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Old 11-29-2009, 12:09 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default How to check gas for ethanol

Since I discovered the Kansas legislature kowtowed to the ag and ethanol industries and removed the requirement for ethanol labeling on gas pumps I've researched how to determine if gas is adulterated with ethanol.
Fuel-testers sells a solution which instantly turns an ethanol tainted gas a turquoise blue and I bought a 15ml(231drops) bottle for $9.95. If it turns blue the station will have only had a $.10 purchase from me!
You can determine the presence and the percentage of ethanol fairly easily with a 100ml graduated cylinder. Put in 90ml of your gas sample and 10ml of water and shake. Let stand for 10+minutes and observe the level of the seperation layer. Subtract 10 from that number and you have the percentage of ethanol. The water absorbs the ethanol and sinks to the bottom. You should be able to find a 100ml cylinder for $5+. No need to buy the $25 alcohol test kit. Just improvise a jar to collect the sample.

Quik-Check Solution
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Old 12-02-2009, 06:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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since the water separates the Ethanol from The GAS, maybe we can use this technique to separate the Ethanol from E10 gas by pouring out the bottom or upper layer somehow. Then discard the ethanol/water mix, and put the pure gas into the Insight.
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Old 12-02-2009, 07:16 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Won't work. You would be lowering the octane of the fuel by doing that. This is one of the problems with E10. The ethanol absorbs water and phase seperates(drops to bottom of tank) and the upper petroleum layer becomes octane deficient. Pure ethanol has an octane of about 113 so they blend it with low octane gasoline. Running an engine on below recommended octane will cause drivability issues and parts damage to pistons and valves. Shelf life of E10 is only three months in ideal low humidity conditions.

edit: Looks like I'll be looking for gas 15 miles away, both stations here have ethanol in there regular.

Last edited by satchel; 12-02-2009 at 10:17 PM.
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Old 12-04-2009, 10:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default This Quik-Check solution works--->

Both fresh samples look like this
fresh sample
until you put a drop of solution in and shake...
with ethanol
it suspends in the ethanol but drops to bottom here
no ethanol
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I missed this thread, but since it got bumped, I just looked all over the house for food coloring. I'm not sure what the fluid in food coloring contains, but if it, along with the dye doesn't dissolve in gasoline, this might be a decent way of testing it without the purchase of a kit.
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Old 02-10-2010, 03:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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are you really going to spend 5 mins waiting by a pump to see if it has ethonal?

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Old 02-10-2010, 04:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I think the idea is that it would be to find out which local stations have it and don't have it and to continue going to the ones with the desired fuel.
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Old 02-10-2010, 07:56 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crxgator View Post
are you really going to spend 5 mins waiting by a pump to see if it has ethonal?

The test is instantaneous. Unless it takes you 5 minutes to drop a drop in a small sample, shake it and look at it.

If you want to know the percentage it takes a little longer but would let you know which station is giving you 10% vs the one giving you 30% or 85%.
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:27 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I don't get the point of this. In Canada we have had E10 since at least the late 90s and there isn't a pump not supplying that I've seen. All vehicle fuel systems are designed to handle it. The Insight runs E10 (and some higher blends?) fine, as per the owners manual.

Of course, I'd much prefer higher ethanol blends. There is only one E85 station in the area and it is an hours drive. Not for the Insight of course, but for the RX-7.
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Old 02-21-2010, 11:06 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Aaron Cake, you are correct, and in the state of Minnesota, which is where I live, we have an ethanol mandate for our gasoline. The two main reasons people don't want it is that using corn to produce ethanol is wasteful and requires a tremendous amount of fuel, water, fertilizer, and pollution to create. It requires a tax subsidy to make it work. Most people who understand the impact of ethanol production using corn don't want to use it.

The second reason is that ethanol has less total usable energy content per gallon than gasoline without the ethanol and people want more MPGs, especially when they are using the most fuel efficient gasoline car you can buy in North America. Of course if there is less energy content to the fuel with ethanol in it and it is going for the same price as the station down the street, the choice becomes easy.

Hope this answers your question.
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