Mechanics Corner: Bioethanol: Try It for Yourself

What keeps drivers from using biofuels like bioethanol in their cars?

This question has perplexed us for as long as bioethanol has been around. When we pull up to a pump, it’s our first instinct to reach for the handle of whichever fuel blend contains bioethanol, but, unfortunately, this is not the first reaction for many people.

Many of us have grown up following the advice given by our mentors, starting with our parents, then followed by our teachers, friends, coworkers and, too often, news sources that may lean one way or the other, which can sometimes aim to steer us away from something good.

This process goes for more than just biofuels, though. What brand of car do you drive? What TV do you have? How about your phone? You probably tend to be loyal to one brand over another.

Here’s the big question, though: Why do you feel the way you do? Is it based on your own experience with the product and using it correctly for a long enough period that you can make your own decision?  Or did you take the words passed on from someone else who may or may not have had accurate, real-world experience using the product?

When the iPhone came out, for instance, I didn’t want one because I went with the advice of several friends who had never owned one but said they were junk. While those friends have now tried iPhones and still will not use them, I have had one for over ten years and cannot imagine switching back because I made my own educated decision.

As fuel prices continue to increase, many people are trying biofuel for the first time to save some cash, and maybe that’s a good reason for you to check it out for yourself. Using bioethanol could be a good thing for you and your car. It’s renewable, cleaner than gasoline, has great options for octane and is priced better than fuel options without it. But don’t let us make decisions for you one way or the other. Do your own research and decide based on facts and experience—which I can guarantee won’t let you down.

At our vehicle repair shop, we don’t see failures in cars from damage caused by bioethanol. Manufacturers simply wouldn’t make a car designed to run on it if it were bad for it. Suppose your owner’s manual states a specific octane is okay, but a higher number is preferred. In that case, that means purchasing premium fuel or a biofuel blend to get the octane that the car needs.

So try it for yourself—you can save a lot of cash and be good to your vehicle by using biofuel.

The Under The Hood radio show is America’s Favorite Car-talk show heard on over 250 stations, YouTube and a podcast. The Motor Medics, Russ, Chris and Shannon, are three great friends having fun and offering a wide range of automotive advice without the aid of in-studio computers or reference guides.

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