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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I've been using Shell, largely because I thought it was ethanol-free and therefore might help me avoid the tank spreading problem. However, my regular station here in Austin recently installed new pumps and I noticed a large sticker saying "May contain up to 10% ethanol". This morning while gassing up my car at another Shell station, I noticed a similar sticker.

I've also experienced a noticeable drop in mileage my last three tankfuls - around 7mpg - and my bike hasn't been surging lately idling during warmup like it always did. This has all been prior to installing a Fat Duc, which I did just a few days ago and haven't filled up since. Could this be due to the ethanol?

Texas being large and having a large variation in climate and elevation, I wouldn't expect Texas gas to be formulated the same way all over the state. Has Shell has been using ethanol in this area for a while, and I just didn't notice? Is there an ethanol-free gasoline available in Austin?
 

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I'm no expert at all, but from what I understand is that ethanol helps the fuel burn cleaner for emissions standards. Not necessarily gas mileage. So now that your fuel contains 10% ethanol , there is only 90% fuel ((although ethanol is technically a fuel). Are you getting about 90%ish of your mileage as previous? Did you adjust your fuel/air ratio? Different energy quantities released from the combustion I guess. This may be why it seems that aren't getting the mileage you used to with low ethanol quantity. Not sure how much truth to this is but I believe it.

I have also heard that the carbon foot print to make ethanol isn't worth it anyways. It consumes more non renewable fuels than the worth of producing ethanol, natural gas burned for heating in refining, diesel for tractors/transport/growing/harvesting corn, delivery of corn to plants, storage etc......, but politically sounds like we are making a difference by doing it? Like I said....not an expert but things I have picked up from others.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
mayo - I think you're on to something. Your response caused me to do a little research, and it looks like estimates for mileage loss due to gas with ethanol range from just 1.4% to over 13% when you're talking about a 90/10 gas/ethanol blend. Even the ethanol industry group admits to a 2% loss. It seems like it has a lot to do with the vehicle and even it's location. For instance, vehicles tuned to meet California air standards seem to suffer less than others.

Also, some guy also said that not only does ethanol combust less well than gas, but it also inhibits the gasoline from combusting as well as it would if it were pure (he didn't really explain why though).

Anyway, I'm going to shop around for ethanol-free gas, even if I have to go out of my way. If I find some, I'll post the results.

Of course, my recently adding a Fat Duc will skew things I suppose since most here who've added one have experienced a drop in mpg. :rolleyes:
 

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I've also been on the hunt for ethanol free gas in austin. Let me know if you find some, I haven't yet.

- josh
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I've also been on the hunt for ethanol free gas in austin. Let me know if you find some, I haven't yet.

- josh
josh - i just spoke with Joey at Ducati Austin, and he thinks the Valero across the street from them is eth-free, but he's going to check. I'm taking my bike in there Sat. for the 7500 mile maintenance and will follow up with him on that. I know I'll be due for a fill in the next day or two so will do some searching of my own.

-Greg
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Well I found a Texaco on Brodie in S. Austin that I'm hoping is ethanol-free. There was no sticker anyway.

I guess the proof will be if my mileage bounces back. Got 41.6 mpg my last tank which was burned almost entirely with the Fat Duc. This suggests the FD has lowered my mileage by about 4-5 mpg, but I'll need to run a few more tankfuls to be sure. Even so, I'm with the crowd who says its worth it for a smoother, more enjoyable bike at low speeds.

If I get 45 or so on this tank I'll believe I got 100% gasoline.
 

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If you'd like a little more assurance regarding your gasoline than just relying on mileage, Aircraft Spruce sells this "Gasohol Tester":

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/gasoholTester.php

It also doubles as a screwdriver. Such a deal!

I haven't tried it, but was thinking of buying one.

If you can buy straight gas in town, you're luckier than we are. Here on the Front Range, the stations are required by law to sell ethanol-blended fuel most of the year. It's legal for them to sell straight gas in the summer months, but the last station I knew of that still sold it caved this year and went ethanol. :(

I know of a couple of gas stations about 150 miles away, out of the metro area, that sell straight gas, but it's not too convenient going over there to fill up.

