Home Fuel System Ethanol-Free Gas – What Is It, And Is It Worth Paying More?

Ethanol-Free Gas – What Is It, And Is It Worth Paying More?

by Kelvin Yates

The majority of gas consumers are accustomed to their regularly distributed fuel. This contains common additives, detergents, and ethanol. However, there has been a movement in recent years to bring back “pure” gasoline. Demand has led to an increase in the availability of this “pure” or ethanol-free gas, which typically lacks commonly found additives.

Is ethanol-free gas harmful to your vehicle? But, isn’t that the same gas we all used before ethanol began to be widely added to our gas in the 2000s? Technically speaking, yes it is. It might not be precisely the same. Because there are all sorts of modern detergents and additives that got developed over the years. However, the majority of it is the same.

The quick answer is that your car won’t suffer from using ethanol-free fuel. The majority of cars today can run on ethanol-free gas as well as ethanol-gas-mixtures up to E15 (15% ethanol).

It appears that there is still some disagreement regarding which of these two is actually preferable. The benefits and drawbacks of ethanol-free gasoline are explained in detail here.

Ethanol-Free Gas

Types Of Gas

Nowadays, the majority of gas stations have at least three different types of fuel available at the pump when you pull up. Do the more costly options benefit your car more? Are the less costly ones worse?

It’s not nearly that easy in practice. Let’s find out more about the different kinds of gas you may anticipate finding at the pump. Or, perhaps you might not, if you’re already wondering why can’t you pump your own gas in NJ.

Cars can run on a variety of fuels, including alcohol and oil-based fuels. Many of today’s automotive fuels, including diesel fuel, various octane ranges, and gasoline-ethanol blends, are all collectively referred to as “gasoline.”

Octane Rating

The stability of the fuel is gauged by the octane rating on various grades of gasoline. Greater stability equates to higher octane ratings. The increased stability reveals the fuel’s capacity to withstand preignition and “knocking” or “pinging” during combustion. These noises are caused by the premature ignition of the air-fuel mixture in the engine.

A spark ignites a compressed combination of fuel and air in internal combustion engines. The engine may knock if the fuel-air mixture ignites too soon under specific circumstances. Unless you drive an older vehicle, you won’t often hear knocks and pings because sensors in newer vehicles prevent preignition. Unless, you’re experiencing bad knock sensor symptoms.

The research octane number (RON) at idle and the motor octane number (MON) at increased engine speed are used to calculate the average octane rating of gasoline. (R+M)/2 may have been written in smaller letters on the yellow buttons used in gas pumps.

The bigger numbers on gas pump placards represent the various gasoline classes’ octane ratings. Typically, a gas station, even the best ones, offers three octane levels of gasoline that are regular, mid-grade, and premium. Even while some brands call their various gas grades “Super Premium,” “Ultra,” or “Ultimate,” all of these terms refer to the octane rating of the fuel.

Depending on the type of work the engine does, the fuel type used in your car can affect the engine’s performance and the level of wear and tear it endures. While some fuels are preferable for speed, some are better for power. Other fuels are used when reliability is crucial because they offer superior engine protection.

Ethanol-Free Gas, Other Gas Types #1: Leaded Gasoline

For decades since the early 1920s, leaded gasoline was the only type of fuel offered at gas pumps. Lead compounds were first added to gasoline in 1921. This was in order to stop engine “knocking”, in gasoline-burning engines. Both the performance and fuel economy of the engines were enhanced by the lead addition.

Tetraethyl lead, the type of lead additive used, had a cushioning effect when burned in the cylinders of a gas engine. Although there were safer alcohol-based fuels available, the lead additive was less expensive. But its health and environmental effects were not known at the time.

Modern cars could run on any octane of leaded gasoline, which was the only fuel offered at gas station pumps. The globe came together to search for a better alternative as soon as the negative effects of leaded gasoline became apparent. Studies done in 1969 revealed the first indications that fuel was having negative effects on human health and the environment.

