Author Topic: E85 gasoline- is it worth it?  (Read 2995 times)

stuckinmn

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E85 gasoline- is it worth it?
« on: July 21, 2014, 08:49:47 AM »
My new auto can use the E85 flex fuel or plain old unleaded.  After driving on 2 tanks (one of each type of fuel) the numbers show me that the decreased fuel efficiency of the E85 is more than made up by the fact E85 is cheaper so my cost per mile is less with the E85.

Are there any other considerations for the analysis?  For example, is E85 worse for an engine or will it decrease the life of a car?  Is one type better in cold/heat?  Are there environmental considerations?Anything else I should consider before making the switch?

greaper007

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Re: E85 gasoline- is it worth it?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2014, 09:44:12 AM »
Purely anecdotal, but I've heard from a mechanic family member that the big three can't make an engine last past about 100,000 miles on pure e85.    It's worth more research though.

I'm surprised that you're getting better numbers on e85.     I've never seen it considerably cheaper than normal unleaded   (in fact last time I saw it, it was more expensive).    And like you said, it doesn't have the same energy density of gasoline so the mpg are worse.     

I'm also not a huge fan of using food stock for fuel unless it's a last resort.     I'd rather see more emphasis on things like longer range ev's fueled by solar power.

randymarsh

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Re: E85 gasoline- is it worth it?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2014, 10:56:18 AM »
I'd be too lazy to compare the price of regular vs. E85 and then calculate if the reduced MPG is still worth it.

I dislike e85 for another reason though. It's portrayed as this "green" alternative. It's made from corn. We grow corn using lots of heavy machines that consume lots and lots of petroleum products.

RyanAtTanagra

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Re: E85 gasoline- is it worth it?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2014, 11:50:13 AM »
You might want to do some more research, but I've heard similar things as greaper007.  Alcohol acts as a detergent, making it harder for oils to bind to the cylinder/walls.  Newer engines are better at keeping oil and gas separated and may be less of an issue, but I'd still be hesitant without looking into it more.

Ohio Teacher

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Re: E85 gasoline- is it worth it?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2014, 12:04:43 PM »
I am also surprised that it's working out cheaper for you.  I'm guessing there's more of a spread in MN.  In Ohio, E85 is usually only about 10-15% cheaper, and since it contains about 25% less energy per gallon than gasoline, it is a worse deal.

stuckinmn

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Re: E85 gasoline- is it worth it?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2014, 12:15:14 PM »
At my station unleaded is 3.45 and e85 is 2.55, so it must be some Minnesota thing, considering how strong the corn lobby is up here.   

I'm getting 33 per gallon on gas and about 29 on e85 so far, so it makes sense as long as it doesn't screw up my engine.