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Easy Ethanol Test

Ryan's Blog Feb 16th

Published online: Feb 16, 2012 White Out & Wide Open—The Blog Ryan Harris
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Don't trust your local gas station about whether or not its premium unleaded really contains ethanol? Neither do we.

Idaho, for example, recently became victim of allegedly having 100 percent of its gasoline shipments be an ethanol blend--regardless of octane rating. Some stations have been able to work their own arrangements for ethanol-free premium gas. However, many stations still display stickers or labels claiming that their premium unleaded is ethanol-free.

How can you be sure? Here's a quick and simple test that Ride Rasmussen Style's Tony Jenkins showed us. All you need is a clear bottle and some water. Put about an inch of water in the bottle and then add the fuel you want to test to the bottle. Shake it a little and watch what happens. Since ethanol absorbs water, the ethanol will take on a milky appearance--a dead giveaway. If there's no ethanol present in the fuel, the gasoline will separate itself from the water (pictured) with a distinct line between the gasoline and the heavier water below it. We've found three of our old standby gas stations claiming ethanol-free premium do in fact have ethanol blends instead. Bummer. But we carry a couple empty water bottles in the bed of the truck now.