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Discussion Starter #1
Hi -- not to start a firestorm, but I just came across my first local gas station with a "blender" pump offering e15, e30 and e85 ethanol/gasoline fuel. I have manually mixed 50/50 88 octane e15 with standard 93 octane Premium before (to = approx. 91 octane) at another station. But this is the first pump in this area with e30. My understanding is e30 is higher octane, above the 91 required for the G1 Volt.

Has anyone successfully used e30? Any ill effects?

My google research has shown pages showing e30 is suitable for post-2001 non FFV vehicles (if the fuel components are compatible with e15, they are ok with e30) but there are still issues with the EPA approving it which is why it is not endorsed by GM as a standard fuel like e15. And YES I know about the Volt owner's manual warning about maxing the ethanol level at e15 (which is somewhat pointless because straight e15 is below the 91 octane needed, per the manual....).

And yes, the e30 is supposedly better for the environment, uses less petroleum, and yes, it's markedly cheaper at the pump. (And supposedly cleaner for the engine.)

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
 

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Don't go above 15% ethanol (E15) in the Volt. Here are a few reasons:

  • GM designed their Ecotec line of engines to run on E15 maximum.
  • To use a higher ethanol content requires bigger injectors and rubber compounds on the seals. Bad News Racing sells injectors and conversion kits for the Gen 1 Cruze LT, ECO, LTZ for this purpose. The Gen 1 Volt uses the same Ecotec engine.
  • Ethanol/gasoline mixtures aren't stable in that they will separate in the tank. The Volt spends a lot of time and effort ensuring the fuel doesn't break down and separate. EMM and FMM both exist to ensure the ICE system from the fuel tank to the exhaust manifold remain in good working order.
As for the other arguments about Ethanol being cleaner for the environment, the way we produce it actually makes it dirtier for the environment as it takes more oil to produce a gallon of "tank ready" ethonal than for a gallon of gasoline. There are other ways to make ethanol but we do it the worst possible way when it comes to the environment. Ethanol is also very caustic and it's hydrophilic in that it attracts and binds to water. Because of this it cannot be pumped through pipelines and has to be mixed at the local storage facilities prior to being loaded onto distribution trucks.

Ethanol has no bearing on octane. Octane is simply a measure of resistance to predetonation when under pressure. Higher numbers are more resistant. The 1.4 litre Ecotec LUV engine in the 1st Generation Volt is designed to run on 91 octane. While I suspect the Volt's software contains the same high/low octane cylinder ignition maps as the Cruze but since the owner's manual says to use 91 I wouldn't risk my Volt on 87 octane (I ran my Cruze on 91 simply because it ran better and got better fuel economy.) The fact that your local station isn't labelling the 91 octane with ethanol doesn't mean it doesn't have ethanol in it. In many jurisdictions, ethanol contents below 10% aren't required to be shown on the pump. Where 91 octane is better than 87 (with or without ethanol) is stability. The fuel is usually a more uniform mixture of detergents and gasoline, which translates into a longer shelf life in the car's gas tank.
 

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I use E10 87 octane in my Gen2 Volt. Unleaded gasoline that has no added ethanol content is available in parts of my state, Maryland, but I would have to drive more than 20 miles to find this fuel. If I had a Gen1 Volt that required premium 91 octane fuel I would use 93 octane premium unleaded fuel if that was all that was available locally. I guess I like to keep things simple.
 

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Whether gas has ethanol or not depends on your location. Around here only Co-op Gas, Shell (and I think Chevron) 91 has no ethanol (the rest being 5 to 10%) depending on brand and grade. The less ethanol, the better. While it does burn cleaner than straight gas it is not more environmentally better when straight gas, when you look at the fuel required to produce it, from tilling the ground to grow the corn to getting the ethanol to the pump, it isn't. If you are looking at the whole picture then there is no point to looking at all. It does raise the octane rating but 91 octane of ethanol/gas is the same as 91 octane of pure gas. The only reason to use ethanol in the first place was to give bigger market to the corn growing farmer. As a consumer you are better off using straight gasoline or if not possible, the straightest gasoline in your vicinity. There is no consumer/environmental reasons to use ethanol.
 

