October 2012 Chevy High Performance Q&A

Light Fuel

Kevin McClelland Sep 4, 2012 0 Comment(s)

An easy rant to get started on these days is the price of gasoline and diesel. It’s highway robbery what the oil companies and speculators are doing to our world, and hopefully someone will step up and take them on. I don’t think politicians have any desire to get this right. They have just approved another fuel in the United States that will make us lighter in the bank.

Tell me, do you want to buy fuel that will actually give you worse fuel economy, which will make you purchase more fuel? I didn’t think so! Well, we’ve been buying fuel called E10 for a couple of years now. It’s mandatory in eight states and many more states are adopting this fuel as time goes by. What E10 consists of is 10 percent anhydrous ethanol (anhydrous contains less than 1 percent moisture) and 90 percent gasoline. It is claimed that we’re doing this to get us off the dependence of imported crude oil, and to reduce emissions. Adding essentially 10 percent alcohol to our gasoline reduces the Btu content per gallon. Gasoline contains 116,090 Btu per gallon and ethanol has 76,000 Btu per gallon, so to achieve the same amount of power you must use more of this fuel blend. Late-model cars don’t have any issue with E10, as the fuel systems will handle the added corrosiveness of ethanol. Also, the EFI systems will adjust the air/fuel ratio to increase the fuel flow to run correctly. But here’s the rub: Our older, carbureted hot rods will begin to run leaner and need recalibration to run perfectly.

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So that was E10. The EPA has now approved the use of E15 for passenger cars and light-duty trucks manufactured after 2001! The administration has set a goal to help fueling station owners install 10,000 blender pumps over the next five years. This will give stations the ability to blend levels of ethanol right at the pump. Again, this is all to get us off imported oil and reduce emissions. Well, I just read last week that since 2006 we’ve reduced the dependence on imported oil by like 20 percent! This is because we the people are parking our large trucks and SUVs and driving more economical vehicles. Also gas doubling in price over this period certainly helped change our driving habits.

Be on the lookout for fuel blend labels on your gas station’s pumps. It’s mandated by law that they post the blend of fuel you’re purchasing. Changes in your vehicle’s personality could be as simple as the swap from E7 or E8, which we’ve been running for years, to E10. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re on the edge of tuning, it doesn’t take much to effect the performance. Between smog checks and now blending fuels that are not compatible with our early performance vehicles, the environmentalists will get us to crush our cars if we don’t stick together. Go online, use your favorite search engine, and read up about E10 and E15. It’s all out there. Be informed.

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