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My thoughts on fixing watered down gas

By Mark Stinson
Posted Sunday, January 16, 2011

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Siler City, NC - It's no secret we are getting screwed at the gas pump. If you have noticed your car isn't getting the mileage it did last summer and its running like crap, weaker, rougher and just plain bad. Grain alcohol is added to gas now as the winter mix formula. One thing everyone needs to know is that when you add ethyl alcohol to gas it doesn't burn as well resulting in less miles per gallon.

Something else you need to know is that alcohol mixes with water well. Alcohol also mixes with gasoline well. Most of your fuel treatments have some type of alcohol in them to clear out the water contaminating your gas tank. Alcohol acts as a binding agent between gas and water making the two mix extremely well. When you buy the gas on the market now your possibly buying as much as ten percent water in some cases more. The alcohol distributes the water in such a way it doesn't separate from the gas so the engine runs seemingly normal producing less power and less miles per gallon. The oil companies know this and they also know that its hard to detect just how much water there is in gas once you add a grain alcohol to the mix.

It's a common practice by service stations to pump water out of underground gas tanks from seepage and contamination. With the winter mix the contaminated ground water will mix with the alcohol and gas so well that some stations don't have to purge their tanks. That stuff is pumped into your tank and runs through your fuel system screwing you at the pump when you pay for the gas and when you drive it in poor performance.

I am not a fan of BP gas right now as I have had several who used it complain of surging , pinging and poor gas mileage. Marathon and Kangaroo stations seam to have the best mix for the mpg I have found around here. All gas has some kind of blend this time of year .

My advice it to pay attention to your vehicle. If you notice a sudden drop in power, gas mileage, drive-ability or starting you need to try another station. If you start to have these symptoms my advice as a mechanic is to buy a bottle of good gas treatment. A good fuel system treatment will run you $8 to $10. The cheaper additives don't do much good in the small bottles. If it works for the oil companies it will work for you so if you suspect you have water in your gas buy a large bottle of clear rubbing alcohol from the pharmacy and pour it in your gas tank when you fill up next. It will disperse any water trapped in your tank. It is always a good idea to have your fuel filter changed this time of year as its almost a guarantee its contaminated from the winter mix being sold at most gas stations.

Another thing that effects gas mileage is your tire air pressure so check it regularly. Its not a complicated thing to do at any car wash or service station with an air pressure pump. Air contracts when its colder and expands when the temperature goes up. Its very common for tires to get slack in cold weather due to air contraction in the tires. Low air pressure can rob you of up to five miles per gallon.

My opinion is the real terrorist are the ones running the oil companies robbing us of our hard earned money. Three dollar a gallon is too darn much and they know it. It is up to us to keep our vehicles in good mechanical shape and use gas sparingly by consolidating trips and car pooling when we can.

We may not control what they charge us for it but we can control how much of it we use saving us money.

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My thoughts on fixing watered down gas

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