Ethanol-Free Gas

Snohomish Co-op is the only station in Snohomish to offer ethanol-free gasoline.

Snohomish Co-op gas station

Should I use non-ethanol fuel?

Non-ethanol fuel is strongly recommended for boats, mowers, chainsaws, and other small engines. It produces more energy than gas-ethanol mixes, and many people prefer it in their cars. Read a deeper breakdown below.

Why is ethanol being added to gasoline?

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 requires that more biofuel be used every year until we reach 36 billion gallons by 2022.

Ethanol (ethyl alcohol) is a fuel derived from plant materials. It is now mixed into most vehicle fuels found at gas station pumps.

The push to add ethanol to fuel has been based on energy independence and environmental concerns. These are worthy causes, but the role of ethanol is a controversial topic.

The environmental impact of ethanol fuels

Many studies indicate that ethanol emits fewer particles when burned. The entire picture is not so simple, though. Varying models report drastically different data on the amount of pollutants put out by ethanol. Also, chemicals are used to fertilize and treat the crops necessary to create ethanol.

Energy Independence? ...Not so fast

Corn is the main ingredient in U.S. ethanol(around 40% of corn produced in the US was used to create ethanol in 2014), because it is the easiest to convert to fuel. Estimates suggest that even if all corn in the U.S. were used for ethanol, the amount would fall far short of our energy needs. Other ingredients- grasses, wood, algea, and plant fibers-can be used to make ethanol, but this cellulosic ethanol is much less energy-effective to produce. Also, the farming industry receives billions of dollars in government subsidies every year.

Is ethanol cheaper than gasoline?

Possibly. Gas with ethanol may be easier on your wallet, but pump prices are only part of the equation. Your car will go further on a gallon of non-ethanol gas, and non-ethanol gas is considered better for engines-especially small yard tools like mowers and leaf blowers. Also, Note that both agriculture and oil industries recieve subsidies powered by your tax dollar.

Negatives of Ethanol in Gasoline

  • Shelf life of gasoline with 10% ethanol is shorter than that of pure gasoline.
  • Ethanol attracts/absorbs water, deteriorating the fuel itself and fuel components. Order a test kit for water here.
  • Ethanol dissolves fiberglass, and is corrosive to aluminum. It is especially harmful to mowers, blowers, chain-saws, and other small gas engines.