The Urban Air Initiative (UAI) has released a study that finds ethanol free gasoline blends actually increase the wear and tear on engines including hoses, seals and fuel tanks. In other words, the data supports ethanol blends lead to cleaner engines. The findings were presented at the semi-annual meeting of ASTM by Steve Vander Griend, technical director for UAI who also works for ICM.
The report demonstrated that high aromatic content of gasoline, including toxic aromatics like benzene and toluene, negatively impact engine parts. Vander Griend explained in his presentation that the toxic aromatics create a significant increase in the escape of harmful emissions that can have a devastating impact on public health as these are considered by the Environmental Protection Agency has known and suspected carcinogens.
“What we are seeing is that benzene and toluene are increasing permeation, which means increasing the amount of fuel vapors that seep from a vehicle. For anyone who has a garage at home and smells gasoline, vapors are escaping through the vehicles fuel system or small engine gas tank,” said Vander Griend.
Also during his presentation Vander Griend explained that extensive testing was conducted on fuel lines, gas containers, and plastic components. The materials were each soaked in straight gasoline (E0) and a 10 percent ethanol blend (E10) for extended periods of time. In every case, said Vander Griend, the ethanol free gasoline increased the damage to fuel lines, gas containers, and plastic components, while the materials soaked in E10 were impacted less.
“The notion that somehow ethanol free gasoline is a superior product could not be further from the truth,” continued Vander Griend. “In our home town of Wichita [Kansas], the average E0 has 46% more benzene and toluene by volume than the same 87 octane blend with ethanol. The fuel costs more and presents a mechanical and health risk that is incorrectly being attributed to ethanol.”
Vander Griend called on ASTM to establish a task force to define maximum levels of aromatics in gasoline and to establish standards for the use of toluene as a blend component and ASTM said it will begin to study the aromatic levels of gasoline.