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E10 not so sweet

Published:Sunday | February 21, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Laranzo Dacres, Gleaner Writer

Since its islandwide roll-out last November, the environmentally friendly ethanol-blend gasolene, E10, has been a fiery topic for several motorists.

Lamore Andrews is one such person. She said the gasolene has damaged her vehicle.

"The E10 gas damaged my throttle. So, whenever I stop at a stop light, the car shakes violently. At times, when it starts to shake, it feels like it is going to shut off, especially when I am approaching a stop light or intersection, it is more pronounced then," she said.

Andrews' mechanic, Glenn Campbell, confirms her claim. The mechanic with 30 years' experience said quite a few of his customers had been having problems with the gasolene but stated there were some cars that ran efficiently on the 'gasohol'.

"It has some negative effects on some vehicles, while for others it doesn't. I mostly work with SUVs and I find that 2005 and up Prado and Pajero models run pretty good with the E10 ... also, 2000 and up models of the Honda Accord. "

Octane booster

Campbell said the vehicles negatively affected were older models. He recommended motorists use additives like octane booster with carburettor cleaner, or injector cleaner, depending on engine type.

"These additives will make the car run better with the E10 as it cleans out the green residue that the burnt E10 leaves behind, and this will make the car give better performance with the E10," he said.

The mechanic said if that did not work, switching to Shell V-Power would have a car running like it used to, but it was a bit more expensive.

Andrews swears by Campbell's recommendation.

"I was in the process of looking for a throttle body to buy for my '96 Nissan Sunny, and while in the process, I was recommended to use Shell V-Power or Texaco's Techron. I started to use the V-Power and the car doesn't shake anymore and doesn't shut off," Andrews explained.

Drastic reduction

The mechanic with more than 20 years' experience said back in 2008 when only E10-87 was available, he used to mix it with the 90 Octane. He said he got 140 miles per quarter tank. Now with the E10, his mileage per litre has been drastically reduced.

"I drive a '92 Volkswagen Gulf. Now, since its straight E10, I am only getting 53-60 miles with the same quarter tank."

He said he also had a few customers who complained about the gasolene damaging their fuel pumps and losing power.

He explained ethanol is hydroscopic and absorbs water from the atmosphere. This contributes to the added moisture or droplets of water seen when the fuel pumps are removed.

"The E10 gives me lower mileage, so I end up going to the gas station more. So do my customers," Pitt said.

However, general manager of PetroJam, Winston Watson, said that he had not received any formal complaints about the gasolene.

"I have had no complaints from E10 users that they have been having problems," Watson told

When asked whether there was a policy in place to compensate individuals if their claims were found to be legitimate, he said: "You would have to talk to the Government because it is their policy. I would not be able to speak on that in terms of compensation."