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lydon71

New smell

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I have been using E85 for about 4 years now and it has always had a somewhat whiskeyish smell to it. Last night I filled up at a Kroger and the E85 had a rotten gin type smell to it.

 

Does anyone have any idea why this would be?

Could the E85 possibly have gone bad? I know gas does if it sits long enough so I guess that is possible for E85 as well, although my van is running just fine on it.

Could it be that the E85 I pumped last night was made from something other than corn?

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I always thought the smell of e85 upon starting up the car was best described as an "Elmer's Glue" type smell...  Love that smell... good conversation starter whe people are around and you are starting your car.

 

I call it the "smell of energy independence"... ;D

 

Sorry to get off topic... no ideas what would cause the off smell...

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Awhile back, one of the stations I frequent changed their formulation slightly.

 

I could swear I caught a whiff of MTBE, a very distinctive smell; one you don't forget.

 

 

 

Anyone out there ever sample the fuel they're sticking in their tank?

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I've caught a funny smell a couple of times... once I pulled into a station and for one reason or another all the E85 pumps were blocked except the one in the back of the lot.  That fuel had an 'off' smell.  Got to thinking...probably the pumps at the front see the most use, nobody would drive all the way to the back 'just for fun', so it might have been setting in the pump/hose/pipes the longest.

 

The other was at a high price/low margin station - I was just trying to get a few gallons to make it to a good margin station (save my 30 cents/gallon).  At the price, they probably just didn't sell much E85 at all...so again, sitting in the pipes.

 

I don't know that the fuel itself is deteriorating - I've had stuff sitting around here in gas cans and when my car was down for engine rebuild for nearly a year and it was still fine.  But maybe if it's picking up something from the station pump/hose/seals, etc?

 

Though I suppose different sources of ethanol might lead to slightly different fuel smell - or if they happened to have some smelly gasoline which it's blended - or if the gas blend % is higher.

 

I periodically sample the E85 to do the water/%E85 check, but have not specifically sampled the 'smelly' fuel - or looked at any other tests. 

 

The converse side to all this - the nose is incredibly sensitive to some things, so even a few parts per billion of some components could be easily detected.  It may be only the smallest trace of something giving the fuel a smell.

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I havent had any go bad, and it wont unless it is exposed to direct sunlight. Sunlight breaks alcohol down, and an opaque container is enough to prevent that. It wont varnish like gas does, and it wont evaporate the lighter stuff and leave heavier stuff that runs like crap without the light stuff, and any water it might attract will simply be burned when you drive.

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Most likely variance in odor is due to the gasoline components added. When the gasoline component is ultra low sulfur natural gasoline (usually almost all C5 pentane) then the nice wiskey odor will dominate. When they use crap pump gas for blending the nice wiskey smell is reduced and overtaken by a gasoline/sulfur compound/skunk odor. The odor is made worse when the crappy pump gas version gets old and the sulfur starts making some fine acids. Even worse when the cold weather blends come and gasoline component % increases. -  'Least thats my 2  ;D

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