Leaded fuel had to be phased out rather than abruptly stopped to give automakers time to adapt engines for a new fuel type. Automakers started this process in 1970, and Japan was the first nation to restrict this gasoline entirely in 1986. Leaded gas was last outlawed in 2021 by Algeria, and as a result, it is no longer sold anywhere in the world.

Ethanol-Free Gas, Other Gas Types #2: Unleaded Gasoline

The world’s solution to the harmful toxins created by using leaded fuels was unleaded gasoline. Tetraethyl lead is not included in unleaded gasoline, which is now the only type typically sold at gas stations. Since the switch had to be gradual, it took more than 50 years to complete. Unleaded fuel could not be used in vehicle engines made to run on leaded fuel.

Leaded fuel had to be readily available until the older vehicles that used it were no longer in use. For the new unleaded fuel, automakers required time to create enough new-generation engines.

Leaded fuel’s detrimental effects were being examined at the same time that new environmental regulations concerning the emission of other hazardous gases from vehicles were being highlighted.

Cars had to be equipped with catalytic converters as a result of new environmental regulations in order to reduce harmful emissions. Another reason for automakers to adapt to engines made for unleaded fuel was the fact that catalytic converters do not function with leaded fuel.

Ethanol-Free Gas, Other Gas Types #3: Regular 87 Octane Gasoline

The lowest octane fuel available at gas stations is referred to as “regular.” The term “regular” refers to the fuel’s price, which is directly proportional to its octane level. Octane is a measurement of the fuel’s quality, effectiveness when burned in a gasoline engine, and the performance it provides the engine. Regular, Mid-grade, and Premium fuels are typically available at gas stations.

In high-compression, high-performance engines, lower octane fuel, such as Regular 87, burns less steadily and consistently. Higher octane fuels have more power and performance than 87 Octane. Besides octane, you might’ve also come across the Top Tier gas myth, which is its own quality standard.

Because low-octane fuels are unstable, they may spontaneously or uncontrollably ignite the fuel in the engine cylinders. This over time could cause serious harm to high-performance engines.

Timing and sparking can be adjusted in many cars with computer-controlled ignition to reduce spontaneous combustion. However, this leads to greater emissions and decreased fuel economy. In comparison to other grades or octanes of fuel supplied at gas station pumps, regular gasoline is typically less expensive.

Ethanol-Free Gas, Other Gas Types #4: 89 Octane Plus Gasoline (Mid-Grade)

Mid-grade gasoline normally has an octane rating of 89, though in certain places it can reach 90. The higher octane fuel is advantageous for several vehicles, including modern pickup trucks and SUVs. With 89-octane fuel, you get better fuel economy, less engine wear and tear, and more power from the fuel.

Regular 87 grade can be used in vehicles that the majority of automakers recommend mid-range gasoline for. But you cannot anticipate the same performance with the lower octane fuel.

Most of the time, 89-octane fuel may be used in 87-octane-using automobiles without causing any harm. However, the performance improvement won’t be as great as it would be in an engine built for 89-octane. You will only end up spending more for gas if you use higher-octane fuel in a vehicle that was made to run on lower-octane.

Ethanol-Free Gas, Other Gas Types #5: 92 Octane Premium Gasoline

The average octane of premium gasoline is 92, and it typically ranges from 91 to 93. Mid-grade and regular-grade gasoline are less expensive than premium gasoline, which is the most expensive fuel available at gas pumps. Because it is more stable, premium octane fuel reduces the chance of pre-ignition or spontaneous ignition in the engine cylinder.

In comparison to lower octane fuel, higher octane fuel also provides a cleaner, more powerful burn. High-octane premium fuel is intended for use with vehicles with high-performance engines. So, do think about that before you’re thinking whether or not you can put premium gas in just any car.

Lower octane fuel might cause costly damage to these engines when used in them. If your car’s manufacturer specifies that premium fuel should be used, you should only ever use this fuel and never a lower octane.

