With E-15 gas due to arrive at the gas pumps, there is a possibility that someone who's in a hurry one day, stopping to get gas will inadvertently pump the wrong stuff into their tank, despite the posted precaution warnings and labels on the pump.
E-15 gas is gasoline with 15% alcohol. Ethanol is essentially grain alcohol produced from crops such as corn that is mixed with gasoline to produce an ethanol-gasoline blend motor fuel. In October 2010, the EPA approved the use of E15 in model year 2007 and newer light-duty vehicles (cars, light-duty trucks and medium-duty passenger vehicles). Then, in January 2011, the EPA added model year 2001-06 light-duty vehicles to the approved list. No motorcycles or ATVs are currently on the list. Read more: Federal Officials Mandating Minimum Four-Gallon Gasoline Purchase From Certain Ethanol-blend Pumps - Sport Rider Magazine
Too much ethanol if accidentally put into a motorcycle (especially a carbed biked) can do some damage.
Alcohol Content Results
Up to 10% alcohol = Legal limit for E10 (for most states)
Effects of percent (%) alcohol on engines.
-Safe for most engines.
11 to 15% - * Risky
- Use with extreme caution. Engine performance problems will usually occur, eg. stalling. Fuel should be drained (discarded), and replaced with fresh gasoline. Although possibly unsafe, if only a small amount of fuel is left in tank tests over 10% alcohol, (eg. less than a 1/4 tank full), filling the tank with a high octane (93) fresh gasoline can be considered. After filling tank, check fuel again to check alcohol percentage has decreased to a safe level.
*See important notes below.
16-25% = Very Risky - Do Not Use
- Will experience varied engine performance problems, including unable to start, frequent stalling, difficulty accelerating, and more. Will reduce life of engine. It is recommended that fuel be immediately drained and discarded. Do not run your engine on this unsafe level of alcohol. Damage to your engine and parts will occur, sometimes immediately. How soon this occurs is dependent on several factors, including age of engine, type of engine, parts used, and condition of engine. See important notes below.
26-40 % Severe risk and danger
- Do Not Use - Affects will be same as listed above for 16 to 25 %, but damage will appear much sooner, sometimes immediately after running one time on this dangerously high alcohol content level. Performance problems will be greater, and older or poorly tuned engines most likely will be unable to start on this very high level of alcohol. Black smoke from engine will be apparent. Fuel discoloration and a strong odor is proof that gas is contaminated. The dirtier your engine, the greater amount of gunk released will be noticed. Engines that have older, dirty parts will notice clogged fuel filters very quickly. See important notes below.
Over 40%- Engine most likely will not start. Do not use
- Severe damage will occur. Damage to engine will be permanent, engine may not be repairable
*If you suspect that your bike may have gotten the wrong (or even some bad gas), your best solution is to completely drain the carbs and fuel tank and fill with some fresh 87 octane/91 RON gas (ethanol free gas if possible) and hope no internal damage has occurred.