Gasoline is available in many different blends and octane levels, but ethanol-free gas has been becoming more readily available over the last few years. Understanding the reason for the ethanol and the differences in the two different fuel types might make it easier for you to decide which one you want to use in your car.
What Is Ethanol?
Ethanol is a fuel product made from corn and has been making a surge in the fuel industry because it burns cleaner, reducing tailpipe emissions when added to standard gasoline. It can also be easier to make and uses a renewable resource—corn.
While pure ethanol is not nearly as efficient as gasoline in car engines, a common blend like E85 can save enough money at the pump that a slight drop in fuel economy may be offset by the price you pay for the fuel in general.
Many stations around the country still sell ethanol-free fuel, but who needs this fuel? Older cars often run better on raw gas or ethanol-free gasoline, so if you have a classic car that you want to protect, you may want to choose ethanol-free fuel for it. Many of these cars need a lead additive in the fuel as well because the internal parts of the engines are not designed to run without it.
Things with small engines, like lawn tractors, weed trimmers, and rotor tillers, are good candidates for ethanol-free fuel as well. These small engines do not have the right internal parts to deal with the higher temperatures and differences in the way E85 fuel burns, and running ethanol blends will work, but it could shorten the life of the engine.
Where to Get Ethanol-Free Fuel
Many fuel stations are advertising that they offer ethanol-free fuel at their pumps, especially in large cities or areas that see a lot of vehicle traffic. The ethanol-free fuel will be in a separate pump and clearly marked so there is no mistaking which fuel you are buying.
The price of ethanol-free gasoline is often substantially higher as well. The cost of producing the ethanol and blending it into gasoline is very reasonable, so many fuel producers can sell the fuel to the station at a lower price, which you see at the pump.
If you are looking for ethanol-free fuel in your area, a quick internet search is often the fastest way to find a fuel station that has it available nearby. There are also some apps for your phone that can help you locate a station and find the one with the lowest price for you.