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Author Topic: E-85, is it really better? Back to Topics
jwlamb

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Message Posted: Sep 26, 2012 10:18:39 PM

I just purchased a new vehicle which accepts E-85. Great for the wallet as in my town it's 20 cents cheaper, but which one is better, E-85 or Unleaded? I would like to break this down to two questions, which one gets better gas mileage and which one gives more horsepower. Anybody played around with these figures?

[Edited by: jwlamb at 9/26/2012 10:19:39 PM EST]
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TalonKarrde
Rookie Author Des Moines

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Message Posted: Jan 31, 2013 12:55:35 PM

You have to break yourself of looking at this as a Miles Per Gallon argument. It's really about Miles per Dollar.

Having a Flex-Fuel car gives you a choice of Fuels. Using E-85, your going to "typically" loose 15-25% of your mileage, it varies by car. Typically, the "higher compression" engines do better on E-85, as they take advantage of the highter octane ratings.

You have to look at the price spread between the two fuels. If E-85 is %15-25% cheaper than regular gas, then I think it's worth running.

Flex Fuel cars are designed to run this fuel.. there's hundreds of thousands of test miles they put on engines to ensure that those engines are not harmed by the higher-corrosivness of E-85. As long as the Fuel system is designed to handle the chemical properties of E-85, there is no risk.

E-85 Advantages:

Sometimes (but not all the time) it's cheaper than regular gas on a Miles Per Dollar comparison.

It burns cleaner - it leaves less "varnish" build up in your engine than regular gas.

It's (Typically) domestic - outside of what we import from Brazil from time to time.

I personally think my 2010 Ford Escape runs smoother on it. I think it makes the truck more responsive in acceleration situations as well. It certainly gives the exhaust a "throatier" sound.

E-85 actually burns cooler in your Engine. The cylinders don't get as hot do to the vapor cooling tendancies of Ethanol. Less heat typically means less wear inside your engine, however I'm not sure it makes a "lot" of difference since motor oils today are really good.

I'm not going to get drug into the whole "Don't burn food to get fuel" arguments here. It's simply an argument that's going away. Ethanol is going to be produced from Corn Stover, Municipal Waste, Sugar Beets and maybe switch grass in the future. It's about having a second option, and helping with Energy Independence.
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Mr1lung
Champion Author Phoenix

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Message Posted: Jan 28, 2013 3:01:32 PM

Don't know
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46chief
Champion Author Indiana

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Message Posted: Jan 27, 2013 9:49:03 AM

I have tried E-85 and my gas mileage dropped 5 mpg. Wasn't worth the difference in price.
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paullypuiu
Veteran Author Georgia

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Message Posted: Jan 26, 2013 10:42:32 PM

unleadea is better for my tundra.
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grim_farva
Champion Author Kansas

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Message Posted: Jan 26, 2013 9:48:30 AM

Unleaded it better. Your mileage will be less with E-85 than with regular unleaded.
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lightbulbman2008
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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 10:46:05 PM

i think it is about the same..
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GarRafFra
Sophomore Author Worcester

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Message Posted: Jan 21, 2013 10:34:20 PM

I say it is better than the oil spills and all that we have to do deal with.

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13Octane
Champion Author Tucson

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Message Posted: Nov 16, 2012 7:33:15 PM

maybe
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missjess74
Rookie Author San Francisco

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Message Posted: Nov 14, 2012 4:55:27 PM

I use E-85 gas when I can. I find I get a little less gas mileage. Does anyone know if it's good/bad for your car to do 50/50? Someone suggested I try it but while everything I read says it's okay...will it actually matter in the long run?
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GM1954
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Nov 8, 2012 7:00:57 PM

"Not sure what E85 is. In my town, some stations have ethanol which is cheaper. Couldn't tell ya how much ethanol is actually in the fuel. "

E85 is a fuel made in the Midwest from corn. It is composed of 85% ethyl alcohol and 15% gasoline. It has an octane rating of 105 and is intended to be burned in a wide offering of vehicles designed to run on either regular gasoline or E85, and any combination in between.

Much of the gasoline in the US contains a small percentage of ethanol, ranging from a couple percent, up to 10%. That can be burned in any car designed for gasoline.
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10261970
All-Star Author Sacramento

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Message Posted: Nov 8, 2012 6:38:08 PM

Gasoline has better mpg's and e85 has superior horsepower. Which is better? well, it's kind of depends on what you want. Unfortunately, neither one has the best of both worlds.
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lissyking
Veteran Author Miami

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Message Posted: Nov 8, 2012 11:01:09 AM

what is it?
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lifeRX
Rookie Author Los Angeles

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Message Posted: Nov 7, 2012 3:10:18 PM

