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Local Car Expert Says Ethanol-Added Gasoline Can Damage Older Engines

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – EPA approval of putting more ethanol in gasoline, a rise from 10-15%, creates more problems for owners of older cars.

The EPA approves E15 as it’s called for model year 2001 cars or newer, but there are a lot of older ones still on the road.

Dave Cox, manager at The Engine Shop in Upper Darby, says some older car engines were built to use higher octane leaded gas, “And the compressions were a lot higher because of the performance. Now what’s happening, the more ethanol they do, it’s called detonation, where it’s not running quite right and what happens is if it detonates for long enough it’ll actually melt holes right through the pistons.”

He recommends older cars use premium for the higher octane and says additives and very expensive racing fuel can help. Not every older car is just for classic car shows.

“I have one customer, his everyday driver is a 1965 Chevelle, every day, even though the winter.”

Cox says E15 will magnify the damage ethanol does to older engines.

Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio 1060

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  • Ron Lamberty

    I’m not sure this mechanic has any idea what he’s talking about.
    Ethanol is HIGHER octane than gasoline, which means it is LESS likely to pre-detonate. Ethanol works better than gasoline in higher compression engines – that’s why it it used in racing.
    E15 in an OPTION, and it will probably have an octane rating similar to premium. But NOBODY is required to use it. No stations are required to sell it. If you have a car older than 2001, or a small engine, you’re not supposed to use it. Stations will continue to sell unleaded or 10% ethanol, because everyone can use that.

  • Jeff B

    Ethanol does burn cleaner but your fuel milage is slightly worse than pure gasoline. It also corrodes fuel lines faster. This shouldnt be a problem in newer cars, but older ones will be affected. It will be harder starts for carburated cars in the winter time although there are few on the roads now.When alcohol burns it puts off more water vapor than gasoline too. be up on your oil changes

  • Robert White

    First, there is no requirement for any gas station to carry E15 today or in the future, it is an option for them. The idea that E10 will disappear is false, it is needed for 40% of the vehicles on the roads today, along with boats, motorcycles, and other small engines. The idea that using Premium will get you away from ethanol is also false, it can and likely does contain ethanol. The gentleman in the article apparently does not understand ethanol’s octane either. Pure ethanol is 113 octane, it is the gasoline that it is mixed with that brings it down. That being said, 10% ethanol added to gasoline raises the octane level 2.5-3 points. That is why we have various octane levels of E10 today. It is less expensive, a domestic fuel and is cleaner burning.

  • Scott Walker

    Wow I posted it again and nothing.Are you watching me Big Brother?

  • Scott Walker

    What I say something true about the EPA and my post doesn’t make it here?

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