Going with the ethanol blend trend

Ferman Lao on the question of using ethanol-blended gasoline   for a 2002 Toyota Altis.
by Ferman Lao | Sep 20, 2009

Dear Top Gear,

I have a Toyota Corolla Altis 1.6E 2002 model (purchased Sept 2001).  Non-E10 gasoline is very much limited nowadays (Caltex XCS, and others that maybe I don\'t know about). I\'ve already confirmed with Toyota that my car should not be filled up with E10. Below is a quote from their reply:

\"We discourage use of E10 on your vehicle.  

Only Toyota vehicles model year 2004 onwards with Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI) except 7K-E and 1RZ-E engines can readily accept the use of Ethanol blended in gasoline, up to [a maximum of] 10% by volume or E10.

Please be advised that there are rubber components in your vehicle which are not suitable to E10 blend. Further, we discourage the use of Ethanol in all carburetor-type engines, as vapor lock may occur. This will make it difficult to start the cold engine in the morning.\"

Because of this, I fill up instead with the more expensive \"regular\" gasoline (Petron XCS for my case).  I\'ve asked a few Toyota dealerships for conversion packages but they said none existed. So I am now spending more for fuel that I normally did not fill up with.
 
My question is, what can be done so that my car (and other older cars for that matter) can use e10? Are there parts that should be replaced? Also, isn\'t my engine still the same with the current model Altis, which is compatible with E10?
 
Thanks a lot,
 
John

Continue reading below ↓

Hi John,

Government policy mandates that by around July 2010 all fuels sold by our oil companies will have 10% ethanol content.

Whether or not they considered the effects of ethanol blended fuel on older vehicles and fuel system is a question that seems to be answered with a no. There does not seem to be any mention of that matter in Republic Act 9367 or in its Implementing Rules and Regulations.

Given that by the time of the law\'s implementation neither of us is going to have a choice, you can choose to use non-ethanol blended gasoline for as long as you can or just use it right away and get it over with. If there are going to be problems with E10 usage it\'s not likely to happen overnight. It will only rear its ugly head after some time, and even then this will be subject to the condition of your vehicle when you start using E10. The poorer the condition, the more likely you will encounter issues. However, if I were a gambler that plays the odds, I would bet good money on a car in good condition that\'s properly maintained not encountering any mechanical problems that are directly related to the use of ethanol-blended fuels.

The only thing that\'s certain is ethanol has a lower energy content and most of us will probably experience a slight loss of power as well as an increase in fuel consumption with ethanol blended fuels. Ironic that one of the goals of the biofuels act is to reduce dependency on imported fuel and we\'re trying to achieve this by having to use more.

Continue reading below ↓

Best regards,

Ferman Lao


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