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by Matt Brogan

Manildra Group’s Dick Honan has struck up a deal with BP to sell an ethanol-petrol blend fuel through their QLD, NSW & ACT outlets as of October 1st. NSW motorists will also be offered an incentive of 3c per litre off when they purchase the blended fuel.

The twelve month contract will see 40 million litres of ethanol supplied to BP, and may be renewed for an additional two years pending the trial’s success.

While much debate still continues over the pros and cons of ethanol blended fuels (and if any overall benefit is achieved), I’d strongly advise consulting your owner’s manual or dealership before dashing out to fill ‘er up.

Some manufacturers still advise against the use of these fuels and whilst, in Australia at least, the blends are only between 2 and 10%, an expensive rebuild won’t be covered by warranty if you’re found to be in breach of manufacturer’s guidelines.

  • Grumps

    I had a 2000 model Nissan Maxima and after about 8 months it started to get a pinging noise in the engine and would flat spot.

    Nissan techs couldn’t find the problem but I believe it was caused from ethanol in the fuel.

    Unbeknownst to me, where I used to fill up the fuel was a 10% ethanol blend. This was before the new labelling laws came into effect so I missed the teeny weeny sticker on the side of the pump.

    It didn’t matter for long though, because the Maxima was a sandwich in a five car crash and was written off.

  • Bob

    You must have been speeding :o)

  • Grumps

    Haha :)

    No I wasn’t actually. I was on the way to work and some dope half a dozen cars in front decided to brake heavily for no reason.

    Of course this had the flow-on effect of everyone behind said dope slamming on the anchors and running into the car in front of them. I tried to avoid a collision but the left lane was blocked and the oncoming lane was full so all I could do was brake and hope for the best.

    I just nudged into the car in front but the person behind me hit me doing about 60km/h and bent my poor Maxima out of shape.

    I was watching her in the rearview mirror and said to my wife “Shit, hold on” and then ‘wham’ !

  • Bavarian Missile

    I don’t know about you guys but BP Ultimate is the only fuel we use . All the cheaper variants of 98 seem to make the BA ping . The M3 isn’t fussed, but I still put Ultimate in her.

  • Steve V

    Grumps, sounds like a whole row of dopes to me!

    I wish someone would finally give us a definitive answer on the whole ethanol thing. Surely it can’t be that hard to run tests when you are raking in billions in tax revenue and/or company profits!!!

  • Oakley

    Ford tested a BA on pure ethanol a while ago, from the moment it was built it only ran on 100% ethanol. I watched it on abc on Catalyst or something, and they highlighted the reason ethanol has a bad reputation is because they introduced ehanol into fuels around the same time as when some fuel servo’s where putting paint thinners into their fuels, along with paint thinners, ethanol has suffered from a repuation problem. Ethanol just got put under the same bad fuel umbrella. Anyways, the falcon has been running fine and ford says all falcons produced after 1986 meaning all unleaded falcons can run fine on ethanol. If your car can run on LPG it will run ethanol fine, in fact i had an old ’86 fairmont with a webber which had a bit of a miss and stutter after some heavy rain, so i thought some water got in the fuel system somewhere, because the fuel cap was leaking, i fixed that quick! so i put some metho in to dissolve the water and it cleared it up within a few minutes of idling. The main problems associated with running 100% ethanol are the same problems as LPG, since ethanol has very little lubrication ability and ethanol has a lower boiling point than petrol meaning it absorbes less heat from the motor making it run hotter. So mixing petrol with ethanol is not bad, fords tested it and its fine. For other cars, yes there may be a problem. But if you own a falcon good on ya!

  • Andrew. M

    the problem i see with ethanol is price. people will not run a substitute fuel in their car if it is not significantlly cheaper, otherwise why run it if it costs more.
    ford overcome the lubrication issues with gas by running different piston rings i believe. otherwise you could run a cylinder lubricant such as lubrimax which would be set up similar to how people overcome the additive problem associated with leaded fuel motors running on unleaded.
    but anyway i think ethanol is a joke and it is like fat people drinking diet coke. they do it as a guilt thing and think it makes everything ok. if people were serious they would at least convert to gas especially now the government is pretty much forking the bill

  • Oakley

    Yeah thats the problem, cost. Since its being mixed with petrol it still gets a tax on it. Ethanol is probably the best alternative for the people that think LPG is weak and slow. But any way that we could reduce our carbon footprint (yes i’m a greeny) is great.

