Few people know more about cars than former Tonight Show host Jay Leno. A gearhead with a collection of more than 130 classic vehicles, not to mention an Emmy Award he took home for his show Jay Leno’s Garage, he knows how automotive engines work and what makes them run.
And he knows what they shouldn’t be running on: ethanol.
In his latest column for Autoweek, Leno expounds on the damage that ethanol – in the form of legally mandated E10 – can do to engines of older cars. He writes of damage to fuel lines, fuel-pressure regulators, diaphragms, carburetor jets, and the coating of fuel cells inside gas tanks.
Because ethanol can absorb water from ambient air, it can cause corrosion and inhibit combustion. That damage can lead to breakdowns or, as Leno points out, even fires.
The real culprit is a federal law – the Renewable Fuel Standard – that obligates refiners to lace the nation’s gasoline supply with ethanol. I have written about the problems with the RFS on multiple occasions.
“It’s time for us as automobile enthusiasts to dig in our heels and start writing to our congressmen and senators about the Renewable Fuel Standard, or we’ll be forced to use even more ethanol,” he writes. “Most people assume, ‘Oh, that’ll never happen. They’ll never do that.’ Remember prohibition? In 1920, all the saloons were closed. It took until 1933 before legal liquor came back.”
Jay Leno is one of the nation’s preeminent comedians, but as he makes clear, the problems caused by Washington’s misguided ethanol policies are no laughing matter.