Debby
 

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Discussion Starter #8
If you'd like a little more assurance regarding your gasoline than just relying on mileage, Aircraft Spruce sells this "Gasohol Tester":

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalog/appages/gasoholTester.php

It also doubles as a screwdriver. Such a deal!

I haven't tried it, but was thinking of buying one.

If you can buy straight gas in town, you're luckier than we are. Here on the Front Range, the stations are required by law to sell ethanol-blended fuel most of the year. It's legal for them to sell straight gas in the summer months, but the last station I knew of that still sold it caved this year and went ethanol. :(

I know of a couple of gas stations about 150 miles away, out of the metro area, that sell straight gas, but it's not too convenient going over there to fill up.

Debby
Debby - This ol' Colorado transplant remembers the Front Range mandated ethanol blend alright. Where's that far away straight gas you speak of - Cheyenne? Laramie? Limon?:D Somewhere outside the infamous winter brown cloud's reach no doubt.

I checked out the Gasahol Tester and it does look cool! Small enough to ride in the tool kit, and the screwdriver would be handy for any on-the-fly tweeks I might want to do on the Fat Duc.
 

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good info, ducsculptor. I think I'll find an empty glass jar and try some fuel testing. Can't beat free!

Cesare57, the ethanol-free stations I found are in the Buena Vista - Salida area. I was down there on the GT in September and saw a Shell station with a big banner that said ETHANOL-FREE FUEL!. I asked them about it and they said it's available all year 'round. I should drive down there with a bunch of gas cans and fill up.

Could be more stations elsewhere selling it, but I don't know. How are the winters in Austin? I always feel like heading south this time of year.

Debby
 

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Discussion Starter #12
...Cesare57, the ethanol-free stations I found are in the Buena Vista - Salida area. I was down there on the GT in September and saw a Shell station with a big banner that said ETHANOL-FREE FUEL!. I asked them about it and they said it's available all year 'round. I should drive down there with a bunch of gas cans and fill up.

Could be more stations elsewhere selling it, but I don't know. How are the winters in Austin? I always feel like heading south this time of year.

Debby
Debby - I'd head down there today while the roads are clear:D Much as I miss CO and snow, I have to admit Austin's climate is very conducive to year-round moto-ing. Frosts are infrequent and snow is a rarity - I've only seen one measurable snowfall in the 10 years I've been here. Those famous high velocity chinook winds are non-existant too, so it's easier to stay upright on a bike or a car.

Now if bicycling is also your thing, Boulder is way more bike-friendly, even with its snow, than Austin, especially from a commuting standpoint. That is, as long as you can put up with those occasional 100mph winds that come howling down the canyon!
 

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I E-mailed Shell Canada about Octane Ratings and ETHANOL CONTENT . and they said there was no ethanol in the GOLD (Premium) blend and there MAY be 5% in the Silver blend and there MAY be up to 10% in the Bronze blend
It is about Gov't regulations up here ...

The Shell station owner says that there is no ethanol in any Shell gas in this area because there is not enough ethanol available ( they are in the process of doubling the capacity of the ethanol plant )
There is a Shell ,an ESSO , and a Sunoco refinery ,and an Ethanol plant in a 10 mile area up here ...
You should E-mail Shell and see what the deal is in your area , They were prompt and answered quickly

The Ethanol produced here goes into the Sunoco fuel and Esso fuels
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I E-mailed Shell Canada about Octane Ratings and ETHANOL CONTENT . and they said there was no ethanol in the GOLD (Premium) blend and there MAY be 5% in the Silver blend and there MAY be up to 10% in the Bronze blend
It is about Gov't regulations up here ...

