New gas-blend could harm your vehicle

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A new blend of gas could save you a couple of dollars at the pump, but it could also damage your car. AAA is issuing warnings about the higher ethanol blend, called E15.

E15 is a mid level gas that contains 15 percent of ethanol and was recently approved by the EPA for use in certain vehicles. Over 95 percent of cars currently on the roads are not approved to use E15, according to AAA. They believe it could potentially damage your fuel system and reduce the life of your engine.

"At this point in time, they are recommending that they halt the sale of E15 ethanol," explains Joy Nason, a representative with AAA.

She explains AAA believes there needs to be more research done before the gas blend reaches consumers.

"It can cause damage to your car's engine, you have to check to tell if your car is one that could use it, and they're so unsure of it that they want the study to continue," Nason says.

Damage done by ethanol doesn't cause any kind of smell or noise. However, it does break down hoses in your engine, causes leaks and poor fuel performance. The EPA only approves Flex-Fuel vehicles and certain cars made after 2001 to use E15.

Using the gas blend could void your car's warranty.

"They have put it on record that their warranties will not cover you if the E15 causes you to have damage to your engine," Nason says.

Higher blends of ethanol also affect smaller engines. Mechanics say the ethanol clogs up equipment and can erode the machines. They recommend that you should avoid storing your landscaping equipment with the ethanol blend in it over the winter.

"Do your homework before you decide to put that fuel in your engine when it comes out," Nason suggests.

While E15 is not currently being sold in South Carolina, AAA says it's only a matter of time. Experts urge you to pay attention to signs at the pump, including gas-blends that include more than ten percent of ethanol.

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