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Nerys 03-22-2010 04:11 PM

Removing Ethanol from Gasoline
I have decided for my own peace of mind I need to get to the bottom of this.

going to GET ethanol free fuel is very expensive. $12 in tolls 5 hours in time $80 in fuel plus the gas to actually get their and back and $60 in gas cans to legally MOVE that much fuel.

I just don't have that much time or gas on a hunch well more than a hunch but still no solid PROOF.

I feel ethanol is crippling my fuel economy to the tune of 13% to 30% depending on which vehicle you ask me about and whether I buy wawa gas or joes gas :-)

SO I want to try removing the ethanol and "see" what happens. I have an extreme lack of knowledge in this arena of fuel gasoline ICE's and Chemistry.

I finally got off my lazy butt and built my self a rig to do this.

I cut the top off a 5 gallon water juck. I used a ball valve for a toilet and small pipe through a hole in the bottom and used epoxy putty to seal it all up and put it together. Works a treat and only cost me $8 in stuff.

I dump 3-4 gallons of gas in the rig and them dump a gallon of WATER into the rig. stir it up really good let it sit an hour stir it up really good again let it sit an hour.

Drain off the water/ethanol out the bottom. Add another gallon water to rinse the gasoline further stir sit drain.

now I have gasoline minus most of the ethanol. I put that back into a gas can and start the next batch. I only need 2 5 gallon pails at a time so this keeps things safe and easy.

IE I just "do this" in real time as I need it so I don't have giant cans of gas lying around waiting for an accident.

NOW here is where I have some questions and issues that I am hoping you guys can help me with.

I know ethanol is an octane booster. 2.75points for E10

I use wawa because it has the lowest ethanol content so it might even be lower. I measured wawa at 6-8% and joes gas at 11-13% most other stations 9-11% so I only goto wawa. I used to also use sunoco as they were also 6-8% but one tank my mpg tanked again I lose 4mpg so I checked it again it was over 11% so its wawa only now.

now the %'s above might not be accurate but they don't have to be for my purpose only the relative differences are relevant IE whos lower.

I get 47-48mpg summer (I will get more now since I slowed down to 45mph) on wawa gas and I get 42-43mpg on joes gas. and thats just between the two Ethanol blends !!!

that means I will be putting at best 84. to 84.5 octane gas into my 3cyl metro. How's it going to take that? what results can I expect?

I also learned that gasoline can hold some water in solution! anyway to DRY gas without adding alcohol? ie seperate the water and gas? or does it not present a problem when I dump so much water into it?

I tried adding just a "capful" of water to the gas and it did not dissolve it went to the bottom and stayed their. even stiring it up once settled the water was still their. Does this mean its not taking water or worse it already is saturated with water? Problems issues? is solution water ok as long as it does not phase separate?

Also what about the OTHER chemicals in the gasoline. will my process also remove that? What effect will not having those have?

this is short term since I am only doing it long enough to see if the ethanol has that much of an impact on the FE. but if the lack of those checmicals etc.. effects mpg its important as it might invalidate the test.


I can solve the octane issue if I have to buy purchasing premium gas that way when I lose the octane points I "end up" at regular octane levels anyway.

rmay635703 03-22-2010 06:47 PM

Right, the only way I know of a normal person removing ethanol is just as you are doing; to cause phase separation by mixing with water (only takes about 3%) and as you can guess although the ethanol and water sink to the bottom this is certainly not something you want to do for obvious reasons.

Next most premium gas DOES NOT have ethanol and would be suitable for your tests AS-IS a much more prudent method.

Gas as its called has over 200 compounds in it so it is rather difficult to state what exactly you will end up with after adding water besides gas with water in it.


jesimpki 03-22-2010 07:09 PM

Why would you want to waste perfectly good fuel? Sure, you will get slightly better fuel economy after you remove the alcohol, but at the cost of ~10% of the original volume. Slightly better fuel economy, but lower range.

After all, the energy content difference between E10 and Regular(No Ethanol) is only about 3.2%.

I say just use it. Regular E10 with the ethanol removed will have a lower octane rating, but buying premium to make up for this only ends up costing you more. One of the main purposes of adding ethanol to gas is to reduce overall gasoline consumption by stretching current supplies by "improving" the octane rating of poorer gasoline.

While it is an interesting concept to remove the alcohol for slightly better fuel economy ratings, it isn't cost effective in the long run.

Nerys 03-22-2010 07:20 PM

but I am losing MORE than 10% of my fuel economy. Energy content is not really relevant. There are other factors that determine how a fuel will burn.

