The Effects Today’s Fuel Has on Older Vehicles

Is ethanol something you’d want in your classic? It makes up 10% of the fuel that goes in our vehicles nowadays. There’s some benefit to having ethanol in your fuel such as a cleaner burn and that it’s more environmentally friendly. That’s great for fuel injected vehicles made in 1977 or later, but what about carbureted vehicles?

No one knows classics like Kenny and he’s seen the effects that modern day fuel has on carburetors and classic engines. Back in the 50’s and 60’s the fuel Americans had at the pump contained lead. Lead helps boost octane ratings and acts almost as a lubricant for the internals reducing wear and tear on valve seats. You can read more on lead and the importance of octane here. Today, the government mandates that the fuel we buy must contain at least 10% ethanol in an effort to reduce emissions. The fuel we have today can actually cause a loss in power and fuel efficiency unless your vehicle is tuned for it. The cars being made today are ready to accept the fuel we have at the pump but older vehicles, especially those with carburetors, are not.

corroded carb.jpg

The picture above is what happens when a carburetor sits for a while after being exposed to today’s fuel. The ethanol corrodes anything brass and the build-up makes it nearly impossible for your engine to fire. Additionally, ethanol has a strong ability to absorb water from the air which means water in your gas tank. For cars that aren’t made to run off of ethanol this is problematic as you can imagine. 

What fuel should you use in your carbureted vehicle?

We recommend our Sunoco 110 for most carbureted vehicles. We have up to 116 octane, but unless you have a big drag car, then the 110 would be perfect for your vehicle. It’s clean, won’t corrode, has a great shelf life, and the ratios don’t change like they do at the pump. 

Verse of the Week

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” - 1 Timothy 4:12