Gasohol’ may cause problems in older cars

Fuel leaks, rough running, stalling, and other problems can be expected as Kaua’i motorists begin fueling their vehicles with unleaded gasoline mixed with ethanol (ethyl alcohol), officials with Senter Petroleum warned in a press release.

Pursuant to new legislation, effective Wednesday, gasoline with ethanol (ethyl alcohol), known as “gasohol,” is being delivered to all Kaua’i gas stations.

This is new to Hawai’i and Kaua’i, and some vehicles may develop problems due to the effect ethanol has on their fuel tanks and systems.

If there is any significant water in the tank, the ethanol will attract the water, separate to the bottom of the tank, and be sucked into the fuel system of the car.

This will either cause very hard starting, or may completely cause the car not to run. The only solution is to have the car fuel tank drained, and all of the filters cleaned, and add new, fresh fuel.

This should only happen once unless there is a way for water to get back into the system.

Some older cars may experience fuel leaks or rough running, due to seals incompatible with alcohols.

Motorists should have any leaks checked by a mechanic immediately, and not drive the car until they are fixed.

All of the fuel barges, terminals, transport trucks and service stations have taken steps to ensure that there will not be any water in the fuel that is sold at the pump.

In fact, the pump filters will not allow the fuel to be dispensed if it contains any water.

Boat owners who use gasoline must be extremely careful about water getting in their system. It could cause complete engine failure at sea when least expected.

Check fill seals, then drain all tanks and filters to make sure there is no water present, and that none can get in.

The Senter spokesperson suggested motorists use caution, as they do not want to be stranded with a car or boat that will not run in this weather.

With lots of rain forecast, it will be more difficult to keep all the water out of all the gasoline.

He recommended motorists make sure they have cellular telephones with them in case of problems on the road.

Those with questions about ethanol in gasoline may call Senter Petroleum at 245-1911.

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