If you’re driving a vintage car, you might want to think twice before putting ethanol into the gas tank, and your insurance company may thank you for that hesitation.
While ethanol-based fuels use less crude oil than conventional gasoline, and are better for the environment, they contain solvents that can “loosen sludge, varnish and dirt that accumulate in your gas tank,” according to AutoWeek contributor Ken Gross, who also warns that ethanol can block carburetor jets and block older fuel lines, as well possibly being incompatible with aging rubber compounds and some metals commonly used in older cars.
While most current data on ethanol and older-model cars, Gross’s warnings are supported by such companies as Hagerty Insurance Agency, a company that specializes in insuring vintage vehicles. Hagerty, in conjunction with the Kettering University Advanced Engine Research Laboratory has launched a $50,000 study to determine how much danger ethanol really poses to vintage cars.
Meanwhile, Gross suggests it’s better to be safe than sorry, and avoid using ethanol in older cars, and insurance companies agree – they don’t want to pay out claims if ethanol destroys your engine.