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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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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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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
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.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
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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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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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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Discussion Starter #8
are you really going to spend 5 mins waiting by a pump to see if it has ethonal?

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

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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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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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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Discussion Starter #11
E10 Ethanol: Recommended engine precautions

Aaron Cake, read this page for the many reasons ethanol is not desirable in a lot of situations. Don't think this is total ethanol bashing. The bottom line of this page says they believe that E85 use in capable engines is our best solution to energy independence at the current time. That said it does extract a considerable environmental cost. We'd be in a better position to efficiently produce ethanol if we hadn't driven the sugar cane industry out of the country.

My personal experiment isn't panning out. In the dead of winter here I can't tell if the no ethanol gas is giving me better mileage or not and I'm paying a 10-20 cent premium for it. I'm seriously considering going back to burning the least expensive regular I come across, especially considering I go through each tank so quickly I don't have to worry about the E10's shorter shelf life. Not to mention the only station I've found ethanol-free is twenty miles from here.
 

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I noticed that site kept going back to water and ethanol gas being an issue. It's a bigger issue with pure gasoline because the pure gasoline can't absorb any condensation and it will be phase separated in the tank. Ethanol will keep the water combined until it reaches saturation which will likely never happen unless you've got serious issues since gas tanks are normally fairly well sealed and as you drive you will burn the water off with the gasoline. If you have the same situation with gasoline that doesn't have ethanol they will separate and if that water ends up in your fuel line you would need to purge the lines and will need to add alcohol to absorb the water to allow the engine to run again.

I don't find that site to be too credible. The shelf life might be less but it isn't three months, I know of two cars that take more than 3 months to go to 1/4 tank and then they get filled at that point, the combined age of the fuel is over 3 months and the car has exhibited no problems. Same with my lawn mower gas, I fill a 5 gallon container at the beginning of the season and at the end of the season put the remaining gallon, if there is even that much left into the car, never had an issue there and the lawn mower doesn't mind.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
the lawn mower doesn't mind.
I've had more than one small engine mechanic tell me 90% of their service problems were water in the gas. You may have a point with the phase seperation. I guess that's the whole idea behind Heet and similar isopropyl alcohol products used to solubilize the water.
 

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Don't get me wrong though, gas does get old, but to me it doesn't matter if it is straight gasoline or if it has ethanol, I've had to degunk a small engine carb after forgetting to stabilize the fuel in the equipments off season once. The thin little hole of the main jet was about all that I'm really convinced got clogged however since everything else looked good.
 

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I do agree about the stupidity of using a food crop to produce fuel, and am aware that E-anything will result in a mileage decrease. But since I am able to get 100 MPG in the Insight with our current E10 (or E15?) then I don't think I care that much about it. :)

If E85 was used as a niche fuel, it would be a lot more sustainable. The performance benefits for forced induction vehicles are significant and many would pay a premium for it, while regular vehicles should stay with regular old gasoline.
 

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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.
In the US, cars manufactured before 2001 are not designed to run ethanol in gas. We are finding rotten fuel hoses and certain pumps have premature/repeat failures. As an independent repair shop owner, we see these problems a lot! Marine engines and lawn equipment also cannot run on ethanol-based fuels.
 
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