By on March 4, 2011

German motorists won an important battle against ethanol. They used a downright un-German tactic: Widespread insurrection. They simply won’t buy the stuff. An edict handed down from Brussels ordered that Super has to contain 10 percent of ethanol. An alliance from Germany’s ADAC autoclub to Greenpeace said the new gasoline is a work of the devil, it is liable to ruin cars, and the environment. That didn’t impress Brussels.  But then, a buyer strike did set in.

Motorists in Germany shun the ethyl with ethanol and buy 98 Super Plus high-test instead, reports Das Autohaus from Germany. Refiners and gas stations are sitting on full tanks of unsold Super E10. On the other hand, there already are shortages of the more expensive, but also more energy-laden Super Plus.

Yesterday, gasoline companies pulled the emergency brake and declared that they would stop the roll-out of Super E10 in Germany. The pathetic petrol is only available in less than half of Germany’s gas stations.

Economy Minister Brüderle joined the fray and does what he does best: Run down the clock. He announced a “gasoline summit” where stakeholders should explain their position. No date has been set. At the summit, pretty much everybody will be against the bio-benzene: Customers don’t want it, auto clubs warn against it, environmentalists such as Greenpeace warn that the fuel will increase CO2 production. “E10 can ruin cars and the environment,” says Greenpeace.

The European Auto Maker Association ACEA is pouring gasoline in the fire by publishing compatibility lists that add to the widespread confusion.

Says the list: “It is important to note that the compatibility of vehicle with petrol depends both on the petrol octane rating and its ethanol content. The vehicle’s octane requirement must be met and the ethanol content of the petrol may not exceed the compatibility limit. In case of doubt, drivers are advised to contact their dealer.”

No wonder everybody avoids it like the devil the holy water.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

32 Comments on “German Buyer Strike Stops Ethanol...”

  • avatar

    Hope we can make this happen in US too!

  • avatar

    I too hope that we can make this happen here. My cars have just not been right since ethanol was forced on us in my state.

  • avatar

    I avoid stations that sell that watered down piss of an excuse for a fuel.

    • 0 avatar

      I too have the option of ethanol-free gas here in upstate NY. trucked in from Canada; it costs a little more but, in the long run it’s actually cheap engine insurance. as far as the rest of the US motoring public … have you seen the tv spot with all the sheep at the wheel ? … good luck with that … 

    • 0 avatar

      Interesting logic, couper:
      “I have the option of ethanol-free gas, therefore the rest of the motoring public are sheep.”
      For your information, in the DC metro area, there are no gas stations that carry ethanol-free gas, therefore I am stuck with E10. But, I guess that makes me go, “Baaaaaaa.”

  • avatar

    It’s good that governments and regulators are sometimes reminded that they work for the people, and not our “betters” who can just decide what we should do at their whim. Hopefully this will spread to other European nations and teach those meddling “betters” in Brussels a thing or two. Hey, maybe in the U.S. too!

    • 0 avatar

      I’d be ok with it if in fact it was better for something other than ADM and other Big Agriculture. But it is not. Less energy content, worse mileage, harder on the environment, harder on car parts, and to boot, an net energy loser. This boondoggle has not one positive aspect about it.

  • avatar

    The European bureaucrats missed one of the key tricks employed here in California: don’t give buyers an option. E10 is mandatory in all grades here.

  • avatar

    I wish I had a choice. By law, all gasoline in urban centers in my state must contain at least 10% ethanol. Whenever I travel in rural areas I always try to fill up with the good stuff.
    I blame midwest agrocorporations for this.

  • avatar
    John R

    Wow. You know this is seriously bad when auto-enthusiast  AND Greenpeace are on the same page.

    • 0 avatar

      Environmentalists and automobile people have been against this for some time.  Ethanol is a sop to the agricultral lobby and always has been.  Very few actual environmentalists have been in support of it.

    • 0 avatar

      Psar, why are the enviros against it?  From the research I’ve looked at, ethanol does actually reduce some emissions.  Not that I’m for it, just saying there are some benefits.

    • 0 avatar

      Because it’s net-energy negative and, in practical terms, not carbon-neutral either.  That it encourages the worst kind of agricultural practice (monoculture, soil mistreatment, water waste) is just icing on the cake.

  • avatar

    Thank god that crap is not mandatory where I live. I only, and I mean only, use Shell V-Power. Great fuel and the only one sold in my area thats on the Audi “Top Tier” fuel list. I remember that a 2005 Ford Focus I used to own got fed ethanol once due to no other gas stations being around and I was emtpy. The simple, plain-jane 2.0 litre engine ran like complete crap for the duration of it having that garbage in the tank. And it got 50 less km from the tank. If it could to that to the old Ford 2.0, I hate to think what it would have done to the Audi 2.7T I used to own or the 3.2FSI I have now.

    • 0 avatar

      The Top Tier list is, I think, a coalition of car mfgs, and not just Audi. I also use only the Shell as its the only top tier in my area. But here in Massachusetts, to my knowledge we can’t get anything without ethanol. Otherwise I would.

