Germany is in an uproar against ethanol. Last week, motorists celebrated a win against alcohol in their gasoline: Oil companies stopped the build-out of E10 gas stations. The matter still fuels the headlines. Over the weekend, German’s Die Welt newspaper shocked its readers with the news that the bio-benzene can ruin engines which supposedly are ok for the fuel.
“E10 is under suspicion to stress the engine oil harder than conventional fuel. This causes minimized viscosity and increased engine wear,” writes the paper. Supposedly, the stuff literally waters down the oil. Die Welt quotes Thomas Brüner of BMW who said: “The 10 percent ethanol increase the water in the engine. The water condenses and mixes with the oil. The oil gets diluted and ages faster.”
Ever since these news hit, you see more and more motorists checking their oil. Not for a lack of level, but for an increase. If the level rises, it’s caused by the ethanol water. At the same time, the level of confusion is on the rise, and E10 sits unsold in full tanks.
Sunday evening. BMW sent out a press release in which the Munich car company “supports the introduction of E10 in Germany. The statements of Mr. Brüner do not refer to countries with a fuel quality as in the EU, they referred to countries with a lesser quality of fuel. Some older BMW vehicles require the anti-knock properties of Super Plus ROZ 98.”
Maybe you want to keep an eye on that dipstick.
PS: BMW today issued a flurry of press releases on this topic. In its third sixth missive (so far) (I get them in German and English, English version follows) BMW “would like to make the following clear:
- The condensation effect is a side effect of the normal combustion process – independently of the use of E10 – and therefore does not pose a problem.
- The oil-change intervals defined by BMW are not affected and therefore remain unchanged.
- The report’s falsely claimed link between the use of E10 fuel and “more rapid engine wear” does not exist.”