Thank you pricewar for that detailed information. I really never knew the difference between E85 and "regular" gas. I know my car is not designed to accept E85, though, and your car can be damaged by E85 if not built to accept it so you should really find that out before even considering switching. However, E85 is not even sold in my area. I have seen it in some suburbs of Chicago, but I have never seen it in LA. Maybe that's because I have not looked for it, though.
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Goddeciano1
Rookie Author Ontario

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Message Posted: Nov 7, 2012 8:15:17 AM

Not sure what E85 is. In my town, some stations have ethanol which is cheaper. Couldn't tell ya how much ethanol is actually in the fuel.
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crmedic
Champion Author Arkansas

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Message Posted: Nov 6, 2012 8:07:43 AM

ok
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MikeCapeCoral
Champion Author Cape Coral

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Message Posted: Nov 6, 2012 1:45:33 AM

Put food on the table not in my tank.
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WE0H
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Oct 30, 2012 1:24:48 PM

I'm hoping E85 prices will get back down where they should be. So many stations ripping consumers off with jacked up E85 prices. There are some that sell it 60 cents less than gas but those stations are hard to find and not always selling with that much of a price spread.
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hyeglenn
Champion Author Fresno

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Message Posted: Oct 30, 2012 10:08:22 AM

No Ethanon, we need food to eat.
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jwlamb
Rookie Author Arizona

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Message Posted: Oct 27, 2012 3:44:57 AM

Glad to see this post still going.

For those of you interested, I have done some testing on my vehicle both highway and city. I did a long trip using E-85 there and regular on the way back so the mileage covered was exactly the same. I checked the mileage every quarter of a tank just to keep track and found this:

Yes, gasoline did provide more mpg than E-85. However it was so slight of a difference that the cost per mile would only be effective if the price was right. Where I live, E-85 is at least 25-30 cents a gallon cheaper. The short of it is, E-85 does prove to be cost effective but does get less mpg.

In some parts, E85 is too close in price (Tucson, AZ E85 is only about 5 cents cheaper if not the same as unleaded) so then it would be more costly to use E85 as the price per mile would be higher.

For me, I'm sticking with E85.

Thanks to all of you for posting.

[Edited by: jwlamb at 10/27/2012 3:45:48 AM EST]
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pretzelTX
Sophomore Author Houston

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Message Posted: Oct 27, 2012 12:23:38 AM

This is a good topic; I like the idea of using E85 (except for my diesel :)
though the mpg is less. Agree that E85 must be significantly lower than reg gas for the cost/benefit to encourage wider use
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GM1954
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Message Posted: Oct 24, 2012 9:31:27 AM

"CNG is the best answer for E-85 I guess cause cheap and no harm to engine
in fact Improve engine eficiancy . "

Prove it. For decades we have heard this mantra about ethanol containing 30% less energy per gallon than gasoline. Well, CNG has 75% less energy per gallon than gasoline. Based on energy content alone, the equivalent cost for CNG to a gallon of gasoline is about $8.
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krzysiek_ck
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Message Posted: Oct 24, 2012 9:15:02 AM

gasbapu wrote: "CNG is the best answer for E-85 I guess cause cheap and no harm to engine in fact Improve engine eficiancy."

So far I have zero E85 related engine problems. Can you share yours? Also, please detail your personal experience using CNG and E85. What MPG do you achieve on CNG and E85?

[Edited by: krzysiek_ck at 10/24/2012 9:16:27 AM EST]
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krzysiek_ck
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Oct 24, 2012 9:06:03 AM

lolhahaha wrote: "Corn is food, thx for making dinner cost more lol."

Transportation cost, aka fuel/diesel price, has greater influence on the food prices.



[Edited by: krzysiek_ck at 10/24/2012 9:12:15 AM EST]
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the1roadhog
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Oct 24, 2012 8:19:35 AM

Mine is capable but I'm not interested.
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gasbapu
Rookie Author Oklahoma City

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Message Posted: Oct 23, 2012 3:36:43 PM

CNG is the best answer for E-85 I guess cause cheap and no harm to engine
in fact Improve engine eficiancy .
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lolhahaha
Sophomore Author San Diego

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Message Posted: Oct 20, 2012 2:49:19 PM

"Every gallon of E85 you use is less money going out of this country for oil. I run E85 in my SUV and the 5 other vehicles we own."

Corn is food, thx for making dinner cost more lol.
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Alfys007
Sophomore Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Oct 15, 2012 9:02:04 AM

k
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GM1954
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Oct 15, 2012 8:42:37 AM

" An engine optimized for E10 is not optimized for E85 and vice versa. A flex fuel vehicle is optimized to a mediocre mean."

That's your assumption. I spoke with the GM VP of Alternate Fuels Development a few years ago. Their 5.3L flexfuel engine was optimized for both regular gasoline and E85 at the time. When running E85 the engine would generate as high of combustion temperatures as possible. Much more than regular gasoline.

