Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Too much ethanol in gas

Has anyone else experienced this? The dealer tells me my tank has 17% ethanol in the gas, so it runs rough when you first start it. All the stations I have been to say 10% ethanol. Is there any way to get the ethanol level lower?

Look on the internet for street rod/hot rod/classic car clubs in your area. These people run older engines where the fuel systems cannot tolerate any amount of ethanol. So they have to have a source of non-oxygenated (no ethanol) gas for their vehicles. And these sites provide the names of gas stations that provide this fuel. So on your next fill, put in non-oxygenated fuel.

But how was the dealer able to determine that the ethanol contant was at 17%?


It sounds like the dealer is feeding you a bunch of BS. There’s no way a dealer could know the ethanol percentage without taking a sample of gas from your tank, and doing expensive analysis at some lab. I’ve never heard of any dealer doing that. I think the dealer just doesn’t know what the problem is, so they’re brushing you off. Did you bring your vehicle in for warranty repairs?

About the only way to get too much ethanol is to pump a little bit of e85 into your tank, and while it’s certainly possible, you’d have to have filled up some with normal fuel several times since then to get a 17% concentration. And if the ethanol is supposedly causing the problem, you’d have had rough starting for a fair while.

Incidentally, if you ever do need to get less ethanol in your tank, you’d just need to fill up with regular, no-ethanol-added fuel for a bit.

Not sure how. It just states on the work order, tested gas found 17% etanol in tank.

Probably was hosed by the dealer, but I think in Virginia ethanol gas is the only kind they can sell.

It sounds to me that they don’t know what is wrong with your car and they are trying to get you to go away, at least until the warranty is up or they get someone in the shop that knows what they are doing.

Minnesota was the first state that mandated that gasolines contain a concentration of 10% ethanol. And we learned from that mistake. We found that older fuel systems couldn’t tolerate ethanol. So the state allowed some of the gas to be non-oxygenated. This gas is for things like classic cars, older marine engines, older yard/garden engines, and older recreation vehicle engines. The state had to do this because it wouldn’t be able to afford the cost of the law suits filled for damages to personal property from the use of this mandated fuel. I’m sure your state has adopted something simular to this.


Add more non-ethanol gas to dilute what’s in your tank.
And for the non-believers, the dealer’s diagnostic system has the capability to test the ethanol concentration in the tank. Additionally, Many non FFV cars will run on E85 with no issues, so an extra 7% ethanol in the OP’s tank isn’t going to cause driveability issues.

With proper tuning any gasoline motor will operate on PURE ethanol or any combination of it.