Since the introduction
of ethanol in motor fuels in the UK and overseas there have been concerns over
the effects of biofuel on classic cars. There seem to be three areas of concern
with biofuel in classic cars - corrosion, compatibility issues with rubber components
and seals, and combustion issues.
corrosion concerns arise because biofuel in petrol attracts water leading
to corrosion in classic car fuel storage tanks and fuel supply systems, particularly
when fuel is stored for lengthy periods if a car is laid up during the winter
months. The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs or FBHVC is actively
working on these issues and has commissioned tests of corrosion inhibiting additives.
The Federation has plans to encourage the distribution of an inhibitor for classic
car enthusiasts once those tests are satisfactorily completed.
The compatibility concerns are over adverse effects of biofuels on
the rubber components and seals in classic car fuel systems. A number of members
have experienced difficulties with damage to those parts so we are trying to get
clarification of what damage biofuels cause and what replacement parts are recommended
by key suppliers like Burlen and other spares suppliers for SU fuel systems and
where can they be obtained.
The combustion concerns are more complex
and under serious technical debate. Current motor fuels are designed to suit modern
fuel injected engines and may cause some tuning issues for carburettored engines
together with other combustion issues. Petrol currently available at pumps in
the UK contains a different mix of hydrocarbons to the mix in fuel available in
the 1960s and 70s when Midgets and MGBs with their twin SU carburrettors were
manufactured. As these issues affect a range of classic cars we await clarification
from fellow Club members with relevant technical knowledge of the complex combustion
issues and the views of the FBHVC from a review of the science on ethanols
effects on the combustion process by an independent expert.