Alcohol In Fuel — Aug. 1987, page 18
Alcohol in fuel has been a growing concern in the last year or so because of the increase in its use by gasoline manufacturers. Basically, a little alcohol never hurt anyone (bike, that is), if it's used correctly. The U.S. government does limit to 10% the total amount of alcohol that can be put into your Venture's fuel, but the government has no control over each state to make them show the exact amount on the gas pump.
It's important to note that this 10% alcohol restriction is only for unleaded fuel; there is no limit for leaded fuel. You should be using unleaded in your Venture anyway.
In time, alcohol will cause the fuel lines and any plastic parts of the Venture's fuel system to become very brittle. It could cause some cracking or fuel leaks.
In the Tech Tip following this article you'll learn how to use water to make alcohol, if there is any present, separate from gasoline. This should also tell you something about the way your fuel will react to local humidity in the air. Since water causes alcohol and gasoline to separate, if you get water in your bike's fuel system, the engine might be burning plain gasoline, or plain alcohol, or trying to burn mixtures of gas and water or alcohol and water, or even plain water. A mess no matter how you look at it.
Alcohol in the dry desert is no fun either, because alcohol has a much lower boiling point than gas. After parking your bike after a long ride, the heat of the motor trapped around the carbs will cause the alcohol to boil out the vent hole in the top of the carb body and cause a rich condition the next time you start up. This will blacken the plugs and cause the bike to be hard to start.
Also accompanying this article is a chart showing which states require labeling of fuel pumps. The chart was accurate as of March 1986. If you will be traveling, contact your local office of the Bureau of Weights and Measures for specific information on the states you'll be traveling to. At this time we have no information on alcohol in fuel in Canada.
Following are the current Environmental Protection Agency's definitions of various fuels, and regulations concerning their formulation.
* Regular Fuel — Leaded type. No restrictions on alcohol content. Maximum lead content reduced from 1.1 grams per gallon to 0.1 g/gal. on January 1, 1986.
* Regular Fuel — Unleaded type
* Gasohol — Generic. EPA defines gasohol as unleaded fuel with up to 10% ethanol by volume.
* Oxynol — Trade name of Atlantic Richfield Co. EPA allows Arco a waiver to blend unleaded fuel with a maximum 4.75% TBA cosolvent. (Used only in the eastern U.S.)
* Premium Fuel — Unleaded type. All major refiners in the U.S. sell premium unleaded gasoline.
* Ethanol (Grain Alcohol) is more expensive than gasoline; more stable (stays mixed) better than methanol; raises octane value by 2 to 3 points; has a higher caloric content than gasoline, thus a higher fuel consumption.
* Methanol (Wood Alcohol — coal and natural gas origin) is cheaper than gasoline; is very unstable, especially if any water is present (requires a cosolvent to stay mixed); raises octane rating and fuel consumption.