rubber hoses and injection valves although at 10% it’s likely that any signs of scoring or damage will take a few years to show.
Much shorter shelf life than conventional gasoline
Since, Ethanol is both hygroscopic and tends to evaporate faster than Gasoline, it has a very short shelf life, which means that most blending will happen on a day-to-day basis from vendor outlets. However, this also means that storing blended fuel might become a bit of an issue. Especially if you tend to keep that safety net of fuel in your garage
Burns better which means less residue inside the chamber
One of the few big benefits with an Ethanol blend is that it burns better inside the chamber, which is not only better for the Polar bears and Ice-caps, it also means that there will be less residue inside your chamber, and your exhaust pipes.
May not work in older vehicles
Flex-Fuel has been in use in the United States for some time now, and users, who have tried to use the flex-hybrid fuel in their vehicles have noticed that older rubber hoses and pipes get corroded and often end up either bursting or springing leaks. If this is the case with your vehicle, one could make an upgrade to better hoses that are rated to carry flex-fuel
Ethanol may reduce Fuel mileage
Generally Ethanol has 33 percent less energy than gasoline. And that means the more ethanol in your fuel, the worse your fuel mileage is going to be. Gasoline with 10 percent ethanol yields about 3 percent less fuel economy than straight gas.