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A few sites I've stumbled across recently....

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I've still failed to track down any hard information on what goes wrong with petrol. My experience of an engine starting very easily and then running smoothly but then misfiring more and more as the throttle is progressively opened does not make sense to me.

There are suggestions that petrol goes bad because of:

- Absorbing water (especially fuel containing ethanol)
- Losing the volatile components through evaporation
- Chemical changes that change its burning characteristics.

There are said to be products that reduce the tendency to go bad. There are also suggestions that bad petrol can also cause good petrol to go bad - like an infection.

There is a reference that looks as if it might contain firm information but it is paywalled:

Automotive Fuels: Werner Dabelstein1, Arno Reglitzky1, Andrea Schütze2, Klaus Reders1. Its contents list includes "Additives for Increasing Storage Stability - Antioxidants" which suggests that oxidation is one cause of degradation.

I think that petrol containing alcohol is not a new thing - I remember my dad explaining to me that "Cleveland Discol", sold from the 1930's, contained alcohol.

One interesting suggesting was that, to get rid of water in a car's petrol tank, you can just add half a litre of iso-propyl alcohol.

More petrol info here: http://www.faqs.org/faqs/autos/gasoline-faq/part1/

Nov 11, 2014 at 6:36 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A