For example most older cars are actually UNABLE to ignite ethanol at all. Instead the gasoline ignite at the "spark" moment and later the flame front burns the ethanol. ie delayed burn vastly reducing the efficiency of the entire system (newer cars are programmed with a hotter "spark" to compensate for this difference)

3.2% is only on paper strictly speaking and ignores the very complex reality of our engines.

My jeep went from 22-23 to 19-20 that well over 10%
My Voyager went from 28 to 20 thats well over 10%
My Clubwagon went from 19 to 14-15 well over 10%

My metro should EASILY hose 60mpg without even trying.

now I max at 45-48mpg 50-51mpg if I slow down to 45mph (stock in 1994 it would have busted 60mpg at 55mph without you having to try very hard)

this is way way way over 10% difference. I have 4 other vehicles all seeing similar 15-20% FE loses from ethanol.

This is not for long term. The purpose is to either confirm or deny the massive loss I am seeing is from Ethanol addition.

if the test indicates this to be the case the next step would be to travel a distance to a non ethanol gas station (there is one about 2 hours from me) but I don't have the $200 or so dollars that experiment would cost me so I need to confirm if its worth doing first)

if that test ALSO confirms the issue the next step is to get political and force them to stop using ethanol.

at this rate if the ethanol is the source of my problems it means I am buying 572 MORE gallons of gasoline every year NOT LESS so ethanol (in older cars) is INCREASING our demand for oil not reducing it.

sure I guess if everyone was rich and could afford to just buy brand new cars this would not be an issue.

I can not and will not "throw" away my cars because the corn industry wants to lobby for more money.

I tested my local premium and it also had ethanol at 10% Where did you hear or see premium not having ethanol?

Nerys 03-22-2010 07:26 PM

I am still wondering is the water content a threat? is it something I should worry about? is there a way to test if gasoline is holding water in solution? Ways to remove it without alcohol?

Frank Lee 03-22-2010 07:33 PM

Strange how most everyone else's stuff runs on fuel containing ethanol.

Oh well, good luck with your experiment. Maybe there's another reason your local "boutique" blend burns less efficiently? Do you have evidence that everyone else burning the same fuels you do (more than a few select friends and family) is having the same problems?

jesimpki 03-22-2010 07:37 PM

Sorry Nerys, I guess I jumped the gun. I assumed you were doing this long term.

As to removing the water, I would suggest zeolite maybe or Silica "Gel" beads that come in beef jerky packages and the like. You just have to heat it up to evaporate the water in order to reuse it again. I've heard this is how gasohol home-brewers remove the water from their ethanol before mixing. I would assume this method wouldn't also absorb gasoline.

Nerys 03-22-2010 08:02 PM

You know frank you could be right. Maybe its not the Ethanol. I don't know. all anecdotal evidence clearly says its fuel. This "appears" to be confirmed when I go out of state where ethanol is not used as much and my Fuel Economy suddenly returns to normal.

I will still fully admit it could be my cars. but WHAT could afflict so many cars from some many generations and manufacturer's all the same way? as for testing on NON ethanol after going to ethanol I have only done that on 3 cars.

The van when I travel out of state. its mileage returned to normal.

The Jeep I ran it on stale gas from the RV and its FE went back to normal while I was on that gas (it was 4 or 5 years old so it was pre ethanol at the time over a year ago)

My minivan. when I changed the fuel pump in my second it still had about 10 gallons of pre ethanol fuel in the tank. I thought it was bad fuel (it was the pump not the fuel)

not wanting to waste what was at the time $40 in gasoline I decided to dump it into the minivan filling its take with almost the entire 10 gallons.

on that nearly 50/50 mixture my MPG's went up to 26 (not quite the 28 I used to get) on the next tank it was back down to 18mpg (this was before I found out wawa got me better mpg's)

but I admit as daming as this is its not long term enough to be conclusive thats why I want to try this. Get to the bottom of it even if it means its not the fuel at least I will know.

al_capwn 03-22-2010 08:40 PM

wow, i had no idea one could remove eth from gas... sweeeet. :thumbup:

eth-gas-water article:

Phase-seperated gas is contaminated and should never be used in engines. Not only does seperated fuel create obvious problems, (E.G. poor performance and release of water into engine causing rusting of parts), phase seperation will also distort the hundreds of other ingredients that gasoline contains.

Ethanol-blend fuels will lower MPG in most engines; fuel efficiency can decrease by 2-40%

the site also sells eth test solution which i might actually buy now
still... i am going to dive deeper into the topic

i never EVER put oxygenated fuel in my Audi, as it voids the warranty on my engine.

basjoos 03-22-2010 09:16 PM

You can also strain the gasoline/water mix through a chamois leather "cloth" to separate the gasoline. Presoak the chamois in clean gasoline and it will pass gasoline, but not water. Pour off the water as it accumulates on top of the chamois.

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