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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
OK, many of us have remains of semi-stale gasoline in our Volts' gas tanks, but with the cold weather, holiday season travel, and winter gasoline mix, some of us are about to find ourselves in that long-forgotten place called a gas station and encounter E15 gasoline. According to the 2012 Volt manual we should not be using gasoline that contains higher than 15% ethanol (page 9-55). The EPA claims that all cars made since 2001 are OK with E15.

Has any of you used E15 in your Volt? What are your experiences and thoughts on the matter? Has it affected the fuel economy [MPG] while in charge sustaining mode?
 

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According to the 2012 Volt manual we should not be using gasoline that contains higher than 15% ethanol (page 9-55). The EPA claims that all cars made since 2001 are OK with E15.
This is one that GM may want to comment on.

The 2011-2013 manuals do *not* say not to use E85! They actually say that E85 should not be used in vehicles not designed for it. Essentially, they are either saying they don't yet feel comfortable telling people it is OK.

Interestingly, the 2011 manual mentions E85 "and other fuels containing more than 10% ethanol", whereas the 2012 and 2013 manuals specifically mention more than 15%. But E85 doesn't contain more than 15%, so it looks like they goofed when they changed the 10% to 15% for 2012.

So of course the best advice is to stay away from E85 if possible (without more details from GM, at least). If the EPA says it is OK in Volts (which it has, indirectly), and there was damage, would the EPA be responsible?
 

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This is one that GM may want to comment on.

The 2011-2013 manuals do *not* say not to use E85! They actually say that E85 should not be used in vehicles not designed for it. Essentially, they are either saying they don't yet feel comfortable telling people it is OK.

Interestingly, the 2011 manual mentions E85 "and other fuels containing more than 10% ethanol", whereas the 2012 and 2013 manuals specifically mention more than 15%. But E85 doesn't contain more than 15%, so it looks like they goofed when they changed the 10% to 15% for 2012.

So of course the best advice is to stay away from E85 if possible (without more details from GM, at least). If the EPA says it is OK in Volts (which it has, indirectly), and there was damage, would the EPA be responsible?
This response is going to create confusion about the different ethanol blends. There are now 3 different ethanol blends -

E10 (10% ethanol blend) - Has been around a long time and is OK for a Volt.

E15 (15% ethanol blend) - This is a newly approved blend that the EPA says is ok for all cars manufactured since 2001. Since it was just recently approved for use, the fact that the 2011 manual doesn't mention E15 (15%) makes perfect sense. Since the 2012/13 manuals apparently mention a 15% limit of ethanol blend, then it would seem that GM is in agreement with the EPA position that E15 is ok. If I had no other option, I would not hesitate to use E15 in my 2011 Volt.

E85 (85% ethanol blend) - Can only be used in vehicles that have been specifically designed for E85. The Volt is not designed for E85. Don't use it in your Volt.
 

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If your spending about $30 on gas every 2 months why wouldn't you put in the absolute best product available? Shell Premium 93 octane will have the best "Tank Life"
 

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Interesting comment. What makes it have a longer tank life than say Chevron?

If your spending about $30 on gas every 2 months why wouldn't you put in the absolute best product available? Shell Premium 93 octane will have the best "Tank Life"
 

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This is one that GM may want to comment on.

Interestingly, the 2011 manual mentions E85 "and other fuels containing more than 10% ethanol", whereas the 2012 and 2013 manuals specifically mention more than 15%. But E85 doesn't contain more than 15%........

(Yes it does....E85 is 85% ethanol......)
 

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This response is going to create confusion about the different ethanol blends. There are now 3 different ethanol blends -

E10 (10% ethanol blend) - Has been around a long time and is OK for a Volt.

E15 (15% ethanol blend) - This is a newly approved blend that the EPA says is ok for all cars manufactured since 2001. Since it was just recently approved for use, the fact that the 2011 manual doesn't mention E15 (15%) makes perfect sense. Since the 2012/13 manuals apparently mention a 15% limit of ethanol blend, then it would seem that GM is in agreement with the EPA position that E15 is ok. If I had no other option, I would not hesitate to use E15 in my 2011 Volt.

E85 (85% ethanol blend) - Can only be used in vehicles that have been specifically designed for E85. The Volt is not designed for E85. Don't use it in your Volt.
Excellent post and all correct.
However the Volt requires "premium" fuel with an octane of at least 91, so unless the E15 meets this specification, it shouldnt be used.If using anything less the Volt will not be able to utilize it's most eficient ignition and camshaft timing tables and fuel economy will suffer.

Even if 91 octane E15 was available, since alcohol contains less energy BTU value than gasoline, using it will require more fuel to be delivered at any given power demand and likely result in a proportionate decrease in mpg.

Besides 91 octane GM "recommends" Top Tier fuels (and those without the addition of methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl aka MMTs ) as they contain additional detergents that help keep your injectors, compustion chamber, valves, and valve tracts clean of combustion deposits.

For owners that do not use or cannot find TOP TIER Detergent Gasoline regularly, one bottle of Fuel System Treatment PLUS PN#88861013, added to the fuel tank once or twice a year (every 3000 miles or so of "gaoline miles" on the Volt) can help prevent and clean these deposits. GM Fuel System Treatment PLUS is the ONLY gasoline additive recommended by General Motors. It is available at your dealer.

