Ethanol Fans and motor buffs, take note of an automotive research project just completed at Minnesota State University, Mankato. The project compared the effects of gasoline, ethanol blended in gasoline at 10% (E10), and a 20% ethanol blend (E20) on eight different automotive fuel pumps and three sending units. The pumps and units were put through a 4,000-hour endurance test at the university's Minnesota Center for Automotive Research.

The results were very positive for ethanol fuels.

First, the researchers reported that it was apparent ethanol fuels kept the pumps, sending units and test fixtures clean. A grayish-black residue was found on the parts immersed in gasoline, while the same items in the E10 and E20 tests were clean. They did note that some pumps in the E20 test had “light surface corrosion, but not to the extent to affect their function.”

Second, the researchers found no correlation between type of fuel and pump performance. Four pumps failed by the end of the study. Two were tested in gasoline and two in E10.

Third, a definite trend did appear in commutator wear. The commutators of several pumps tested in gasoline “wore substantially more than in either ethanol fuel,” the researchers stated.

“Overall, E20 did not cause any greater negative effects than gasoline or E10 on the fuel pumps tested,” the report concluded.

All of the sending units failed by the end of the project. The researchers noted visual differences between the units tested in E10 and E20 when compared to gasoline. But the differences did not affect how the units functioned.

It is rare today to see positive reports in the mainstream press about ethanol fuel. This report deserves media attention because plenty of consumers AND farmers are concerned about how ethanol affects their vehicles. Now we're getting a better picture, and it looks good.