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The truth about Ethanol in Petrol

31st March 2017

So what is ethanol and why is it in our petrol?

Ethanol is a plant derived alchohol which has been around for many years, it has recently been added to our fuel in small proportions of 5% or less as a kind of trial to see if there were any adverse effects.

It has since been added to petrol in ever increasing amounts, currently believed to be anywhere from 5% to 15% depending on where you buy your fuel!

It is being added to our fuel as a green ticket for the government to reach its green targets, being plant derived and therefore a bio fuel it is supposed to be less polluting than standard petrol.


So what's the problem with it?

Well if you drive an almost new car or have a new lawnmower or equipment then the answer is probably not much at all, unless you allow the fuel in your machines or your can to go off, this can happen in as little as a month! Yes 30 days!  If the fuel does go off in your equipment the old fuel will need to be cleaned out completely, on top of this another issue with ethanol is it will freely absorb water from the atmosphere, as you can see in the picture below, this was tipped from a non running strimmer, the petrol oil mix is floating on water!


So you can have fuel which has not only gone off and become unusable but has also absorbed quite large quantities of water from the air which makes it corrosive.

In older machines this can cause fuel tanks and float chambers to rust, internal carburettor parts to corrode and become unservicable, seals and fuel pipes can deteriorate to the point of it disintegrating or becoming  a sticky mess!


How can you avoid these problems?

Easy!  Never allow fuel to remain in a machine for longer than 30 days and use any fuel in cans within this timescale too.

Not a very convenient arrangement is it? The answer is to add a fuel additive to your petrol before putting it in any of your equipment, this will keep the fuel good for an extended time period and prevent the corrosive nature of the ethanol from damaging your machines.

We sell Briggs and Stratton fuel fit for this very reason.

https://shop.psharman.co.uk/fuel-additive---100ml---treats-10l-of-petrol-bs992380-137

We stock this small 100ml bottle and also a larger 250ml bottle, the small bottle will treat 10 litres / 2 gallons, the larger bottle treats 25 litres / 5 gallons of petrol.

As modern fuel can cause corrosion in metal containers, including any at the petrol station it may be prudent to filter all fuel out of the can, just to be sure no debris gets into your machines which if allowed to will cause breakdowns in the future.

We sell various filter funnels for this purpose,

 https://shop.psharman.co.uk/search/products?keywords=filter+funnel

We hope you found our article informative and thank you for reading.