Paying at the Pump: Should You Switch to E85?

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Posted on 09/12/2013

The popularity of E85 seems to be growing-- at least in one state. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association says that E85 sales increased by 43 percent during the second quarter of 2013, totaling more than 2.62 million gallons of the alternative fuel. E85 is made up of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, a mix that can cost significantly less at the pump. But is the value there?


Paying Less at the Pump
Currently the average price for a gallon of E85 is $2.88 according to e85prices.com. The site also reports that the average price spread between E85 and regular gasoline is currently 20.9 percent. That means that you'll pay an average of $3.64 per gallon for gasoline. If you're filling a 20 gallon tank that's a difference of more than $15.

Cars that Take Ethanol
Not every car can run on Ethanol. Currently there are about 7 million cars on the road that are equipped to operate on E85. Check your owner's manual to find out if this flexible-fuel is suggested for your vehicle.

Questioning Fuel Economy
Edmunds.com tested the fuel economy of E85 verses gas and found that the Chevy Tahoe test vehicle had 26.5 percent worse fuel economy when using E85 instead of gas. In their test the vehicle achieved an average fuel economy of 18.3 miles per gallon with regular gas, but with E85 it only achieved 13.5 mpg.

Calculating Your Carbon Footprint
One of the benefits of E85 is that it is a cleaner fuel and adds less carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than traditional fuel. But if you're burning more E85 is it really worth it? Use the free Carbon Footprint calculator at terrapass.com to find out.

Finding Ethanol
Currently there are about 1,275 gas stations that offer E85 to their customers in 929 cities across the US. It's available in 41 states and in DC. If you decide to try out this alternative fuel head to e85locator.net to find a location near you that carries the blend.

The Bottom Line
According to several sources E85 causes vehicles to run about 26 percent less efficient than gas. That means in order to save money the price at the pump needs to be that much cheaper per gallon. Download the E85 Prices app to help you compare prices quickly and make a smart decision before paying at the pump.

By Alison Storm

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Comments


Rawaz

Posted on 10.10.13 at 2:45 PM

Do you have any idea how hard it is to get rid of nuclear waste? That waste takes ctriunees to break down and during that time we're at a constant threat of a nuclear meltdown or subjecting millions of people to deadly amounts of radiation. One leakage from the waste can cause the food supply to be contaminated, people could get cancers. All this for a little cheaper electricity? I'm sorry I'll pay a little more if it means protecting my family and those around me from the deadly consequences of nuclear power.

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