QOTW #34 – Which fuel should I use in my car for BEST performance? (bioethanol EXPOSED!)

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This question is about the fuel that we put in our Aston Martins. And it’s very pertinent to me that at this moment in time, I recently got caught out myself by putting a poor-quality fuel in a high-performance two-stroke motorcycle I run. The question is, ‘Which fuels are bio-ethanol free?’ As you may know if you follow this channel follow Bamford Rose, by trade I’m 30 years in. I’m a performance development emissions calibration engineer. I’ve worked for Aston Martin, Bentley, Jaguar Land Rover, a few consultancies and burning petrol is my bag.

So, I’ll brush over some of the technical aspects and simplify when I talk about this. If you want to go off and do your own research into bio-ethanol, that’s probably the best thing. I’ll give you my commentary. I think it was universally understood to those in the know that bio-ethanol is bad in terms of the search for ultimate performance, which for the cars that were involved is what we’re all about. It’s probably okay on your family daily driver to push 5 or 10% diluted concentration of gasoline diluted with ethanol through it. And just keep running that week in week out it’s never going to cause any problem.

It gets the governments in the West less reliant on Gulf states, which is what they want to do. And probably these governments have got family members that are running the bio-ethanol refineries so they’re making a few quid on the side. But in terms of saving the environment, a green fuel bio-ethanol is not that these are required to farm it. Ship it around everywhere, refining it. It makes a mockery of the whole concept of why the bio-ethanol idea was created. I remember in the early 2000s that we looked at Aston Martin v8 Vantage onto E85. So, this is 85% concentration bio-ethanol.

You need to have flex fuel sensing devices in the engine management system to realize that it’s on the different fuel and totally change the stoichiometric AFR for ethanol. So, that you put in more fuel to get the same power back. When we realized what the tank range was going to be, it was ridiculous I can’t remember exactly what it was now. But you know it was like 150-mile range for what it was, an 89-liter tank. It was ridiculous. So, the concept was just knocked on the head. And at that time, people were conscious that the fuel industry was going to be robbing pandas and humans of food, because the crops needed to be grown somewhere.

So, it really didn’t take off. Then all of a sudden, probably states let. This was probably in some direction Obama took the country in, all of a sudden E10 becomes commonplace. Europe mainland Europe it’s E10. And so far in the UK, the current legislation is that all regular fuel or 95 octane fuel must be 5% bio-ethanol. There is no legislation for ultimate but V Power, BP Ultimate, Tesco momentum, they all have bio ethanol in their ultimate. And this is what makes me feel so strongly about it. So, I’ve gone out of my way to fill Jerry Cans up at V Power, using BP ultimate and I’ve been putting bio-ethanol in it, it makes me really cross.

The purpose of this video is to showcase, Esso has been the only fuel company in the UK whose ultimate does not contain any bio-ethanol. You’ve gone to that website, check that out, show link here. And you can then find out that even though the Esso ultimate has E5 branding on the pump. They’ve been forced to do this by the government to keep the Sharada of the push to green for the fossil fuel market. But there’s no ethanol in it. We ran a little experiment later to show that. I just very quickly just here, this is the chemical makeup of gasoline without any ethylene. This is the chemical makeup of ethanol. You’ll see that big reduction in hydrocarbons. And if you are paying attention in school, there’s your big bang.

Take that away and you’ve got a less efficient fuel. Liter for liter or however volume, per volume bio-ethanol is about 30% less performance. Optimistically, I think it’s worse. The industry itself states that it’s going to be about 5% less fuel economy. So, it’s less fuel efficient. You have to put more of it in, it gives you less power. There’s a heap of side effects of that ethanol running through your engine and where. The increased emissions to farm it, refine it, it all makes it a complete mockery. As I say, it’s okay your daily driver I suppose because the only benefit is if the government wanted, they’re less reliant on Gulf states. But this channel is what this company is for everything we do; this is about using fuel for the most amount of performance and bio-ethanol isn’t doing that.

It’d be good to get quite a few comments going, you know if people want a champion bio-ethanol, great comment below. Because then we can get a discussion going instead of me just wafting on about how rubbish the fuel is. I just want to put the message across that the fuel is bad. You’ll get more performance on your Aston Martin, if you don’t have any ethanol content in the fuel tank. And I wanted to do a quick experiment to show that despite Esso being forced to show E5 on their pumps, there’s no ethanol content in it.

Very quickly, ‘Why do you get more performance on your Aston Martin?’ If the car was flex fuel, it could detect the ethanol to a high percentage in the gas tank. It would then react to that and put more fuel in to get you back to the same performance that you should have had if it was on the gasoline. The Aston Martin’s haven’t got that, and worse than that in closed-loop fuel what they’ll do is adjust the fueling value to get lambda1. But it doesn’t carry that across to the open-loop fueling values when you go full throttle. So, if you needed a few extra percent fuel, you know you’re on E5 to get to lambda1. As soon as you go full throttle for performance, those adaptations will be lost.

And it will be running leaner air fuel ratio than what it should be for maximum performance, because the car isn’t flex fuel. So, you know, try it for yourself. If you’ve been running V Power like me, blindly naively and you feel a bit upset now you are aware of this situation. Then you know get it down to vapors and then fill with a tank of Esso and just notice the difference. This will be the Steeler artwork for your car. Okay, on to the experiment. I’m only going to do this in small quantities. So, the content of ethanol in the fuel is going to be solved. If I was mixing the fuel with water to a much bigger volume, then how the water drew the ethanol out and the layer of ethanol will be much more striking.

But these are small numbers because I’m just proving a point. The point here is the Esso has got no bio-ethanol in it. Okay, so on to the experiment. We’ve got three fuels. We’ve got Esso Ultimate, we’ve got BP, we’ve got V Power.

If you look at the Esso where it’s settled, you see it clearly defines the line between the water and the gasoline. When you see the V Power or BP ultimate in the bowl and shake it, it’s got this wavy slushy line to it. And that’s where their ethanol sitting on top of the water is contacting the petrol. So, there’s a quick and dirty experiment just to show that the Esso Ultimate does indeed have no ethanol content in it whatsoever. And all the others that if like me, you are naively putting in your tank thinking that was the best fuel for your car. Then it shows that they do contain ethanol. If that’s knocked you like it’s knocked me, then go off and do your own research about the benefits of ethanol, the performance loss, all the bad things it does for your engine.

Absolutely, everything involved with it there’s some great resources out there. And this is the BBC article, which talks about the bio-ethanol fuel refinery industry falling on its knees if the UK doesn’t go E10 like the rest of Europe. This article tells you all you need to know about typical BBC propaganda, because it isn’t saying hey this fuel is the best for the environment, its energy saving blah blah blah. The main reason that we should increase the ethanol content in our fuel tanks is because the bio-ethanol refining industry, if we don’t, is on its knees. Again, probably because the very politicians and their family members running those bio-ethanol refineries. So, we just end by repeating ‘Search out an Esso garage’.

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