1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

February 26, 2008

:057 MTBE in Gas

Filed under: :057 MTBE in Gas — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

U.S. Production of Ethanol and MTBE, 1993-2002 Credit: US Dept of Energy

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:057 Tip: MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a gasoline additive that has been turning up in various water supplies. Of course gasoline contamination of any kind is a problem, but MTBE is long lasting and water soluble so it is presenting a number of additional environmental issues. Fortunately ethanol (alcohol) is an additive that can perform the same oxygenation function as MTBE without the same consequences to the environment. Alcohol is used in concentrations of up to 10% in gasoline to improve the burning characteristics and cut down on pollution (over 10% requires specially modified vehicles). Alcohol also will remove condensation moisture from gasoline (its the same thing that you purchase in many gasoline additives for removing water from your tank).

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Additional Information

You can get more information about MTBE in gasoline and the problems it causes from the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/gas.htm

I have heard that all gasoline in Califoria and New York now contains alcohol and no MTBE, but I am still working to confirm that. Every Union 76 station I have visited has had a sticker saying the gasoline may contain up to 10% ethanol.

I suspect that other states are also labeling their pumps.

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