Back in 2005, the Energy Policy Act penned by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was put into place ensuring that gasoline sold in the United States has a minimum volume of renewable fuel. Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel.
After 2005, many automotive manufacturers complained to the EPA about the damage caused by adding ethanol to fuel, but to no avail. The EPA plans on doubling the amount of ethanol in fuel by 2012, yet it doesn’t appear they’re too concerned about the problems ethanol can cause to your engine. More than 16 billion gallons of ethanol were mandated for use under the guise of a Clean Air Act last year, and you’d think this would have prompted a dramatic drop in gas prices. Instead, fuel prices have continued to go up since the introduction of ethanol.
Recently, the EPA proposed a bill to increase the amount of ethanol in your fuel to 15 percent. A few years back, the EPA approved the use of gasoline with a 10 percent ethanol mix, and if you go to your local gas station, you can probably find this fuel. It’ usually cheaper than the regular gas and that might just be enough to persuade you into buying that fuel mix.
But what the EPA failed to do was inform the public about the problems that ethanol can create. It didn’t mention that the fuel mix is only approved for certain vehicles. It didn’t mention that putting this fuel in your lawn mower, weed whacker, leaf blower, ATV or motorcycle also has the potential for damage. The EPA failed to inform the consumers that ethanol attracts moisture from the atmosphere. If you leave a can of ethanol gas out for a day or two, you can see water form and separate. That means you’re burning a fuel/water mix, which can cause some serious engine problems.
Ethanol also tends to age rapidly. This means the fuel can break down quickly, losing octane and other properties that your engine requires to run properly. This results in poor fuel combustion, hard starts and engine knock — all damaging your engine.
In addition, it takes more energy to produce ethanol than it produces. Ethanol only produces two thirds of a mile per gallon gain when compared to conventional fuel. The introduction of ethanol as a fuel also has an effect on the price of food. Now we are growing fuel instead of food, which causes the cost of food to rise. All these problems have been overlooked and sold to us as the “myth” that we are saving the planet.
So, here’s some advice: Avoid putting ethanol in your engines. That goes for your motorcycle, ATV or anything else for that matter. I certainly don’t want you to take my word as gospel. Do the research for yourself. And if you find yourself in a situation where you have to use the ethanol blend, dump some fuel stabilizer in your tank to help resolve some of these issues before they damage your engine.
And finally, you can go to the American Motorcyclist Association website’s Issues and Legislation section and read about what the AMA is doing to support a bill that will prohibit the EPA from authorizing use of gasoline containing greater than 10 percent ethanol.