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Out of curiosity I ran an engine oil analysis, ordered through WIX on amazon, but actual oil analysis test was done by ALS Tribology. My current working hypothesis is that Ethanol is very bad, unless someone else has a more reasonable hypothesis?

from the report:
DIAGNOSIS
Engine wear levels appear satisfactory for run-in
period. Silicon level is most likely due to seal and
gasket material reaction with the lubricant. Water
content acceptable. TBN below recommended limit.
Viscosity within specified operating range. Action:
Resample at next recommended interval to monitor
and establish wear trend.

There were a few caution warnings [everything else was good], which a little research has led me to pointing to Ethanol as the most likely culprit.
-Silicon was 194 ppm. In the diagnosis they say "Silicon level is most likely due to seal and gasket material reaction with the lubricant". However, it is also quite common knowledge that Ethanol is bad for gaskets and can cause them to break down.

-Copper was 101 ppm. I was thinking why in the world would copper levels be higher in the oil as copper is a soft metal and I cant imagine that it is used much in an engine, in which friction/movement would result in copper wear. Anyhow, a bit more googling and Ethanol seems to be the logical culprit. Ethanol in the presence of bacteria results in acetic acid, which is very corrosive to copper. So ethanol is likely corroding some at the source [eg. gas station tanks/pumps] or maybe even in my vehicle. Source: https://www.dieselnet.com/news/2014/07nist.php

-TBN level [Potassium hydroxide KOH] = 2.9 mgKOH/mg was flagged as being low [should be 3 or more]. TBN is a base to counteract acid. The hypothesis of Ethanol being bad [ie. acetic acid] is also supported by the low TBN content.

So there are 3 smoking guns that support my hypothesis of Ethanol being bad:
-Copper, Silicon, and low TBN.

Not to mention it seems questionable to be turning food into fuel and creating food inflation. There are significant petroleum inputs needed to plant, fertilize, harvest, and process corn into ethanol, it doesn't seem like a big win for the environment.

As a result I'm going to avoid our regular E10 gas. note I do use toptier regular gas. But of course toptier regular gas has ethanol in it. The only way to avoid it around here is to go premium gas. I know I will pay around 10% more for premium, but I will get 3-4% better mileage [not to mention avoiding all the potential problems of ethanol], since pure gasoline has a higher energy content than gasoline with ethanol. So overall it doesn't seem like that much of a premium to avoid potential pitfalls of ethanol.

I know there has been previous debates that you don't benefit from premium if your engine is designed for regular, but keep in mind we are not comparing 100% regular gas to 100% premium gas. The problem is that regular gas is like 90% gas and 10% Ethanol so it has less energy. Source: https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/ethanol.shtml. The only way to get 100% gas around where I live is to go premium.

FYI, my odometer has approx 14,000km on it, so it getting to be oil change time, which I will accelerate since TBN is below the recommended range. However, more frequent oil changes do not address the ongoing root cause of the problem, which is that the Ethanol seems to be causing copper corrosion, gasket wear and consuming TBN in the oil. After my current tank is done, I'm going premium. i.e. No more ethanol for me.
 

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In Oregon all grades of gasoline dispensed as motor vehicle fuel contain 10% ethanol. There are a few stations which sell non-ethanol premium gas but it costs about US$1.00 per U.S gallon more.
 

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$1/more for 100% gasoline is quite a premium!!!

After efficiency gain is taken into account, I figure I will pay about 6% more for gas. So quite a bit more reasonable to ditch ethanol.
 

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I also would like to ditch ethanol but with the current political climate here it looks like we're going to be stuck with it in Oregon and the U.S. forever. In the U.S. now it's largely a sellout to the agricultural interests. A few years back when the U.S. was having to import oil because domestic production wasn't sufficient ethanol was seen as the answer and also sold politically as being a "renewable" fuel, but now the U.S. is exporting petroleum so the political element has changed. Ethanol also is being touted as an octane booster and supposedly to help lessen exhaust pollution.
 
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Jay Leno*also hates ethanol because it damage his old cars. I don't have cars that old but it definitely damage my yard power equipment. I have to now drive far away to the lake where they sell non-ethanol gas for boat to use on the small engines.