    • 0 avatar

      This is the case in Maine as well – ALL gas has “up to 10%” corn-crap in it. And in most of the state, Premium maxes out at 91 octane too. :-(

      On the rare occasion I can fill up with real gas, I see a VERY noticable increase in fuel mileage in my Saab.

      But I can’t say I have seen any difference in running or durability, even on my Spitfire or Alfa Romeos. They all run just fine on 91 Octane and 10% corn crap. I did have to dial the timing back a touch on the Spit though.

    • 0 avatar

      Yeah…that’s the way to sell ethanol fuel: make it so we can’t buy anything else. Can there be any doubt that we have too much government?

  • avatar

    The only thing that I can say in favor of E10 is that I haven’t had a gas line freeze up ever since it became the predominant fuel available in Chicagoland, which used to happen anytime that I failed to add Heat to my tank every other fill up. I still think that ethanol will be a major part of vehicle fuels in the future, but it doesn’t make sense with today’s technology.

    • 0 avatar

      There’s nothing really wrong with diverting biowaste into fuel via microbial action, either into ethanol or some form of biogas propane-equivalent.  it’s a good idea in terms of waste management and is (relatively) carbon-neutral.  It’s probably enough for ethanol’s role as a replacement for MTBE, or perhaps to run gas-turbine powerplants.
      It just doesn’t scale.

  • avatar

    It bears repeating that 40% of the US corn crop (that’s 15% of the world’s crop) goes in our gas tanks. Apparently a lot of that corn is not fit for human consumption, but it does displace acreage in corn that is for humans, and it displaces other grain crops that are also for humans. All we need is a couple of years of poor harvests in multiple growing areas from weather or disease and we’ll have food shortages. Before then, in fact, now, we’ll have increased food prices – in the US, that would be inconvenient; other countries have much more serious problems because food represents a larger % of a family’s budget. Great propaganda for us in the US. Not.
    All this to kiss the backsides of Iowa growers. Supported by a congressional delegation pretty evenly divided between the major parties.

  • avatar

    I also fill up with Shell V-Power, as it contains no corn juice. I believe that Premium gas from Petro Canada also ethanol free. So far I know for sure that all grades of Husky gas have at least 10% of ethanol, so I wont be buying their fuel. Last Summer when I just purchased my car and used regular gas, I could hear pinging on hard acceleration. It disappeared with use of high grade octane, eventhough my car was designed to run on 87.

    • 0 avatar

      Then there’s something wrong with your car. Ethanol increases octane rating.

    • 0 avatar

      The 10% ethanol most likely raises the octane rating, as Steve65 notes.  However, the ethanol lowers the Reid vapor pressure, which means that some other blending components can’t be used–lower octane components are subsituted.  Additionally, ethanol is substituted for MTBE (and touline in Canada?).  Those are also octane boosters.  California’s switch from MTBE to ethanol coincided with a switch from 92 or 93 octane down to 91.  I hear the California RFG version II gasoline we get in the Bay Area is really only barely 91 at best.

    • 0 avatar

      I know a place locally that pumps 100 octane race gas (for off road use only of course). The price though, is eye-watering. Only time I’ve ever seen that pump in use was for a Ferrari 275 of some sort.

    • 0 avatar

      “Only time I’ve ever seen that pump in use was for a Ferrari 275 of some sort.”
      Given that the Ferrari 275 has a comp ration of something like 9.2:1 there are a couple of things we may consider from the  use of 100 octane. 1. The Ferrari in question has a shockingly bad combustion chamber design 2. The guy filling it is clueless as to the properties of fuel and what an octane rating actually means.

    • 0 avatar

      If he can afford to use a vintage Ferrari as a regular driver, he can afford to pay a few extra dollars per fillup to avoid having to put E10 in it.

  • avatar

    People in Germany are simply fed up.
    Aside from the owners of about 3 – 5 million cars that simply won’t run with E10 gas, the others do know very well that long-term test results with this gas regarding engine durability are not available. What they know is, that they would neither get money from the manufacturer nor from government should they ran into any problems. So, they take the more expensive fuel and wait and see.
    After using this stuff and having an up-to-date car with low mileage certified for E10 I have noticed an increase in consumption of about 6 to 8% going well beyond the 3% conceded by professional do-gooders.
    BTW: The cheapest gas (i.e., E10) today in my area is 5.87 Euro per gallon. E5 gas is 6.21 Euro per gallon, 102 octane gas is 6.36 per gallon (assuming 3.79 liters as a gallon).
    This is just one reason why politicians and oil company executives DO need bodyguards.

Read all comments

Recent Comments

  • jack4x: “Our Panasonic plasma has over 50,000 hours on in from when we purchased it in 2008.” Not...
  • kcflyer: The best thing I can say about the styling is don’t hate it, but it’s not what I’d call...
  • bullnuke: Varezhka – I believe that you’ve hit on the push of all Subaru products to CVT – the...
  • SCE to AUX: COTY tends to be a curse on its recipients.
  • myllis: U.S. market Ramblers were imported also by a two companies in Finland called Voimavaunu Oy and Suomen...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Jo Borras
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber