Another Reason to Ditch Ethanol: It Ruins Engines

Ethanol, especially corn-based ethanol, was supposed to be such a good alt-fuel additive! Then it turns out that it costs more energy to produce than it saves; that it distorts world ag markets and helped intensify global food shortages; that it intensified the clearing of trees and other eco-friendly thangs; and even destroyed the tequila market of the future!

Now there's this (via Alan Vanneman via Andrew Sullivan) from Businessweek: It destroys car parts!

At City Garage in Euless, Tex., for example, the first of numerous future customers brought in an automobile whose fuel pump was shot. A quick diagnosis determined that that particular car had close to 18% ethanol in the fuel. For that unlucky owner, the repairs came to nearly $900. The ethanol fun was just beginning.

City Garage manager Eric Greathouse has found that adding ethanol to the nation's gasoline supply may be a foolish government mandate, but it has an upside he'd rather not deal with. It's supplying his shop with a slow but steady stream of customers whose plastic fuel intakes have been dissolved by the blending of ethanol into our gasoline, or their fuel pumps destroyed. The average cost of repairs is just shy of $1,000.

Whole story here.

Reason.tv gave the lowdown on Ethanol in "Silly Senator, Corn is For Food!":

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  • MNG||

    See, these are the kinds of things I can get behind from libertarians. I hate ethanol. I've watched it spread from pump to pump around here so now only one of or two stations don't have it. And to think I get to pay for it as a taxpayer too!

  • ||

    The average cost of repairs is just shy of $1,000.

    You just got stimulus'd, my man. And you didn't even know it.

    Just wait, auto glass industry. You and the baseball bat people are next.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "City Garage manager Eric Greathouse has found that adding ethanol to the nation's gasoline supply may be a foolish government mandate, but it has an upside he'd rather not deal with. It's supplying his shop with a slow but steady stream of customers whose plastic fuel intakes have been dissolved by the blending of ethanol into our gasoline, or their fuel pumps destroyed. The average cost of repairs is just shy of $1,000."

    Silly Gillespie (and Vanneman and Sullivan), all the government is doing is stimulating the economy!

  • ||

    Hmm, I thought that the "Five Year Plan" stimulus created by the Obama Administration would fix all of our energy problems. It used to work so well for the Soviets!

  • Xeones||

    GODDAMN MOTHERFUCK.

    Well, at least i have my bike.

  • ||

    Ethanol Ruins Engines

    Well Duhhhhhhh

    Now the question is, will the ethanol mandates be repealed? Here in Missouri ALL gasoline is required to be 10% ethanol. (Except is certain situations when the price goes up) My mileage goes up 15% when I'm able to buy out of state gas.

  • ||

    It also screws up boat motors too.

    This would all be very depressing except that as governments start seeing the repair costs for their fleets skyrocket expect things to change. Or they could just exempt themselves from the ethanol mandate.

  • ||

    This will be covered up or spun away as are all inconvenient facts in the War on Agave. What? You thought this was about corn or oil? No. It's about getting Mexican agave farmers to burn their crops and replace them with corn. We've been tracking the War on Agave over at Urkobold for some time now.

  • John||

    My Dad, who was a petrochemical engineer, explained to me that ethanol absorbs water vapor at room temperature, which throws off the combustion process. Ethanol is cheaper than gasoline only because it's literally watered down.

  • New World Dan||

    Well, at least i have my bike.

    Nonsense. My car works just fine on a 10% ethanol blend. My bike becomes rather unreliable when the power plant contains more than 0.1% ethanol.

  • ||

    Aren't ethanol fires harder to put out. We are also supposed to impressed because Wesley Clark is the new spokesman.

  • dave b.||

    Just for the record, ethanol doesn't directly kill your fuel pump. What actually happens is that once it gets in your gas tank, it basically strips out all of the gunk and sediment that has been building up at the bottom of the tank. Your fuel pump then gets clogged up and overheats in a vain attempt to send all that crap on to your engine. Most people who use ethanol from day one generally don't have any problems (since little to no gunk has built up yet), but people who drive on straight gasoline and then decide to switch to ethanol after tens of thousands of miles will certainly see problems. Not that any of this matters, as all government mandated ethanol production should be shut down and ADM's gaping maw removed from Uncle Sam's federal man titty.

  • ||

    Nonsense. My car works just fine on a 10% ethanol blend. My bike becomes rather unreliable when the power plant contains more than 0.1% ethanol.



    WIN

  • ||

    Dave-

    I was under the impression that for an engine to run on a fuel blend containing more than 10% or so ethanol that it required retrofitting of various plastic parts and connectors that ethanol tends to eat away with parts that won't be damaged from exposure to ethanol?

  • jasno||

    I remember hearing this... about 8 years ago. I was under the impression that the plastic used in the fuel system had already been changed to handle ethanol.

  • mark||

    There has got to be some serious recycling of corn dollars into political campaigns. Why isn't the Justice Dept. raiding the offices of Midwestern Congresspersons?

  • dave b.||

    mediageek -

    That is true. Ethanol capable cars come with hardened valve seats, upgraded fuel lines and injectors, and other assorted parts to replace the factory plastic and rubber bits. There's a couple of companies out there that actually sell retrofit kits that allow you to install all this yourself if you're mechanically inclined. I never looked into it because I can't imagine the breakeven considering the time and expense of tearing down a motor and fuel system in order to save about 30 cents per gallon on E85.

  • ||

    Lexus recently recalled over 200,000 cars to replace the fuel lines in the engines. The reason? The water in ethanol was corroding the aluminum fuel lines. At a cost of over $800 per car, Lexus now has to replace fuel lines in more than 200,000 cars through no fault of their own. Cars were designed to run on gasoline, not corn juice.

  • ||

    It seems that, like lightning, the Law of Unintended Consequences can strike more than once.

  • ||

    Unintended? Nah, this is a plot to move us back to horses.

  • JB||

    Government is fucking stupid!

  • Gavin||

    Addition of ethanol to gasoline is the stupidest idea and somebody needs kicked.... HARD. Every small engine machine I own has required carb rebuilds after this ethanol nightmare. Ethanol fuel has less than a month shelf life at best. Local Yamaha shop is telling people to not leave fuel in the tank for more than two weeks!

    It also ruins spark plugs in large bore engines. Spark plugs will short at the electrodes. Replaced 11 spark plugs so far in my 2005 Yamaha Grizzly 660 gasoline engine once ethanol was standardized. Now the carb float is stuck in that very same engine.

    It is killing most of the boat engines in our area too..

    Finally one gas station in our area has gone back to non-ethanol fuel.

  • Biggel19||

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    Engine and Transmission World

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