Why Motorcyclist are Concerned About Blender Pumps and E15 and Higher Percentages of Ethanol in Fuel

Information about Ethanol and Blended pumps and why and how they effect Motorcyclists.

Why Motorcyclist are Concerned About Blender Pumps and E15 and Higher Percentages of Ethanol in Fuel

There has been movement in some states against blender pumps or at least ensure that if a station uses blender pumps that dispense E15 it still will have a dedicated pump for E10 or lower percentages of Ethanol.   You may wonder why.   So lets begin with explaining what a blender pump is.

A Blender pump is a gas pump that dispenses multiple grades of fuel using the same hose and nozzle for all the options.  The issue is that the hose and nozzle can hold up to 4 gallons of fuel between uses.  So if someone fills up with 89 octane fuel and then you pull up to use the pump even if you select 91 octane you may get up to 4 gallons of 89 octane before you get the 91 octane.  Even thought this is kind of a rip off for motorcyclist that only get a few gallons at time it only becomes a major problem when they start using these blended pumps to dispense both E10 and E15 Ethanol using the same hose and nozzle.  You may wonder why that is a big deal, so let me tell you a bit about E15 and it’s relationship to Motorcycles.

E10 is 10 percent Ethanol to 90 percent Gasoline.  E15 is 15 percent Ethanol to 85 percent Gasoline.  So what are some of the issues with Ethanol?

  1.  Ethanol mixed with Gasoline tends to attract more moisture than Gasoline alone and it then causes fuel to put in your tank to separate in your tank.  The Ethanol moves to the top and evaporates out, if left to long.  The water moves to the bottom and leaves the Gasoline in the middle.   Most motorcycle tanks feed into the engine from the bottom.  This means you get water in your engine before get gas if you have let your bike sit for a period of time.  
  2. When the fuel is correctly mixed the more Ethanol in the mix the hotter the fuel will burn.  Race fuels that are mostly Ethanol will burn with a Blue or even invisible flame (that is really hot).  This means your engine will run hotter.   (And since you sit on your engine on at motorcycle this can cause not only discomfort but burns when in heavy traffic)
  3. The plastic and rubber parts of your engine are not made to withstand the heat from Ethanol and some even react to the Ethanol and start to break down or fail.  
  4. Your Motorcycle engine is not rated to use anything with a higher percentage of Ethanol than E10.  If you use E15 you are not only going against manufacture recommendations you are voiding your warranty. 
  5. According to EPA using anything higher than E10 in a motorcycle is Illegal!!!   You will be breaking the law if you use E15 in your motorcycle.

So it would be possible with Blended pumps for you to accidently get a tank full of E15 and not only damage your motorcycle and void your warranty but you also broke the law!  It is important to support movements in your local areas to restrict or regulate the Blended pumps to ensure you always have access to E10 or lower fuels that are safe to run in your motorcycle.