EXCELLENT question, never gave it a thought - Leaded and Ethanol (Public Board)

by Cornpop Sutton ⌂, A bad bad dude who makes good shine., Saturday, May 13, 2023, 13:31 (22 days ago) @ ,ndo
edited by Cornpop Sutton, Saturday, May 13, 2023, 13:47

The US doesn't have leaded gas anymore. It was banned decades ago due to environmental concerns as well as issues such as brain damage from lead, and because of catalytic converter use there is no market for leaded gas anyway. I think it disappeared in the 80s from the market.

Great question and I did a bit of research. I figured that the problem was easily solved because there is a vibrant market in the US for classic cars that date back to the 1920s in some cases. Most of the small town vintage car rallies display 50s and 60s coupes and muscle cars.

I was totally unaware of the issue. Here is a great explainer: https://classicautoadvisors.com/2021/07/26/classic-car-gas-part-i-unleaded-fuel/

It turns out that there is a multitude of common "lead replacement" additives sold by auto parts stores. The other alternative is for a machine shop to modify the valve seats in the engine which means tearing the engine apart.

The other issue is that ethanol is universal (E10, 10% alcohol) and ethanol rots many parts. Here is the issue:


A vintage car may need some minor rework to tolerate the corrosion and water attraction of ethanol.

I can find no ethanol gasoline around me (it's marine fuel) but it costs 1/3 more than regular retail gas.

I was chatting with a neighbor who tears apart and rebuilds yard equipment and he said that ethanol is responsible for gum in old stored gas. He's literally cleaned jelly out of engines that had old gas.

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