    Andrew, ford made the valve seats and valves harder in the E-Gas motor since the metal gets hotter as petrol is not cooling them down. The bottom end is exactly the same as the petrol version i think, the bottom end in falcons are pretty tough anyway. The upper cylinder lubrication some LPG cars have; its a little bottle you fill up with flashlube or similar, is because the original head has valve stem guids that are made of a softer metal and cannot handle the extra heat and less lubrication. I did all the work on my EB myself over a weekend, so i didnt have to deal with the buying extra additives and crap, so all i do is pay for fuel. All up the cost of the better head which ford still sells at a massive premium and seals and gaskets cost me a little over $850 on top of the $2700 LPG conversion. I’ve got my falcon tuned so good on LPG it uses 8L/100ks of LPG. But obviously for the average person, (not saying im better than average) to do the things i did would cost close to 5 grand (because of labour) which is not attractive so they wont change over to LPG. So for most people ethanol is the best alternative to petrol, but then also the problem of production levels of ethanol which is very low makes ethanol expensive. So looks like we are stuck with petrol for a while and everyone will have to drive little cars.

  • Old Truckie

    Ethanl is O.K if it is blended correctly with the coal based fuel at the refinery. Most suppliers of mixed fuels load the petrol tanker’s compartment to 90% capacity at the fuel terminal and then drive to another load point and then add the ethanol (10%) on top of the petrol load. Transporting the load of mixed fuel 1 km or 100 kms will not blend the fuel. Ethanol is lighter than Petrol and is not coal / oil based, and so will not blend correctly unless blended togather during the tanker loading process.
    Result – at the servo, the petrol will settle into the bottom of storage tank and ethanol rises to the top, Fuel bowsers draw product from near the bottom of the storage tank. As the storage tank levels get low, the ethanol content will be greater than the prescribe 10 % level.
    Ask the truckie that delivers it if he puts it in his car.

  • Oakley

    Old Truckie, yeah that makes sense! Hmmm Not good. This is off the topic but going down the freeway here in perth i passed a bloke in a Falcon which probably run out of fuel because he was holding a bright red fuel container and a massive Shell fuel truck which i was behind pulled over for him, the bloke had a massive smile on his face because it was a 10km walk to the next fuel station. I think the question the trucky would have said… How much do ya want? I’m sure the fuel station wouldnt notice 60L missing out of a few thousand lol.

  • Borosa

    I filled my 94 Ford Courier 2.6l up at the Shell yesterday with E10 just to “try it out”. First problem was, I didn’t check the compatibility chart first, and second, I was headed for a 2 hour drive on the Putty Road in the middle of nowhere!

    3/4 of the way there I noticed that the car would lose power, or effectively “die” when I put my foot down for some power… We made it to Singleton, loaded up and headed back to Sydney where the problem became that much worse! Only happens when the motor is good and hot, after around 45 mins of driving. We almost didn’t make it up some of the hills. I had to have a feather touch on the throttle to keep her going, and high revvs made it that much worse. Pulled over to let her cool down made all the difference and we made it home. This is with a reco motor that has travelled only 2500km’s! I’m going to run this tank out and never use E10 again.

    I found out late last night on the compatibility website that Ford Courier/Mazda B2600’s are not compatible with any ethanol blended fuel, E5 or E10. Whoops!

  • Me.

    I know alot of people coming in to the workshop with their car running sh!t because they used E10 fuel.
    Ethanol is only good for modern fuel-injected cars.

  • Borosa

    Will running out 1 tank cause any damage to the motor (a $3000 reco unit that I don’t want to void my warranty on) or fuel delivery systems or should I cut my losses and drain and refill?

    No more long trips are planned, just puttering around town. It runs fine during short trips of around 20-30kms.

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