Premium-grade high-octane gasoline can be used in vehicles made for lower-octane fuels without causing harm, but the engines are not intended to make use of the benefits of high-octane fuel. Therefore, the higher octane has little effect on performance but considerably increases the cost of filling your tank.

Ethanol-Free Gas, Other Gas Types #6: 93 Octane Gasoline

Among premium gasoline, which can range from 91 to 93 octane, 93 octane is clearly the higher octane. On the highest end of the scale, 93-octane gasoline is sometimes known as ultra-premium or super-premium fuel.

Higher compression ratios in high-performance engines can lead to unpredictable igniting of lower-octane fuel in the engine’s cylinders. Higher octane fuel is also necessary for turbochargers and high-performance fuel injectors.

While using 93 octane fuel in an older vehicle won’t harm the engine. However, doing the same with fuel with a lower octane rating in an engine made to run on 93-octane fuel can seriously destroy the engine.

Ethanol-Free Gas, Other Gas Types #7: 95 Octane Gasoline

95-octane gasoline is pricey (just look at how much is gas at Costco) and made for use in vehicles with powerful, high-revving engines. This category also includes sports cars, like Porsches and Ferraris. Higher octane fuel enables better combustion and is less likely to ignite improperly in high-compression engines.

You should only use the 95-octane fuel that the manufacturer specifies for usage in the engine of your car. In coastal areas, 95-octane fuel is frequently used, but some automakers advise using 93-octane at higher altitudes. At high altitudes, the fuel with a slightly lower octane burns more effectively and efficiently than fuel with a 95-octane rating.

E15 Gas

The majority of gasoline contains some ethanol as an additive or alternative fuel. An “E” designation is issued when the amount of ethanol added to the fuel becomes significant and affects a motor vehicle engine.

In comparison to ordinary gasoline, which typically has an octane of 87, E15 gas has a slightly higher octane of 88. It is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. The “E” in the gasoline label is frequently removed, and E15 is marketed as “Unleaded 88 Octane” in gas stations.

This is due to the fact that the majority of vehicles produced after 2001 can use E15 fuel without needing any extra modifications. E15 fuel is perfectly safe to use in FFV-designated vehicles.

However, due to a lack of testing, some vehicles are not permitted to utilize E15 fuel. This includes motorcycles, off-road vehicles like ATVs and snowmobiles, and heavy-duty engines like school buses.

Ethanol-Free Gas

E85 Gas

As a fuel additive, ethanol is frequently used with gasoline to alter the fuel’s properties for particular applications. E85, also known as flex fuel, is a mixture of gasoline and ethanol, both of which are fuels derived from plants. To improve qualities like cold-weather starting and reduce emissions (as with what is the purpose of a catalytic converter), ethanol is added to the fuel.

The term “Flexible Fuel Vehicles,” or “FFVs,” refers to cars made to take high ethanol fuel. These vehicles are capable of running on blended fuels with up to 85% ethanol content. So, that should help settle the question of whether can you mix E85 with regular gas.

The ethanol content in E85 can range from 51% to 83%. To account for variations in climate between winter and summer, the amount of ethanol can be adjusted from season to season.

Due to modifications made to the engine and fuel system, FFVs may use E85 fuel and produce more torque and power than when using gasoline. The primary drawback of E85-fueled automobiles is that they can be 15% to 27% less fuel-efficient than gasoline-powered vehicles. This is mostly caused by ethanol’s lower energy-per-volume than gasoline.

The majority of FFVs can run on either gasoline or flex-fuel, but you should never use flex-fuel in a gasoline-only vehicle.

Ethanol-Free Gas

Ethanol-free gas or clear gas is not a common sight in gas pumps all over the country. In addition to having a high octane rating, clear gas or gas without ethanol is also substantially more expensive.

