The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently approved the use of E15 fuel in all cars and trucks manufactured in 2001 and newer, and you may start seeing it at your local gas station in the future. E15 fuel is comprised of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. It has not been approved for use in small engines, ATVs and motorcycles. Therefore, E15 fuel and your ATV are not a good mix.

Last year the EPA initially was going to approve E15 fuel for 2007 and newer cars and trucks as can be seen from the brightly colored original warning label with easy to read contrasting text. This recent announcement approves E15 fuel for 2001 and newer cars and trucks as can be seen from the new smaller dull label with smaller text.

Ethanol increases the instability of gasoline due to its water-absorbing properties. It is particularly damaging to a vehicle that sits for a long period of time, like winter storage. The water absorbed into the fuel can cause corrosion to metal parts.

Ethanol is also a solvent and will loosen up rust deposits, caused by the corrosion, which can clog areas of the carburetor and fuel injectors. All the damage to your ATV caused from ethanol is not covered by the ATV manufacturer. Always read the label on the pump before you gas up!

There is an easy way to prevent damage caused by fuel containing ethanol. The use of a fuel stabilizer with E10 or E15 fuel each time you fill up will prevent corrosion caused by ethanol and help clean fuel injectors and intake valves. Also for long-term storage the use of a fuel stabilizer is highly recommended.

Fuel stabilizers are special fuel additives that can be used with any gasoline engine, including engines that use gasoline/oil mixtures and ethanol blends. There are many brands of fuel stabilizers available:

  • Traveller
  • Sta-Bil
  • Chevron Techron
  • Sea Foam
  • Star Tron
  • Lucas

To complicate things, if a gas station offers E15 and E10 from the same pump you will be required to pump a minimum of four gallons of fuel. This is to dilute any remaining fuel left in the hose from the previous user.

This will pose a problem for ATVers and motorcyclists who don’t require four gallons of fuel or have four gallon tanks.

It’s highly unlikely that E15 fuel will start showing up at your local gas station anytime soon. This is because most gas stations will require a new separate corrosive-resistant underground tank for E15. Also with the current drought conditions, corn crops are suffering causing corn prices to surge upward. But whatever the case be prepared.

Always read the label on the pump before you gas up!

This article originally appeared on and is republished with permission.

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