Ethanol is an octane enhancer; it essentially is blended to keep gasoline from “pre-igniting.” Previous ingredients used for that same purpose were highly toxic and found to damaging to some mechanics of a car. Ethanol does have the property of absorbing water which dilutes the octane level. Buying better quality gas with a higher blend eliminates the risk of having heavily diluted gas.
Ethanol-driven engines work slightly differently from gasoline-driven engines. With too much ethanol, your engine may not work at all. Some people can adjust their engines to make it work without buying a flex fuel vehicle. Whatever you do, don’t go putting E85 (a popular fuel blend with 85% ethanol) in your tank and expecting it to run properly.
Although ethanol is touted as a good replacement for gasoline, farming the corn and processing it requires a lot of energy. The BTU (energy) content of ethanol is also lower, meaning that your car won’t travel as far on a gallon of ethanol as it will on a gallon of gasoline. Even if ethanol prices were slightly lower than gasoline prices, your cost per mile would be greater.
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