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Why does my Mini use only non-ethanol gas?

Just bought a 2014 Mini-Cooper. Love driving it. However the salesperson failed to mention that the owners manual states to use only non-ethanol gas, but does not explain why. I asked my regular mechanic and he looked puzzled and said just do what it says. I looked online and they mostly talk about gas mileage. So any ideas? I follow you guys on FB. Good stuff.

Look in the owners manual again . It probably reads Premium fuel ( required or recommended ) which does have ethanol but is a higher octane.

I can’t understand why your mechanic is puzzled . I think it was around 1975 that the last vehicle was made that could not run on unleaded fuel .


So E10 is fine (the kind of gas sold everywhere), E85 is not, as expected.

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So… the OP has a hardcopy 2014 Mini Owner’s Manual containing different verbiage than the 2014 Mini Owner’s Manual that is available online from

Not likely…

OP, are you outside of USA/Canada? Therefore have different owners manual?

“A maximum ethanol content of 10%” is most common, most-used fuel most places I’ve seen in the USA. It’s OK per that manual. E85 (85% ethanol) is not OK in your car and most cars for that matter. You have to find a special pump to find that, if the station has it at all.

Yep, once again it’s all in the book and I don’t mean Facebook.

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But, isn’t it less time-consuming–and ultimately more authoritative–to do a Google search for a car-oriented website, register for that site, post a question, and then wait a few days for replies from people of unknown veracity… instead of reading the Owner’s Manual?

I have a van that can take E85 flex fuel, yellow gas cap. Pretty obvious. But I was trying to see if I could use E15 on my other car -non flex fuel. Nothing in the manual, nothing found on the inter web. I finally found it printed on the gas cap, E15 OK. So not all manuals cover it all

@david13 Just for clarification and to help people give decent replies . Where are you located ? Where did the non-ethanol recommendation come from because that does not appear in the online manual for US based Mini-Coopers ? Is it possible that someone told you that Premium fuel in the US was non-ethanol ?

If your owner’s manual says the same as posted above, then it is approved by Mini to use low levels of ethanol in the gas. The Mini engineers will have tested all the systems for that. Ethanol doesn’t have as much energy per gallon as gasoline, so you may see a slight decrease in mpgs with E-containing gasoline. I don’t see anything at all to indicate low-E-gas poses any known problem for the 1.5 Turbo. But if somebody else w/a Mini had problems and told you about them, and you feel safer using non-E gas, that’s widely available in most areas I’d guess.

One side note: There seems to be a problem with this engine for condensation (water vapor) forming in the crankcase. Maybe whoever told you to avoid E-containing-gasoline said so b/c of that. Some of the gas gets through the piston rings and into the crankcase on most engines, probably more so with a turbo engine like yours has. Ethanol is water soluble while gasoline isn’t, so maybe there’s merit to the avoid-E-gas idea, but it seems like speculation more than science. Just be sure to drive the car enough so the engine reaches full operating temperature for 15 minutes or so every time, and you’ll not likely to have problems with water in the crankcase anyway, as any water will all evaporate out.

It doesn’t

Your manual clearly states that you can use fuel with up to 10% ethanol content, in the U.S. E10 (not to be confused with E85, which you car cannot use) is very common.

Per your manual you need to use fuel with an octane rating of 89. 91 octane is recommend though. You can use gasoline with up to 10 percent ethanol. You cannot use E85 (which is an 85% ethanol/ 15% gasoline blend). You really don’t have much to worry about. I think you misinterpreted what your owner’s manual stated.

You are assuming the OP has a US spec mini. OP still has not stated in which country he lives. Nor has he uploaded the page from his owners manual that states he must use non-ethanol gas. Apparently his mechanic read the same statement in the manual.

The 2014 Mini uses the same gas engines no matter where it’s sold. Europe gets a diesel model that we don’t. Ethanol blended fuel is also sold in Europe it’s not unique to the US. E5-E10 blends aren’t uncommon, so it would stand to reason that even if the OP had euro-spec model that it would be able to handle E10 without issue.

I would still like the OP to upload the portion of the owners manual that he and his mechanic are reading.

I wonder if the verbiage in the manual came out in this guy’s head as “No Ethanol”. My wife is like that. To her its all or nothing.

your car uses unleaded gas.
it can use 10% ethanol gas. it prefers 89-91 octane.
you can even use non-ethanol gas if you prefer which is 91+ octane where i live. and it is unleaded as well.