E85 or other flex fuel stickers are commonly found on gas stations in urban areas, although “non-ethanol” is less common. Why should you use clear gas—also known as non-ethanol gas—in your car or truck? Does it provide improved fuel economy?

Clear gas is defined as gas produced solely from petroleum products, without the addition of ethanol or any other renewable fuel. Ethanol is blended in every other type of gasoline available at the gas station, or near wholesale retailers like BJ’s Gas.

The additive ethanol is made from several plants, including sugar cane, corn, and grasses. In order to lower emissions, it is added to fuels. The grades of gas you purchase are based on octane, and ethanol levels are a whole different thing.

Should I Switch To Ethanol-Free Gas

It may seem unusual that some consumers are looking for non-ethanol gasoline and urging more gas stations to offer it. This is even during the prominence of ethanol-mixed gasoline and the EPA’s push for more of its usage. There are still some good reasons for consumers to select ethanol-free fuel at the pump.

Ethanol does help to minimize engine wear and helps to lower the overall fuel cost by allowing for the use of less oil in the combination. Although ethanol-free gas is safe for your car, fuel containing too much ethanol can hurt an engine that is not set up to handle it.

Some gasoline (E85) includes up to 85% ethanol, which confuses computers in vehicles not designed for flex fuel because they are not designed to handle such high concentrations. If repeated, this may cause the engine of the automobile to corrode somewhat. It may also reduce fuel efficiency and cause a spark knock.

The ability to get better overall gas mileage is another factor that influences the choice of non-ethanol fuel. While ethanol lowers the price per gallon of gasoline, it also has a lowers burn efficiency and less free energy available for efficient combustion and movement. The 3% average decrease in gas mileage over several years can really add up.

Finally, lawnmowers, chainsaws, trimmers, and other tools with smaller engines are susceptible to damage from ethanol blends. Manufacturers advise owners to use a 10% or less ethanol combination to prevent damage since ethanol makes gasoline burn hotter, which smaller engines can’t handle.

Overall, there are a variety of distinct reasons why you might select non-ethanol versus gasoline blended with ethanol. It is also obvious that “pure” gasoline will probably only become rarer to find over time due to pollution regulations and the EPA’s efforts.

Ethanol vs Gasoline

Advantages Of Using Ethanol-Blend Gas

1. Ethanol-Blends Are More Eco-Friendly

Ethanol, is a clean-burning fuel source that as a part of the Federal Renewable Fuel Standard was added to gasoline to aid in the reduction of greenhouse gases. It has additional advantages for the environment. It is non-toxic, dissolves in water, and because it is derived from crops, it is a renewable energy source.

Ethanol is found to be the most environmentally friendly fuel out of diesel, unleaded gasoline, and gasoline. Vehicles running on ethanol emit fewer emissions than those powered by normal gasoline or diesel. This difference is among the reasons why it’s knowing what happens if you put gas in a diesel engine isn’t pretty.

Ethanol is a renewable resource that is produced from corn. Since there is a limitless supply of corn, the oil sector finds it simpler to mix it with gasoline and meet clean air regulations. To prevent harming the engine, buyers of vehicles should be aware of this before making a purchase.

10% ethanol is present in the majority of gasoline sold in the US. It is based on alcohol and is biodegradable as well. It serves as an additive in ordinary gasoline and promotes complete fuel utilization.

In fact, the Department of Energy is urging oil providers to boost the ethanol component in their products to 15%. So, when you’re at the pump the next time, seek for combinations that have E10 or E15 included in the description. Though, you won’t have to worry about it too much if you live in states where you can’t pump your own gas.

2. It Is Better For Modern, High-Performance Engines

Modern high-compression engines are built to run on pure or blended ethanol fuel. This is due to the fact that a high compression ratio typically necessitates high octane levels.

This is in order to prevent putting an engine under a lot of stress (what is otherwise known as a condition called pre-ignition). Regular gasoline is not recommended for these types of engines because it has a lower octane rating than ethanol.

