[Bump or dig or whatever]
On 26 Dec 2010 DAWN Business section contained this article:
Image is highly zoomed out so I copy the text:
Car maker’s [sic] advice against E-10 Cheap fuel sale causing serious engine problems
By Aamir Shafaat Khan
KARACHI, Dec 25: Many car owners have complained about supply of sub standard fuel by certain petrol stations, which cause mechanical problems some time leading to breakdown of vehicles.. Many incidents have been reported over the past few months from all over the country when cars broke down on roads without any indication because of damage to their fuel injection system caused either by ethanol blended fuel (E-10) or petrol mixed with Iranian smuggled petrol supplied by reputable gasoline stations.
It is not possible for the victim drivers to check the quality of gasoline. More cautious car owners opt to get their fuel tanks filled at petrol stations managed by renowned companies.
There is evidence to suggest that these customers are not getting value for the money they pay after purchasing fuel at some stations.
In fact, some fuel suppliers seem to be indulging in unethical practice of mixing cheaper substitutes with petrol. As a result, cars having fuel injection system based on carburetors fail to comply with the mixed petrol that often forms a sticky sludge in fuel tanks.
Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) and the government have yet to take any action to check ‘Dabba’ filling stations involved in selling either Iranian smuggled petrol or mixing it with locally produced motor gasoline by the petrol dealers.
After experiencing the problem many new car buyers demand refund for damage from the local assemblers.The authorised dealers, while simply flushing out the sticky sludge from fuel tanks, overhaul the carburetor. They strictly ask the customers to refrain from using E-10 and cheaper variety of petrol. They also insist customers to use hi-octane petrol only or blend the same with normal petrol.
Some car dealers said that the main problem in fuel injection system has cropped up in Northern Areas and Punjab mainly where customers had used smuggled Iranian petrol or sub-standard motor gasoline in their vehicles.
Pak Suzuki Motor Company Limited (PSMCL), GM Marketing Ashfaq Hussain said the company had issued a service bulletin to its authorised dealers in Sept 2009 informing customers that E-10 is not suitable for Alto, Mehran, Bolan and Ravi models.
He said the fuel injection on these vehicles is managed through carburetor. E-10 is a solvent which dissolves plastic, rubber, certain types of fibre glass and to some extent aluminum parts. It contains ethanol which also dissolves resins that create a black sludge causing engine seizures and clogged fuel filters and carburetor jets.
He said the company has pasted a sticker at a fuel lid of such vehicle variants to educate customers and awareness about its harmful effects on carburetor fuel injection system.
An authorised dealer of Honda car said the company has been advising its buyers to use only unleaded and supreme petrol in their vehicles but the company has not given any guidelines on E-10.
Indus Motor Company (IMC) director Sales and Marketing Raza Ansari said that the company has not received any complaints from Toyota car customers regarding any problem in fuel injection system after using E-10.
A spokesperson of Pakistan State Oil (PSO) said he had checked with the management regarding the problem of E-10 in two different brands of vehicles and it was found that Suzuki’s Bolan and another car has rubber piping system which is not strong enough to use ethanol. Other models of Suzuki have no issues.
The official said Honda’s various models are being checked and the newer models have no reported any problem so far.
The Pakistan Automotive Manufacturers Association (PAMA) had asked the government in 2007-08 to initially introduce three per cent ethanol blending as it would not affect the component of fuel supply system and engine regardless of their design.
It said that higher than three per cent ethanol mixing may adversely interact with rubber and metal parts and may hit vehicles performance.
For reference, the text can be found in the epaper printable and regular Dawn too.
The article is written in a highly non-technical manner and the writer has failed to distinguish clearly between smuggled (unbranded) petrol and E10. The article seems to conclude that since both smuggled petrol and E10 are cheap therefore they cause engine damage and damage of other parts. Now we can give the benefit of doubt to the writer, editor etc. because most probably they've studied journalism and not engineering. However the ugliest part is: car maker's. It should have been car makers (w/o an apostrophe).
There are other technical discrepancies worth pointing out. Number one is they are promoting the idea that E10 is not suitable for carburettor engines. Does it have a technical basis? No. Other than the fact that carburetted engines were designed in an era when E10 was not available and thus have not been validated for E10 use, whereas newer EFI engines have been tested (and found OK or not OK, see your owner's manual).
Anyhow, what I'm thinking is: One car manufacturer can use fuel lines in some cars that are suitable for E10 whereas in other cars built in the same factory they use pipes that will get dissolved in E10. Can't they just use the same pipes for all cars they make?
On a side note, why are the car manufacturers recommending using hi octane only or mixing it with regular when all engines manufactured here are low or normal compression engines? If they feel the petrol quality is not at par they should say so. IMO we get below-regular petrol at cost of regular and regular at the price of hi octane.
Update: E10 is unavailable as of 2-3 months on all stations due to some pricing issue. It is even unavailable at the Khayaban-e-Ittehad PSO pump near masjid-e-Aisha which has served as a pilot for the E10 program for many many years.