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The first poster sure eating all the typical myths of ethanol and saying all the typical things.. Now tell me what you think about this: My father in law is an ethanol supporter. He was long before it was even in gas. So seeing an E-85 pump was a dream come true for him. He got a new pickup truck, ran it on E-85 90% of the time and got to 300,000 miles no problem. But here it goes. 1. The first poster blames all problems on ethanol. The typical thing to do when an anti-ethanol mechanic would do than really telling there customer what the problem really was. 2. Diverting away from food source. No one eats field corn. It is usually animal feed. Plus, animals only need the protein part of corn, the ethanol only need the carbohydrate part. 3. Blame inflation of food prices on ethanol. Sure its easy for that to divert the attention away from the real problem. The Wall Street traders.
 

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I have seen thousands of used oil analysis' on Bobistheoilguy. Never once have the labs come up with the conclusions above. Silicon is almost always high on a new engine as is copper and other metals. Switching to premium (no ethanol) fuel will not lead to more miles per gallon in fact it may be the exact opposite. Low TBN has many causes including running the oil too long but not E10. What was the actual TBN number?

Older collector cars? You bet ethanol can cause problems as they are not designed for it.
This reminds me of Chicken Little screaming "The sky is falling" in an old fable. I just don't believe any of the alleged problems caused by E10.

I would send the next oil sample to a different lab next time.
 

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Here are a few problems with Ethanol. First, we all know that water get in to the engine is not a good thing. It causes engine corrosion. Fortunately, water and gas don't mix. Therefore, for whatever reason, if water can get in to the gasoline supply, it stays separate from gasoline and because it's heavier then gas, it stay at the bottom. We can easily drain away water. When you add ethanol to gas, ethanol is like alcohol, it can mix with water. Your gas is now can contain water. Water in the engine causes corrosion. You see new cars now advertising "flex-fuel" because they're equipped with anti-corrosion parts. But what happens to older cars and your small engines like movers, trimmer, blowers, etc...? Second, ethanol gas is less fuel efficient, not more, and it pollutes more than gas without ethanol. Thirdly, the government uses our tax dollars for incentive to farmers to grow corn. Therefore, more farmers will grow corn rather than other crops. This will results in higher food price and our tax money not so well spending. I see the future of electric cars is coming. More and more car manufacturers are making mass production electric cars. New solid state battery promised even quicker charge time. California along many municipalities from other countries like the United Kingdom, Norway, France, the Netherlands, India, and China want to go non Fossil Fuel cars in the near future. When that time come in the US, what will the government do with the many farmers who grow corn, give them money for not growing corn?
 

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Ethanol is a terrible idea and the argument that it's only feed corn is nonsense. The ethanol crops do impact food and feed prices, by taking away valuable agricultural lands that would other wise be growing a useful marketable crop. Another issue I have is with it being stuffed down our throats, we have no choice but to buy it as the politicians have made sure that we cannot go to a pump and buy fuel without ethanol in most places. Let the market decide, more wear on your engine, corrosion, less horsepower, more polluting, and less fuel mileage.

Of course the future should be hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, most abundant resource in the universe, non polluting (only water vapor), and would be very cheap once production ramps up. Of course if would eventually kill most of the fossil fuel industry so it may never happen.
 

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There are many good reasons to conclude that Ethanol in gas is not a great idea. However, none of them are the reasons stated in the 1st post here. Here we have Ethanol 10% year round and there's no evidence to suggest it has any negative effects on engines.
 

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Ethanol is a terrible idea and the argument that it's only feed corn is nonsense. The ethanol crops do impact food and feed prices, by taking away valuable agricultural lands that would other wise be growing a useful marketable crop. Another issue I have is with it being stuffed down our throats, we have no choice but to buy it as the politicians have made sure that we cannot go to a pump and buy fuel without ethanol in most places. Let the market decide, more wear on your engine, corrosion, less horsepower, more polluting, and less fuel mileage.

Of course the future should be hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, most abundant resource in the universe, non polluting (only water vapor), and would be very cheap once production ramps up. Of course if would eventually kill most of the fossil fuel industry so it may never happen.
Total typical bs here. When has corn not been a useful marketable crop? Always was, long before ethanol showed up in your gasoline. People that say this stuff don't understand agriculture. The Wall Street Traders and there cronies have been blaming ethanol as the reason for the increase in food prices, so the public blames ethanol than them(the Wall Street Trader). Proof in point, in 2008 when prices were rising, the trading future of corn was going through the roof. Hence, food prices had to go up, because buying corn wasn't cheap. Well guess what else was going through the roof, remember, the barrel of oil. Remember when gas prices were really shooting up? And they couldn't blame ethanol either. I talked to numerous mechanics and most pretty much wrote the anti-ethanol people off, because the problems they claim would happen, that work never showed up in there shop.
 