Ethanol-Free Gas

The tide may be changing for pure oil consumers. Technology is inventing new methods to make machines and the planet less dependent on fossil fuels and run more effectively on alternative energy. After all, our planet’s survival with the little resources it still has should be what we are all focusing on.

Advantages Of Using Ethanol-Free Gas

1. Ethanol-Free Gas Provides Improved Gas Mileage

The fuel efficiency of oil that has been blended with ethanol has comparatively less. Pure gasoline with a high energy level produces more power when burned. Additionally, because your engine can produce more kinetic energy from the gasoline, you can obtain better mileage while using less fuel.

2. Ethanol-Free Gas Makes Us Less Dependent On Ethanol Crops

Until ethanol was found and added to gas, ethanol-free gas or a pure form of oil was in use. The use of ethanol-free gas has a lot of benefits. It lessens reliance on corn growing. Instead of blending some gasoline with corn, corn can be utilized as food. Gas without ethanol provides a higher mileage than gasoline blended with ethanol.

3. Ethanol-Free Gas Causes Less Harm To The Engine

Ethanol-free gas is also better for the engine. There have been reports of engine parts rotting as a result of ethanol-mixed gas. By its very nature is that ethanol attracts water and might be harmful. Customers can choose between ethanol-containing gas and ethanol-free gas at various gas stations all around the United States.

4. Ethanol-Free Gas Has Longer Shelf Life

When properly stored, ethanol-free gas has a substantially longer shelf life of around six months. E10 gas, in contrast, may be kept secure only for three months. For more than 20 years, people have been debating whether to use ethanol or non-ethanol gas.

The usage of ethanol in place of clear gas has been greatly influenced by the fact that it strengthens the economies of states that grow corn.

Ethanol Free vs Premium Gas

Ethanol is found in regular, midgrade, premium as well as supreme fuel grades and some gas stations even sell ethanol-powered vehicles. The majority of readily available gasoline contains 10% ethanol. This variant is referred to as E10; the number following the “E” indicates the volume percentage of ethanol in the fuel.

Any fuel that contains more than ten percent ethanol by volume will be marked with an E15 or E85 label. This is due to the fact that not all engines are designed to run blends higher than E10, even though all automakers have approved blends up to E10 in their vehicles.

A decent rule of thumb is that you can use E15 fuel if your automobile was made after 2001 or if it is a particularly fitted flex-fuel vehicle. However, E15 or higher is not allowed to be used in boats or other gasoline-powered machinery in the United States. This is because it can harm the components due to ethanol’s water-absorbing qualities.

Better mileage may result from using pure gas. However, the greater cost of ethanol-free gas may outweigh the benefits of increased fuel efficiency. In general, non-ethanol gasoline is more expensive than ethanol-blended versions.

Ethanol-Free Gas Stations

A number of websites, including pure-gas.org, provide the locations of gas stations that sell non-ethanol gas close to you if you are looking for ethanol-free fuel by zip code. You might need to stop at several gas stations to get non-ethanol gas, though, as it is frequently tougher to find.

Non-blended fuels aren’t typically sold at major gas stations with well-known brands like Exxon or Chevron. You’ll probably need to locate an independent station instead. Or, if you have the will, you might even consider looking up how much does a gas station cost to set up your own!

Ethanol-Free Gas Near Me

Have you ever wondered where you could get ethanol-free gas close to you? You require this list from Sheetz.com of gas stations that sell ethanol-free gas. Simply open it on your smartphone to check it out before shifting into “drive”. Then use the map to find the nearest station that sells ethanol-free fuel.

This map should allow you to get the gas you desire for your automobile no matter where you are, considering not many gas stations don’t sell ethanol-free fuel. You don’t have to switch back to regular fuel if you don’t want to. You can also use it if you’re traveling and can’t access the ethanol-free gas station you usually use.

