What is E-10 Fuel?

What is E-10 Fuel?

Posted: Updated:
CUMMING, Ga. -

Chances are, you see it every time you pump gas -- a sticker on the pump telling you the gasoline contains 10 percent ethanol. Ethanol is a renewable fuel, administered by the EPA and blended into gasoline to help with greenhouse gas emissions.

Some people don't have much of a choice, non-ethanol or "pure gas" is not readily available around metro Atlanta. You'll find it more in the suburbs, and likely around lakes. Your vehicle may not need it, but when it comes to small engines, experts say, it's the way to go.

Robert Lewis only puts non-ethanol gas into his boat. "It's just better for the motor. I get more power, better response, less maintenance," explains Lewis.

And with the weather warming up, it can be a payoff for gas stations that do give customers the option. "I researched a little bit into it and I saw it was a lot better for the boaters and we get a lot of boat traffic during the summer," says Cumming Marathon Owner Zahir Padania.

Experts say most small engines just aren't built to handle E-10 gasoline. "Ethanol absorbs water out of the air and it will actually hold that water until it balls out and that's called a separation and then the gasoline is no good," explains Robert Thornton, the Operations Manager at S.A. White Oil Company in Marietta.

E-10 gas can clog up the engines and carburetors of most lawn equipment. "I use it in all my outdoor equipment: Chainsaws, weed eaters, and mowers," says Ricky Williams, of Cumming, "It's all I'll put in all my equipment and I tell everybody, That's the route to go unless you want to have it in the shop."

Now when it comes to your vehicle, pure gas can stretch your mileage a bit but modern day vehicles are made to handle the 10 percent ethanol.

"The automotive manufacturers, they've really come a long way in developing the proper materials that will deal with these ethanol issues. So in the new cars, we really aren't having any issues at all," adds Thornton.

Pure gas can run anywhere from $0.80 cents to $1.00 more per gallon than regular unleaded E-10, but customers still say, it's worth the price.

"It's quite a bit more expensive but you don't use as much of it. It's cheaper to buy this than it is to buy the parts for them, to replace them. It's a nightmare for small engines," says Williams.

Of course there's much more to the topic, but experts also say antique car engines that sit for longer periods should also use non-ethanol instead of E-10. They do make fuel additives and stabilizers to help with E-10 if that is all that's available to you.

There's also been some controversy over whether or not the U.S. Government will eventually mandate an increase to 15 percent ethanol, which so far, is not recommended for widespread use in engines.

As homeowners start getting out the lawn care equipment, make sure there's no lingering E-10 gasoline from last year. Warnings show the shelf life for E-10 gas is about 2 to 3 months. Hardware shops encourage you to use it quickly, or get rid of it and don't let it sit for more than that time frame.

Find out where you can go to find non-ethanol gas, here.

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