E10 CONTAMINATION: A small sample of E10 contamination found in local fuel tanks. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times
E10 CONTAMINATION: A small sample of E10 contamination found in local fuel tanks. Photo Samantha Elley / Rivertown Times Samantha Elley

Ethanol damage starting to show

AS A mechanic for more than 30 years, Greg Slade, of Pro-tec Automotive in Evans Head, has seen plenty of problems with all types of cars.

There is one new problem however, Greg said, that has emerged and "snowballed" in the last 18 months, and it has to do with the type of fuel being put in cars.

"In the last 18 months I've been getting at least two to three cars a week with fuel system problems and it's turned out to be because of the ethanol found in E10 petrol," he said.

"People were coming to me complaining that their car wasn't catching or was sluggish so I'd tune it up for them, but I had no idea what was wrong.

"I suggested they put premium fuel in their car and those who did said their cars ran better."

Petrol Research

After some research Greg came to the conclusion it was the cheap E10 fuel they were putting in their cars that was causing the problems.

"Ethanol is an alcohol-based fuel that absorbs water," he said.

"It can absorb its own weight in water and when it hits saturation point and sits in the bottom of a metal tank, it separates from the ethanol and that's where fuel tanks can rust out. Now 18 months down the track I am getting those cars that kept on using E10 and seeing the damage."

Greg said the worst damage he had to fix was on a Holden Jackaroo where there was corrosion in the fuel tank and fuel pump and the carburettor was blocked.

"That cost the owner $1200 to fix. The fuel can also damage smaller motors such as in outboards, lawn mowers and whipper snippers."

E10 is not cheaper in the long run

While E10 petrol is cheaper, Greg warned in the long run it is not a cheap fuel.

"Fuel consumption goes down and tests have shown that a car runs 10% worse on E10 than with premium. Not to mention that ethanol is plant-based and food crops are replaced with crops for this fuel. It costs more to make than the benefits it's meant to provide."

Symptoms that E10 may be affecting your car:

Slight drop in fuel consumption

Car is sluggish when starting in the mornings

Motor stalls or misses when starting



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