Summer 2022 was a long, hot season, and fuel and vehicle prices remained high for its duration. Now that we're in the dead of winter, the price of cars remains steep while their availability remains low.
These factors lead to many questions for auto technicians like us, including: “What can I do to help my car run better and longer? What kind of fuel should I use to save money but not hurt my car? What kind of car should I be looking to purchase when I upgrade?”
We'll start with, the fuel question since fueling your car is what you do most as an owner, next to driving it. Even as they become more widely available, we still see a strong need for education about biofuels. There are so many people who don’t have any idea what bioethanol is, so they don’t use it. On the flip side, we see consumers who use it not because they know of its benefits but because they simply grab the handle with the lowest price and hope there won’t be a problem.
There are probably those of you that may not use a higher-octane blend of bioethanol because you see a higher blend number, and it makes you nervous. States have done extensive testing on their fleets using E30 with no issues. We at the shop have personally used blends up to E30 in our daily drivers with no issues.
Bioethanol is a good product, but you want to choose carefully when looking at what it is blended with. Since bioethanol is blended with regular gasoline, choose a good quality gas type. We suggest a top-tier bioethanol blend in every tank to keep your engine the healthiest.
If you have a mechanic tell you not to use bioethanol, ask them what their reasoning is. As a shop and an auto recycler that takes in thousands of cars each year, we have never seen a single car come to us due to bioethanol damage.
The secret to maintaining your car’s longevity is to simply take care of it. Regular maintenance is cheaper than major repairs caused by the lack thereof. For example, the number of cars that come to our shop at least 4,000 miles overdue for an oil change is astounding. Fluids are the most important part of maintaining vehicle health.
Lastly, as far as what car to purchase, people want to know about electric vehicles, hybrids, and other more fuel-efficient models, including what trucks and SUVs get the best economy. The world is not quite ready for mass electric vehicles, but we are ready for better hybrids and improved performance through octane.
There is no high-octane-required hybrid on the market today, but there is much that could be done with current models to drastically increase fuel economy and optimize for bioethanol use. Mechanics have been talking about this need for years. Even non-hybrid vehicles, like big SUVs and trucks, would see a huge increase in fuel economy with a higher-octane fuel requirement. That’s why we should all be pushing for higher blends of bioethanol because it would benefit everyone, regardless of what vehicle we drive.
As we move into a future with vehicle options to suit everyone’s taste, bioethanol is still the superior option for performance, sustainability, and longevity. Food for thought.
The Motor Medics. Under The Hood can be found on a station near you or your favorite podcast site.