But ALL of this is in your owners manual so that alone should represent your definitive set of guidelines for fuels to use.

HTH
WopOnTour
 

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Ethanol has a much higher octane equivalent than even premium (equivalent of about 115 octane, if I remember correctly), so the additional ethanol is not of concern in regards to octane. However, two things need to be considered in this case:

First, ethanol has lower energy density than gasoline, so your vehicle will need to flow more fuel in order to produce the same amount of power. On most modern vehicles, use of any fuel under 20-30% ethanol should be fairly transparent (other than the loss in fuel economy).

Second, and this is the worrisome part, ethanol reacts poorly to cold weather. It does not ignite as easily as gasoline, so if the ethanol content is too high, your vehicle might have trouble starting. Once it is warmed up, there won't be an issue, but starting a car with ethanol in cold weather can be troublesome. That is why E85 blends are typically reduced to E70 during winter months because the additional 15% gasoline content makes it easier to start and run the engine in cold weather. When dealing with ethanol content of less than 50%, I can't see how this would even be an issue, though.
 

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Ethanol has a much higher octane equivalent than even premium (equivalent of about 115 octane, if I remember correctly), so the additional ethanol is not of concern in regards to octane. However, two things need to be considered in this case:
Sure 100% ethanol has a high octane equivalent.
But the fact remains that AFAIK there is no fuel company in North America currently offering a retail pump that offers "premium" grade E15 (15%) ASTM approved formulation with an octane rating of 91 or greater.
In fact there may not be any E15 available anywhere other than the corn belt states.
I could be wrong though...

Recently AAA has issued warnings to members and owners of older cars that the use of E15 might be damaging expensive fuel handling components [/URL](pumps, lines, injectors,regulators etc) and/or inadvertently voiding various long-term emissions warranties that may still be in place.
I know GM up until recently approved ethanol to a maximum of only 10% ethanol in anything except "flex-fueled" vehicles.

I also know of numerous cases where GM has denied warranty claims for failures on components in contact with fuels when it can be shown that greater than 10% Ethanol was in use (eg E85 or some intermediate blend) and have provided dealers with special electronic tools to quickly and easily determine alcohol concentrations.

Due to these issues there are even websites such as http://pure-gas.org/ and smart phone apps created to assist people in locating alcohol free fuels.

WOT
 

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Does the Volt support E10 or E15 gasoline?

I have read that E10 is 90 octane and E15 is 93 octane, but is it supported by the Volt?

Anyone have anything official or a link from GM?
 

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Ethanol content does not dictate octane rating, they are completely separate. E10 is pretty standard at most gas stations, at least around here... I had seen E15 a few places a few years back when gas prices were sky high. The volt should not have a problem with either as is mentioned in Scott's link.
 

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http://newsroom.aaa.com/2012/11/new-e15-gasoline-may-damage-vehicles-and-cause-consumer-confusion/

GM says not to use E15 in 2011 model year and older vehicles, so I won't be using it in my Volt, and I need to carefully examine the pumps when I fill both of my vehicles - more reason to fill up when it gets down to 1/4 tank. Page 9-59 of my 2011 Volt owner's manual says "fuels containing more than 10% ethanol must not be used [...]"

I wouldn't believe a word the EPA or politicians say about E15 or ethanol / methanol. It is all politically motivated by big money from the farm and Archer Daniels Midland lobbies. Corn should be used to feed hungry people and not for burning in our cars. Corn prices are being driven up, which is exactly what the special interests want.
 

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Scott,
Your snarkiness is not appreciated.
I did a search using the term E15, it came back with no results found so I created my own thread.
The problem is the poor implementation of the search in GM-Volt.
 

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Ethanol can be produce with other organic materials, not just corn. Brazil produces thousands of gallons a day with sugar cane. One method you can do at your own home is with grass clippings. So if I cut my grass once per month and ferment the mass, I can produce some ethanol for my ICE vehicle, and continue to enjoy corn on the cob. BTW, my grass cutter is electric (Homelite). No gas on my grass!
 

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As per that other thread linked in Scotts post (funny, I didnt detect any snarkiness but you're right the built-in search engine sucks in vBulletin)

If your Volt is 2011 - NOT Recommended as per owners manual
If your Volt is 2012-13 AND the E15 is ASTM listed as "PREMIUM FUEL" with a minimum octane of 91 (R+M/2) then it is techncially OK as that is considered the Volt minimum standard.

However keep in mind there's a reason GM and other OEMS have been bucking the whole E15 thing.

Besides using MORE FUEL, unless the fuel system was designed to be "flex-fuel" higher concentrations of alcohol is just that much harder on fuel pumps, injectors and other components in contact with the fuel. There's really no difference between these parts on Volts from 2011 thru 2013. Sure if they fail under warranty it will be looked after (at your inconvenience unfortunately) but...

WOT

I'm going to merge the 2 threads
 

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I would be concerned about the 'shelf life' of blends with ethanol. As little an amount of fuel as I use I'm looking for the best because it might sit in the tank for months!
 
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