Alternative Fuels


Q: Ethanol blended fuel is coming to my area, is there anything I need to do to make sure my equipment works?

A: Most states are legislated to blend up to 10% ethanol in their fuel stocks. If you presently do not have any ethanol, you need to make sure your underground tanks are clean and do not contain water before getting your first load of ethanol blended fuel. Ethanol acts like a solvent and cleans out the tanks and fuel system, the result is sediments get flushed out through the dispensing equipment. Expect to change dispenser filters until the system is clean. Any Catlow products such as nozzles, breakaways and swivels are UL approved for up to 10% ethanol.

Q: Can I sell E85 ethanol blended fuel with existing fueling equipment?

A: In short, the answer is no. Higher blended ethanol fuel (85-100% ethanol) is very aggressive to elastomers (soft components) and incompatible with certain soft metals like aluminum, copper, and brass. Equipment for E85 blended fuel is designed with special O rings and diaphragms along with E nickel plating surfaces to be impervious to these higher aggressive blended fuels. Catlow has equipment designed and modified for these higher E85 blends.

Q: My car is only a few years old, can I run E85 fuel in it?

A: No, only “Flex Fuel” vehicles have fuel systems designed for the high blended ethanol.

Q: I was at a gas station and they had yellow covers on their nozzles, does that mean they have ethanol in the fuel?

A: No, Nozzle covers are not regulated and colors are not an indication of product. Dispensers should have a sticker indicating that ethanol is present, and at what concentration.

Q: I have a Flex Fuel vehicle, but my mileage drops when I fill with E85, why?

A: Ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline, and can reduce your mileage by 25%. Your car’s OBD (on board diagnostics) will adjust to optimize your engine for best performance so you may not notice any difference in drivability, but you will get less miles per gallon with E85.


Q: I have a diesel vehicle and wanted to know if I can run bio-diesel in it?

A: Check your owner’s manual and discuss with your automotive service professional.

Q: What kind of biodiesels are there?

A: Typically there are two blends, B20 and B100. This refers to the amount of fatty acid methyl esters blended into the diesel. B100 is much more aggressive and may degrade some hoses, gaskets, seals and other elastomers. Biodiesel blends of 20% have shown a much smaller effect on these materials. Brass, bronze, copper, lead tin and zinc may accelerate the oxidation of biodiesel creating fuel insolubles or gels and salts and affect fuel quality.

Q: The spouts on my auto diesel nozzles are larger than the gasoline spouts, are there any differences in the biodiesel nozzle spouts?

A: Gasoline nozzles have a 13/16 diameter spout, auto diesel spouts use a 15/16 diameter “leaded” spout which is designed to prevent mis-fueling and putting diesel into your gasoline vehicle. There is no difference in biodiesel spouts.

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