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In Oregon boat owners and gasoline powered aircraft are exempt from having to use ethanol-laced gasoline. One problem is that ethanol is hygroscopic, so that ethanol gas absorbs moisture. Boat owners had a lot of problems with ethanol gasoline causing starting problems since the absorbed water sinks to the bottoms of fuel tanks and then was drawn up into engine fuel systems, causing the problem. Aircraft have been exempted because of the obvious safety problem of an engine in flight having its fueling system impacted by water, even though pilots with some aircraft can partially drain fuel tanks in preflight checks.


Most modern cars are equipped to deal with E-10, but many manufacturers including Toyota have stated that if E-15 is mandated and E-10 eliminated that will void all engine warranties.
 

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[... it is about ethanol ...] 3. Blame inflation of food prices on ethanol.
Beef prices are coupled with corn feed. More corn diverted to fuel use means less available to feed cattle. Just making a point hoping for a cogent rebuttal. I don't care, don't eat beef but I care for the truth.
 

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In Oregon all grades of gasoline dispensed as motor vehicle fuel contain 10% ethanol. There are a few stations which sell non-ethanol premium gas but it costs about US$1.00 per U.S gallon more.
Same in California. Ethanol is not available for on-hwy vehicles. It can be obtained at some fuel docks for marine use. It can also be found at racing fuel suppliers... but it's 110 octane and not worth the price for a daily driver.


Copper in oil is an indication of bearing wear and some appearing in the used oil is perfectly normal.
 

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Most modern cars are equipped to deal with E-10, but many manufacturers including Toyota have stated that if E-15 is mandated and E-10 eliminated that will void all engine warranties.
All new Toyotas are capable of up to E-15. The statements are made for older ones. Even today some other auto manufacturers still say no E-15 in there new vehicles.
 

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Beef prices are coupled with corn feed. More corn diverted to fuel use means less available to feed cattle. Just making a point hoping for a cogent rebuttal. I don't care, don't eat beef but I care for the truth.
I also do care for the truth too. The ethanol industry uses distillate grain. What that is, is the carbohydrate part is separated from the protein part of corn. The animals feed industry don't need the carbohydrate part, and the ethanol industry doesn't need the protein part. So it goes hand in hand. No one is losing food. Its all a Wall Street ploy to blame it on ethanol. The only big loser would be the alcoholic beverage industry as they would want the carbohydrate part, well you know ethanol is basically alcohol. As far as I am concerned, alcoholic beverages are not a necessity.
 

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All new Toyotas are capable of up to E-15. The statements are made for older ones. Even today some other auto manufacturers still say no E-15 in there new vehicles.
Am not certain what if any the cutoff year would be. This is a quote from Toyota in 2015:

“Moving from E10 to E15 represents a 50% increase in the alcohol content of the fuel compared to what the vehicles were designed to accept…Accordingly, Toyota cannot recommend the use of fuel with greater than E10 (10% ethanol) for Toyota vehicles currently on the road, except for the FFV’s [emphasis added].”
 

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Am not certain what if any the cutoff year would be. This is a quote from Toyota in 2015:

“Moving from E10 to E15 represents a 50% increase in the alcohol content of the fuel compared to what the vehicles were designed to accept…Accordingly, Toyota cannot recommend the use of fuel with greater than E10 (10% ethanol) for Toyota vehicles currently on the road, except for the FFV’s [emphasis added].”

The only source I found for that quote isn't from Toyota, read you owner's manual, it clearly states up to 15% ethanol is acceptable on page 604 of the HV manual.




Use only gasoline containing up to 15%ethanol.

DO NOT use any flex-fuel or gasoline


that could contain more than 15% ethanol,


including from any pump labeled


E30, E50, E85 (which are only some


examples of fuel containing more than


15% ethanol).



 

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The only source I found for that quote isn't from Toyota, read you owner's manual, it clearly states up to 15% ethanol is acceptable on page 604 of the HV manual.


[/B]
Or your gas cap, if its original. My RAV4 Hybrid allows up to E-15 and I have used it already. Can't tell a difference in mpg between E-10 and E-15.
 
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