It's all done with sensors and programming.
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rick_evans
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Message Posted: Oct 14, 2012 12:46:41 PM

The only way to know is to determine the mpg for each fuel and compare. You will have to go through at least three refills to get a decent average mpg. An engine optimized for E10 is not optimized for E85 and vice versa. A flex fuel vehicle is optimized to a mediocre mean. If the E85:E10 PRICE ratio is smaller than your E85:E10 MPG ratio then E85 is the bargain.
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Alfys007
Sophomore Author Alabama

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Message Posted: Oct 14, 2012 9:41:32 AM

No to ETHANOL...
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jwlamb
Rookie Author Arizona

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Message Posted: Oct 14, 2012 2:05:31 AM

Thank you all for posting. Phil gets the gold medal for actually answering my questions, and providing references.
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middlegrey
Rookie Author Wisconsin

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Message Posted: Sep 29, 2012 8:33:05 AM

I would like to see the price drop a lot more.
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pricewar
Champion Author Ogden

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Message Posted: Sep 27, 2012 11:43:15 PM

Here you go my friends

E85
This article is about alcohol fuel. For a motorway in Europe, see European route E85. For BMW's platform designation, see BMW Z4.Logo used in the United States for E85 fuel
E85 is an abbreviation for an ethanol fuel blend of up to 85% denatured ethanol fuel and gasoline or other hydrocarbon by volume. E85 is commonly used by flex-fuel vehicles in the United States and Europe. In the United States, government promotion of ethanol in general and E85 in particular has encouraged a growing infrastructure for retail sale of E85, especially in corn growing states in the Midwest.
E85 has a number of advantages over conventional gasoline. One advantage is a reduction in tailpipe emissions.[1] Another advantage is a high effective octane rating, reducing engine heat and wear, and increasing performance. Because the ethanol component effectively displaces fossil fuels with energy harvested from renewable sources, in theory E85 is less carbon intensive than petroleum. Additionally, there is a greater potential for localized production of ethanol in agricultural areas and using waste materials. Also, a diversification of fuel sources reduces dependence on a particular type of fuel and may increase stability of supply.
However, E85 has disadvantages, and the potential benefits of E85 are contested by some experts. In a liter-to-liter comparison, E85 has 33% less energy content than "pure" gasoline (and 30% less than the E10 gasohol blend that is sold by almost all retailers in the US).[2] Depending on the vehicle, this can result in a notable reduction in fuel economy and means that while E85 is cheaper than gasoline per gallon, per mile it may be more expensive. Additionally, due to chemical differences between E85 and gasoline, fuel systems and engines not designed or modified to use E85 suffer increased wear and may fail prematurely. Moreover, some of the environmental and social benefits of ethanol, and therefore E85, are highly dependent on raw materials used to produce the fuel. Production of ethanol from corn drives up world food prices and may not reduce carbon emissions, due to the petroleum and natural gas used in raising corn and refining it into ethanol. Ethanol produced from waste materials or fast growing non-food crops such as switchgrass is much more beneficial, but not yet economically practical at large scale
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SilverStreaker
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Message Posted: Sep 27, 2012 10:00:55 AM

You won't know until you try for yourself. I have used high ethanol blends in two non-FFVs and found no significant change in milage at any blend.
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krzysiek_ck
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Sep 27, 2012 8:30:46 AM

The lowest octane gas I can use is 93, so replacing premium gas with E85 is worth to me. I mix to achieve E35 which gives my turbo car much more power, same as running 100 octane unleaded racing fuel. At the same time I get same MPG as compared to E10. By the way my car is non-FFV.

[Edited by: krzysiek_ck at 9/27/2012 8:33:55 AM EST]
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reb4
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Message Posted: Sep 27, 2012 8:25:35 AM

I wish more people would use the e85... then they wouldn't have to devise more ways to use ethanol on people without the flex vehicles.

Ethanol industry should spend more time promoting e85 then lobbying congress...
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WE0H
Champion Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Sep 27, 2012 2:28:58 AM

Try it out yourself and see what your vehicle gets for mileage on E85 & gasoline. Not all vehicles drop so drastically like the Ethanol haters want you to believe. Every gallon of E85 you use is less money going out of this country for oil. I run E85 in my SUV and the 5 other vehicles we own.

[Edited by: WE0H at 9/27/2012 2:30:49 AM EST]
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PhilT08
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Message Posted: Sep 27, 2012 1:48:39 AM

regular unleaded gasoline gets better MPG.

E85 needs to be about 50 cents a gallon less than reg gas to make it worth filling up with since you will lose about 15% mileage with E85.

my truck accepts E85 and I did lots of research and comparing cost per mile to drive.

you will find more info and a calculator to help with figuring out the cost per mile at E85prices.com or planetE85.com
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