Crappy gas

Besides gasoline costing twenty times more than it did when I was a kid (17cents in 1950!), it now contains alcohol which imbibes water and makes the gas useless in a few months or less. What about cars which are only used occasionally? Should they have stabilizers add to their tanks?

The stabilizer can’t hurt anything. I need a stabilizer when I imbibe too much alcohol.

Yes, stabilizer is recommended for my lawnmower and snow blower engines as well. I prevents the evaporation of the most volatile parts of the gas, the kind you need for starting. In a car, alcohol is put in to make sure the gas goes through the injectors and your engine keeps running. One particularly cold winter, my wife forgot to add the gasline antifreeze, as it was then called. The carb froze up solid and it took a while to get the engine started. If you park in a heated underground garage, and have to park outside at work, you will get a lot of condensation and ice crystals in your gas. Keep the tank FULL and add some stabilizer in that case as well. I still don’t understand how alcohol “ruins your gas”. Keep the tank full!!!

I prevents the evaporation of the most volatile parts of the gas

Actually it does not prevent evaporation, rather it slows the polymerization of the smaller (more volatile molecules preventing them from becoming heavier. No real difference in the results however, it will still prevent you from starting the car of clog up the system.

I can remember buying gas for $0.174 per gallon in 1963.

Note: modern gas is certainly no worse than the stuff in 1950 and in reality is much better and more consistent. The Alcohol will not hurt a modern engine and it have a number of benefits.

“Benefits?” That’s debatable.

It takes more energy to produce corn-based ethanol than it contains. Converting corn to ethanol raises the prices of food (almost all of which contains some sort of corn product), and ethanol-blended gasoline delivers reduced fuel mileage.

Sugar-based ethanol i different story, but the current infatuation with corn ethanol is nothing but another huge taxpayer funded subsidy to the giant agri-business corporations. There are no benefits that I can see.

Be fair to corn ethanol; it ONLY takes 85% as much energy to produce as it delivers! It is still a horribly inefficient fuel and takes valuable food out of the supply chain. There is nothing wrong with building cars that are flex fuel, however, since in the future cars and trucks will use some form of blended fuel, even if it is not corn ethanol.

Is your car a 1950 model? Modern cars don’t have much air circulating in the fuel tank. Keep in mind that dry gas is alcohol. Keep your tank reasonably full.

It would not hurt to add stabilizer, but you probably don’t need it unless the car will be stored for more than 90 days at a time. Of course, if it is rarely run, using the stabilizer won’t cost much.

As another poster said, alcohol is often used as a gasoline drier. Water will be more evenly distributed in the fuel if it combines with ethanol. The problem comes when it is not mixed in and is injected into the engine as water.

We’re talking about two entirely different things here.

  1. Gas “stabilizer” inhibits the formation of gums and varnishes by slow oxidation of gasoline components. These gums and such can clog up a carb or fuel injector system. Stabilizers only work for six months or so, so make sure you use up the gas within that time, or add more stabilizer.

  2. Gas “dryer” or “antifreeze” keeps water from separating out and freezing or choking the engine. It is usually some form of alcohol (possibly methanol).

Alcohol in gas can be rough on older engines, where it attacks rubber and plastic parts not designed to resist alcohol. You have to be careful about using ethanol blend gas in older cars (even E10 or E15), and don’t even think about E85 or E100 unless the car is designed to run on it.

By the way, what’s 17 cents (1950) in current dollars? 2 bucks? Probably still cheaper than today’s gas, although the stuff dispensed back then was incredibly “crude” by today’s standards.