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Spotted interesting misinformation for the average car driver


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I read this news article today which I believe is an example of 'gaslighting' UK motorists. It makes people believe they are responsible for their car fuel pump failures when really it's the ethanol content in the fuel.


To debunk this article I present the facts before you so that you can validate them yourself and correct me if I am wrong.


  1. The purpose of a fuel filter is to protect the fuel pump and fuel injectors from solid contaminants above a certain particle size. The fuel filter is always located upstream of the pump to prevent particles from reaching the pump. They are often a replaceable component during vehicle servicing. The fuel filter does not remove water from the fuel although some diesel filtration systems can perform a level of water separation.
  2. There is no difference to the amount of particle disturbance or particle introduction into a fuel tank by adding fuel in smaller quantities. The act of pouring in fuel disturbs whatever is in the tank in any case. If the solid body contaminants are already in the retail fuel, filling the tank introduces more contaminants.
  3. Driving a petrol or diesel vehicle will cause the fuel to slosh about in the tank. By design, the tank will have an air space above the fuel. Tank baffles reduce fuel sloshing but the fill capacity will not affect the performance of the baffles. Every pot hole, corner, acceleration and braking will cause the fuel to slosh irrespective of fuel level.
  4. Ethanol in fuel absorbs water vapour from the atmosphere and it quickly contaminates the fuel. Although modern cars are sold as being able to run on ethanol fuel, they are not able to run properly on a blend of ethanol+water+fuel as the water and ethanol are corrosive.
  5. Filling your fuel tank with only a few more litres than you need for your journey saves fuel as your vehicle is lighter (less fuel mass). Using F=ma (Force = mass x acceleration), a greater mass for the same acceleration requires more force. In a car, more force means more energy input required.


The real reason behind the misinformation article...


The ethanol blended fuel we are forced to use in the UK absorbs moisture from the air faster in a partially filled tank than in a full tank, particularly if the car is not used daily. The absorbed water content in the contaminated fuel causes vehicle fuel pumps and fuel injectors to fail. The news paper article makes no mention of this fact as it is clearly written to make the ignorant believe that they damaged their vehicle by trying to drive fuel efficiently, when really the government or political forces that determine policies are to blame by adding ethanol to road fuels. Having a full tank reduces the air space above the tank fuel level which in turn reduces the quantity of water vapour in that air. However, tanks are vented to atmosphere by a small bore pipe. If left for a long period of time, a full fuel tank will eventually absorb the same percentage of water from the air.


Ethanol in UK petrol and diesel increases CO2 output globally by displacing food production from the UK to other countries that export food to the UK by sea or air. The ethanol in fuel also reduces engine performance by at least 3% requiring more fuel to cover the same distance travelled. Ethanol in fuel has been a known carcinogen to the government of California since at least 1997 . Somehow, increasing cancer cases globally from the high aldehyde emission of ethanol blended fuel is not considered a serious enough problem to make it illegal to use in fuel blends.


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I totally agree. I cannot see any justification for Ethanol in fuel! It also increases carcinogenic Benzine emissions and various Nitrogen nasties as well!

The bit at the end re air in Diesel systems isn't entirely right, most diesels these days have auto bleeds I think. 


More change lobbied for by big companies?  More cost and pain for everyone else!  LOL 😁

Edited by digger
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4 hours ago, digger said:

most diesels these days have auto bleeds I think

I think these systems only work after phase separation has already occurred, when the water has already separated from the fuel oil. Before phase separation the ethanol in the diesel blend can absorb water from the air just like with ethanol blend petrol until it reaches maximum saturation.


I found this web page that reminded me of diesel bacterial contamination. Partially filling a diesel tank with ethanol blended diesel will absorb water from the air space above the fuel faster than a full tank would. Regular diesel without ethanol will still absorb water but with ethanol blended diesel fuel the water problem is made worse. I am not certain if diesel fuel water separators can remove water absorbed hygroscopic-ally before phase separation or if they only work after phase separation when water droplets have formed.


If hygroscopic absorbed water in ethanol blended diesel cannot be removed by an automotive water separator It's not the tank fuel level that causes damage, it's the ethanol in the fuel.

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Excellent summary.   I saw the crazy misinformation as well and thought it was simply stupid Trollocks as I didn’t make the ethanol “connection”.


Thanks for the heads up.👍



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