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My understanding is e30 is higher octane, above the 91 required for the G1 Volt.
The octane rating is the octane rating, regardless of how much ethanol is added.
Ethanol does have a higher knock resistance than standard gasoline, and that is one of the reasons it is used commercially. Adding ethanol allows them to reduce the other anti knock additives required.
So if you have 87 octane pure gas, it has the same knock resistance as 87 octane E30.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
The octane of e30 is 94. (http://www.sdfu.org/assets/docs/uploads/gle-e30-challenge-white-paper-1-19-17final.pdf)

Also I don't know the exact details but I believe the Gen I Volt was actually designed as an FFV and that the software is actually in the existing computer system, but not activated. So I don't know if the production Volt's fuel system components are already designed to tolerate higher ethanol levels of e85 as a flex-fuel vehicle without damage. While the production car has the FFV system disabled and cant adjust to e85, it can adjust to e15, and I would imagine should be able to adjust fuel flow to cope with the slightly higher level in e30.

For my personal situation, I use the ICE almost daily because the jerks running my condo wont let me charge my car anymore :( So my tank sees more frequent gasoline fills.
 

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In my area QuikTrip [tier one] sells 87 octane non ethanol, which is all I use in my Gen2. I only wish someone would bring out a non ethanol 93 octane for the Jaguar, but I'm afraid it would be very, very expensive to refine.
 

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In my area QuikTrip [tier one] sells 87 octane non ethanol, which is all I use in my Gen2. I only wish someone would bring out a non ethanol 93 octane for the Jaguar, but I'm afraid it would be very, very expensive to refine.
Chevron has 94 which I believe (at least around here) is ethanol free. Don't think there is any in your state though. Read they also supply some Texaco.
 

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Hi -- not to start a firestorm, but I just came across my first local gas station with a "blender" pump offering e15, e30 and e85 ethanol/gasoline fuel. I have manually mixed 50/50 88 octane e15 with standard 93 octane Premium before (to = approx. 91 octane) at another station. But this is the first pump in this area with e30. My understanding is e30 is higher octane, above the 91 required for the G1 Volt.

Has anyone successfully used e30? Any ill effects?

My google research has shown pages showing e30 is suitable for post-2001 non FFV vehicles (if the fuel components are compatible with e15, they are ok with e30) but there are still issues with the EPA approving it which is why it is not endorsed by GM as a standard fuel like e15. And YES I know about the Volt owner's manual warning about maxing the ethanol level at e15 (which is somewhat pointless because straight e15 is below the 91 octane needed, per the manual....).

And yes, the e30 is supposedly better for the environment, uses less petroleum, and yes, it's markedly cheaper at the pump. (And supposedly cleaner for the engine.)

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
Why would you want to cut your MPG by so much.

Anything above E0 should be avoided.

87 octane is fine in a G1.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well this is really picking a different poison. 87 octane would cause knock and change the engine timing, resulting in greater fuel use on its own.
 

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In my area QuikTrip [tier one] sells 87 octane non ethanol, which is all I use in my Gen2. I only wish someone would bring out a non ethanol 93 octane for the Jaguar, but I'm afraid it would be very, very expensive to refine.
This for me too. Ethanol tends to be hygroscopic (draws water from air) and gas tends to stay in my Volt's system for months at a time, I don't want any corrosion problems in the fuel system.

I had to rebuild a motorcycle carb due to leaving ethanol fuel in the system for the winter. Never again.
 

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In a situation like a road trip, I'll put in E10/E15/87 or such in my gen2. Whatever is conveniently available within spec. On either generation E30 is foolish. In commuting times with very low/zero gas usage, I find and fill with E0. I'd even favor E0 over higher octane, but usually the E0 fuel is high octane. Finding E0 is more difficult, however. Gotta go to sites like puregas.org to look up.
 