The Shell station owner says that there is no ethanol in any Shell gas in this area because there is not enough ethanol available ( they are in the process of doubling the capacity of the ethanol plant )
There is a Shell ,an ESSO , and a Sunoco refinery ,and an Ethanol plant in a 10 mile area up here ...
You should E-mail Shell and see what the deal is in your area , They were prompt and answered quickly

The Ethanol produced here goes into the Sunoco fuel and Esso fuels
Scott2 - I took your suggestion and emailed Shell America. I mentioned what you said about how the gas in your area is formulated, and asked if they do something similar here. I'm pretty certain that all grades here contain ethanol, because I always put in premium, yet as I mentioned earlier in the thread, my bike has displayed symptoms of burning gas with ethanol.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what they say.
 

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fwiw I ordered some of the test solution drops and a test vial. I don't trust the people who run the gas stations (their business is selling chips and soda), and I don't trust the gasoline companies (these are the people who put one hose coming from a pump that sells 3 different grades of gas... they aren't even subtle about the fact that they sell "octane soup"). I have quite a few toys and tools that have plastic tanks or other bits in the fuel system that will be harmed by ethanol so it's worth a few bucks to know for certain what I'm putting in them.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Heard back from Shell America re ethanol in their gas in the Austin area. Here's what they said-

"Thank you for bringing your concerns to our attention. Customer comments are important to us as they enable us to improve our service to the public.

All grades of Shell gasoline in the Austin area did recently change to a blend containing 10% ethanol. Other Texas cities such as Dallas and Houston converted all grades several years ago to blends containing 10% ethanol. Shell gasoline containing up to 10% ethanol is approved by all vehicle manufacturers and has the new Nitrogen Enriched cleaning system and is Top Tier certified.

The use of ethanol in gasoline is being driven by EPA's Renewable Fuels Standard, which applies to all gasoline brands.

You are correct about the ethanol content of Shell gasoline in Canada.

We appreciate the opportunity to serve you in this matter and look forward to providing you with quality Shell branded products and service in the future."

So it's official - Shell now uses ethanol and does so in all grades - in Austin anyway.:(
 

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Now you know! Just a thought ,, Nitrogen enriched??? What a load of Hooey! Isn't air something like 70% nitrogen anyways ????
I would contact other refiners and see what they say?
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Now you know! Just a thought ,, Nitrogen enriched??? What a load of Hooey! Isn't air something like 70% nitrogen anyways ????
I would contact other refiners and see what they say?
Yeah, I got their nitrogen enriched gas right here - phhHHHHHHT:D
 

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I got my tester (the vial) today and tested some gas I had in a can.. no ethanol. Then I used a big syringe and some fuel line to suck some out of the tank of my duc and tested the gas from it (a soup of gas from riding in East TN and West NC) and it showed 5% ethanol.

I think this method of testing is way too cumbersome for doing out on a ride, but probably a very good idea to do at home before parking it for weeks or months with the same gas in the tank. You need a little bit of water, but the big thing is once you've done the test you have a vial that contains gas AND water. At home I can dump that out on the driveway to evaporate, but that's not an option at a gas station. The test drops are the way to go if you're away from home..
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Offically ending the quest for ethanol-free gas

I thought I'd found a convenience store with Texaco not too far out of my way, but in spite of it lacking a sticker saying it had ethanol, the guy there was "90%" sure it did. Makes sense since how could one little Texaco convenience store have the pull to request ethanol-free deliveries?

Anyway, when I was in the Ducati shop the other day and discussing the matter, one of the salesman pointed out the US bikes are tuned to California, so to speak, in order to meet their emissions requirements. He said that since CA has ethanol gas, the bikes are tuned to run best with an ethanol blend.

I can honestly say I don't feel an appreciable loss of performance, although since I just had my 7500 mile service, the bike's seems snappier anyway. No doubt there's a mileage decrease due to the ethanol, because where I was regularly getting low-50s, I'm now getting mid-40s. I installed a Fat Duc recently, but since my mileage seems about the same as it was running eth-gas pre-Fat Duc, I think the drop is pretty much just due to the ethanol.

I'm one of the lucky ones who's dodged the tank-spreading bullet thus far, perhaps due to having ethanol-free gas. So I'm concerned about what'll happen with the tank now. When I mentioned this to the salesguy, he said he'd never even heard of the problem!

Anyway, I guess time will tell:confused:
 
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