Stick with E10, Kathy

Someone sent me information about E15 ethanol gas, and how even AAA says not to use it on a car older than 2012. It said it can cause corrosion to the fuel line and goes to the bottom of the tank. What do you know about it?

— Kathy, Jacksonville

We understand your concern, Kathy. For some of us, our cars are like our babies. For others here at SYA headquarters, the same phrase applies, but only because both cars and babies have gas and don't drive themselves when given keys.

But we digress.

We want to make sure you fill up without fear, so we went straight to Marie Dodds, director of public and government affairs at AAA.

It turns out you're right that E15, or gasoline mixed with 15 percent ethanol, can be harmful to your car unless you're driving a new Ford, new GM vehicle, newer Porsche, or a car with a "flex-fuel" badge on it.

The fuel was authorized for sale by the EPA in June 2012. According to a news release AAA issued on the matter, 12 automakers have explicitly or implicitly stated that their warranties won't cover damage to engines caused by E15 gasoline.

Before you go refining your own gasoline for fear of voiding your warranty, you should know that information is relevant only if you're going on a road trip.

"It's only available in a handful of gas stations in the Midwest," Dodds said. "It's certainly not a huge threat, but it's something our members need to be aware of."

Dodds explained that E15 is different from E10, gasoline with 10 percent ethanol, a fuel commonly available in Oregon.

"There's a lot of confusion because E10 is the common fuel," she said. "E10 is considered safe and acceptable for most vehicles," meaning most mass-produced cars on the road today, exceptions primarily being antique vehicles.


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