Ethanol-Free Gas: In Conclusion…

It is up to you, the driver, to decide whether you’d like to use ethanol-blended or ethanol-free fuel. There are several factors to take into account, such as the type of engine you use, the manufacturer-recommended fuel for your vehicle, and the trade-off between performance and eco-friendliness.

I hope this helps in clearing up some questions and confusion about ethanol and non-ethanol and helps you choose a fuel a little bit more easily. And as you know now, the various types of gas available at the pump are designed for various uses.

Following the manufacturer’s advice will prevent costly repairs caused by using the incorrect fuel type in your vehicle. And if you’re new to driving, remember to study up on how to put gas in a car.

FAQs On Ethanol-Free Gas

What Is Ethanol

Ethyl alcohol, the same kind of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages, is utilized as a fuel in ethanol-blend fuels. The majority of the time, it is utilized as a motor fuel, primarily as a gasoline biofuel addition. The majority of cars on American roads today can operate on blends of up to 15% ethanol. Some flexible-fuel vehicles can run on up to 100% ethanol.

What Is E85 Gas

E85 gas, commonly referred to as flex fuel, is a high-level mixture of gasoline and ethanol that contains 51 to 83 percent ethanol by volume. Geographical location and time of the year have an impact on the amount of ethanol. In contrast to the winter, producers add more ethanol in the summer.

What Does Flex Fuel Mean

Flex fuel, also known as flexible fuel, is a substitute fuel created by mixing gasoline with methanol or ethanol. Vehicles with internal combustion engines that can run on multiple types of fuels are referred to as flex-fuel vehicles. The only significant differences between gasoline-only and flex-fuel variants are in the engine and fuel system.

What Is Octane

Simply put, an octane rating is a measurement of how heat resistant a fuel is to avoid knocking. Octane, therefore, does not improve combustion; rather, it stops the air-fuel mixture inside an engine from igniting earlier than it should. The resistance of a fuel to knocking increases with increasing octane.

Does Gasoline Go Bad

Regular gasoline has a shelf life of three to six months whereas diesel can last up to a year before it starts to deteriorate. On the other hand, oxidation and evaporation can cause organic-based ethanol blends to lose their combustibility in as little as one to three months. It can be difficult to keep track of the age of the fuel in your tank.

What Is Unleaded Gas

Unleaded gasoline is regular gas that doesn’t have any lead additives. In order to increase octane levels and decrease engine knock, lead used to be added to gasoline. There will always be different types of unleaded gasoline available as you pull up to the pump and notice the signage showing the fuel types that are offered.

Is Ethanol Bad For Your Car

More than 90% of the vehicles on American roadways including automobiles, trucks, and sport utility vehicles have been produced after 2001. According to the EPA and a research study, these vehicles are safe to use with fuel containing 15% ethanol. Also, the use of E15 fuel in cars built in the last ten years has been approved by many automakers.

What Is Ethanol Free Gas

Gasoline that isn’t blended with ethanol is known as non-ethanol gas. Not all gas stations sell this type of fuel. Usage of this pure gas results in better mileage. However, the greater expense of ethanol-free gas may outweigh the benefits of increased gas mileage. In general, non-ethanol gasoline is more expensive than ethanol-blended versions.

How Much Ethanol Is In 87 Octane Gas

To get the required 87-octane grade, 10% ethanol is combined with lower-octane gasoline. Depending on the volume percentage of ethanol in the blend, ethanol has a variable amount less energy per gallon than gasoline.

What Is E10 Gas

E10 is a low-level ethanol mixture that contains 90% gasoline and 10% ethanol. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has given its usage permission for any typical gasoline-powered vehicle.

Will Flex Fuel Damage My Engine

E85 is actually safer for your engine than ordinary gasoline if your car is flex-fuel compatible. Your engine, fuel lines, and fuel injectors are all cleaned by E85 flex fuel in addition to providing power. Because E85 contains high ethanol content of up to 83%. However, the continual use of this high-ethanol fuel in a non-flex-fuel vehicle can cause substantial fuel system corrosion.

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