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Ethanol Angst

Originally Published in MotorHome Magazine

Recently I read two articles about ethanol, the E85 gasoline that should be in fuel stations by June. One article stated, “water formation can create formic acid and corrode metals, plastics and rubber.” The other article discusses when E85 is used in pre-2000 vehicles there are problems with fuel hoses and carburetor parts. This concerns me because I have a 1997 Lazy Daze that has taken my wife and I across 48 states. As I am sure the problems mentioned will affect my Class C motorhome. I would like to know what should be done to prevent these problems for those of us who own and love our pre-2000 gas-powered motorhomes.
Jim Bremner | Long Beach, Calif.

I am quite familiar with the problems ethanol can cause, as I am rebuilding the fuel system in one of my vehicles, including the electric pump, and the gas tank is out being chemically cleaned to remove the corrosion as I write this.

The fuel to which the articles referred is E15, which is gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol. Although the EPA has approved the introduction and sale of E15, it will only be sold for later-model vehicles that supposedly can run on it.

The present E10 blends sold in California that you have been using will continue to be offered for older vehicles like yours. E85 gasoline already has limited availability in your area, but your engine will not run on it. It’s designed for so-called flex-fuel vehicles, which can run on anything from straight gasoline to fuel containing 85 percent ethanol (which is E85).
— Ken Freund

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