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Well this is really picking a different poison. 87 octane would cause knock and change the engine timing, resulting in greater fuel use on its own.
Some, including myself, had satisfactory results with 87 with ethanol, as in no decrease in MPG and nary a ping. I was a frequent enough user of the ICE to not worry about the gas getting stale. My motorcycle goes into winter storage for 4-5 months so I put Stabil in the last tank of the season and after 11 winters, no harm done to the FI system. I run it once a month during storage till it's hot enough for the thermostat to open.
 

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I go by what the manual says for all my vehicles. If it says 87, I run 87. My Dodge Ram 1500 said to run 87, if I ran higher octane it didn't run as well - and that's when I learned there is some thought behind when a manufacturer puts an octane recommendation on the vehicle. I even had different cars run better or worse on different brands of fuel.

Anyhow, back to the topic at hand - 2013 Volt I ran premium fuel in it, whatever that was where I was. For example, in Alaska the best you can get is 90 (non-ethanol) although in the summer it appears there may be some ethanol in it now, but not more than a few %. We certainly don't have it in the winter as it's too cold. If you read the manual on ethanol E10 and cold climates even with today's vehicles they can have trouble starting in extreme cold - meaning double digit and lower sub zero temps. In Wyoming premium was 85, IIRC. Of course as soon as I got to an area with 90+ I topped off with that. Because we drove from Florida to Alaska I actually put a decent a amount of time on the engine, even though we only did 2 oil changes in the 3 years we had it. A couple of times being forced to put regular fuel in it the motor seemed to work more - but it just might have been I was paying more attention.

Personally, in dealing with motors with ethanol when I was in the L48, I'd try to avoid the higher blends. I ran an F150 FFV on E85 wasn't too happy with the performance and extreme MPG loss. And we already touched on how it isn't really cleaner and actually encourages farmers to not grow food, but fuel. Just my .02.
 

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Some, including myself, had satisfactory results with 87 with ethanol, as in no decrease in MPG and nary a ping. I was a frequent enough user of the ICE to not worry about the gas getting stale. My motorcycle goes into winter storage for 4-5 months so I put Stabil in the last tank of the season and after 11 winters, no harm done to the FI system. I run it once a month during storage till it's hot enough for the thermostat to open.
This indicates the ECU has the same dual octane cylinder ignition maps as the Cruze.
 

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Well this is really picking a different poison. 87 octane would cause knock and change the engine timing, resulting in greater fuel use on its own.
100% incorrect.
Hyperlexis is correct. The ECU in the car will "detune" the cylinder ignition timing to prevent predetonation from damaging the engine. The side effect is up to a 10% drop in fuel efficiency.
 

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And we already touched on how it isn't really cleaner and actually encourages farmers to not grow food, but fuel. Just my .02.
According to a report put out by the Big O's DOE, it really is cleaner for greenhouse emissions, by 20% over the oil it replaces, IIRC.
 

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According to a report put out by the Big O's DOE, it really is cleaner for greenhouse emissions, by 20% over the oil it replaces, IIRC.
That report fails the sniff test. Oil derived gasoline and diesel is used in the equipment to grow and harvest the crops. Turning those crops into ethanolw and biodiesel results in less energy to power the same equipment - this is a net loss in available energy.
 

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Hyperlexis is correct. The ECU in the car will "detune" the cylinder ignition timing to prevent predetonation from damaging the engine. The side effect is up to a 10% drop in fuel efficiency.
You spelled negligible wrong... If it’s available, you’ll actually see a noticeable difference in E0 87 over E10 91. You’ll get much better MPG without ethanol and not have any problems.

Even the 10% number you used is a scare tactic. It won’t be nearly 10%. Unless you have measuring equipment dialed in perfectly that was meant just for this type of thing and are able to replicate your driving 100% perfect(which you can’t) you MAY see a difference.
 
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