Depends on who you ask, but most mechanics now say "yes." This is one
of those great debates where you can get any "expert" advice you want
Some---it used to be a majority, but not any more---say E-10 can be bad
for your engine; all the major car manufacturers say it's safe; and
farmers/corn industry advocates and a handful of mechanics (though none
I've talked to personally) say it's actually better for your car than
Whatever. One thing I can tell you first-hand is that using E-10 WILL
reduce your gas mileage/fuel economy. I found out the hard way; never
paid attention to the sticker at the gas pumps at the station where I
used to fill up.
In search of an answer to why my '04 Malibu Classic did not get
anywhere near EPA sticker fuel economy, I booked up on ethanol and
started filling up at a station that sells non-E-10 regular gasoline.
Immediately I noticed an increase of about 4.5% (or about 1.1 to 1.2
mpg) in gas mileage.
Not a huge difference, but it's there---and it holds true for all
vehicles, from what I've read online. It has to do with the chemical
composition of ethanol vs. gasoline; I'll let someone with more
scientific knowledge than I explain it.
That's why I never buy E-10 or any form of ethanol if I can help it.
The alleged increased air quality/reduced emissions are countered by
the increased use of fuel, so I'm not sure how much "greener" it is in
the long run. Also it costs more....
I like the idea of supporting the U.S. corn industry and other domestic
suppliers of ethanol; I also like the idea of helping the environment.
When the scientific geniuses find a way to mix ethanol into gasoline
without reducing fuel economy and hitting me in the wallet I will sign
on in support.
Till then I am strictly a gasoline guy.
E85 means 85% ethanol, and unless the vehicles is specially designed as
a flex-fuel vehicle you should NOT run E85. GM has a website which
tells you which models offer E85 compatibility and the Malibu is not on
If a vehicle is on that list it means that it was AVAILABLE in a
flex-fuel E85 version, but not all of the vehicles manufactured of a
given year/model are flex-fuel. You have to use a decoder linked at the
bottom of that page to find out if your VIN shows your vehicle to be a
In many markets all of the fuel is 10% ethanol and often the pumps don't
even mention it. All modern vehicles available in North America are
designed to be compatible with such fuels.
You have nothing to worry about and even if you did, there is little you
can do about it.
If you have an older car, replace fuel lines with Heavy Duty Fuel
Hose Rated at 250 psi this fabric covered high tech rubber line
costs about $ 3 a foot, well worth it. 10 % Alcohol fuel is
hard on neoprene type fuel lines. 3/8 = Gates 6LOC Hope this helps
Somewhere around the mid to late '80s the automakers setup their
vehicles to run on a maximum of 10% ethanol blend, so I can't imagine
fuel lines being a problem. I had a '76 AMC Hornet (bought used with 70K
miles) that I ran for about 5 years/80,000 miles with ZERO problems and
24+ mpg highway. I own three vehicles now, two 90s and one 94, with over
500,000 total miles, much of it accumulated running an ethanol blend.
However, I still don't believe ethanol is the answer to anything about
the energy crisis, since it costs more to make it than just about any
other liquefied fuel. It makes corn farmers happy and gets politicians
re-elected, WHILE unnecessarily depleting the 6"-8" of topsoil left on
the farms in this country. A history of ethanol:
Not going to happen. Ethanol has lower energy content per gallon than
does petroleum derived gasoline. There is no way to change that simple
fact. Less energy content means less power produced upon combustion
which in turn means it takes more of the stuff to accomplish a given
amount of work.
Engineering, like all of life, is really about trade-offs and choices.
Stomping your feet and demanding that scientific geniuses find a way
does not make things happen.
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