E85 More Affordable as Gas Prices Rise

The somewhat controversial alternative fuel, E85, an 85% ethanol blend, is now more affordable versus traditional gasoline than it was a year ago. Many automakers build flex-fuel engines that can run on E85 or regular unleaded gasoline. You might be driving one and not even realize it.

Regular unleaded is $3.72 a gallon as of today, up $.88 from a year ago.

E85 costs $3.13 a gallon nationally, up $.60 from a year ago.

The problem with E85 is it’s 25% less efficient than regular gasoline because it burns at a higher rate than gas. To even the playing field, E85 would need to cost 25% less than regular unleaded. It’s not there … yet.

A year ago today, E85 cost 10% less than regular unleaded. Today, it costs 16% less.

If you use a BTU-adjusted price that AAA advocates for an apples-to-apples comparison, which takes into account E85’s poor fuel efficiency, things are still improving.

Last year, when using the adjusted price E85 would cost 17% more than gasoline to get the same mileage per gallon. Today, that figure is down to 11%.

You can search for current flex-fuel compatible vehicles here. Check your owner’s manual or gas cap to see if your model can run on E85.

Related
Does E85 get better gas mileage than premium unleaded gas? (Ask.Cars.com)
Does E85 fuel affect the 2011 GMC Sierra’s gas mileage? (Ask.Cars.com)

Comments 

JM

ethanol will not be viable until sugar ethanol or cellulose-based ethanol makes it to the mainstream in this country.

Tony

More affordable ethanol? LOL
Less affordable corn on the cob.
And besides all other %%% the ethanol companies get tax money.
Oh well...

Mark of Excellence

Hooray for homegrown fuel, which creates jobs and markets for farmers. Ethanol rules.

Amuro Ray

"which creates jobs and markets for farmers"

Yes, at the expense of the entire rest of the population of the United States.

Increase food prices on all fronts, and decrease subsidies to organizations that really need the gov't money, without any impact to the environment. In fact, more gasoline is burned.

Hooray indeed.

Mark of Excellence

Sorry, your post makes no sense. Check back when you have a cogent thought.

Amuro Ray

"your post makes no sense."

Yup, just like your reasoning on why ethanol rules.

Mark of Excellence

The ethanol industry is responsible for creating a half million US jobs, most of them in rural areas. You can whine all you want about ethanol, but nobody is going to get rid of a half million jobs in the current economy. Stop complaining and get used to it. Ethanol rules.

Troy S.

Mark of Excellence,

My lawn equipment doesn't like ethanol.

I guess I'm keeping lawn equipment workers employed.

Is this your idea of creating jobs?

Amuro Ray

"You can whine all you want about ethanol, "

Seems to me that you are the one doing the whining here, MoE.

Population 311124521 (projected to right at this minute).

That 0.16% of ethanol (industry) is costing the livelihoods of the rest of 99.84% population of the United States, u fool.

BTW, if the farmers don't grow corn for ethanol, it doesn't mean that they will be out of job the very next second. It just means that they won't be able to get the ultra-luxury lifestyles w/o the subsidies...

Mark of Excellence

Purchase new equipment that is compatible with ethanol, which is a mandated component of gasoline in many states. Or look for one of the few stations that still sells ethanol free gasoline for boats and use that. Some people weren't happy about the switchover from leaded to unleaded gas either but there's no way we would go back to leaded fuel. And there's no way ethanol is going away anytime soon.

Dan

Ethanol injection would be a much more efficient use of our limited ethanol production and would save much more gasoline.

George

That is a terrible strawman argument about lead.
Lead is a poison, so it would be criminally irresponsible to introduce it into the environment, especially where it will be ingested.
Lead also neutralizes the effectiveness of catalytic converters, carbon MONoxide, nitrogen oxides, and unburned hydrocarbons.
Metallurgy/engine design has improved so far that leaded fuel isn't needed.
3 strikes for lead.

Big agribusiness loves ethanol.

Butanol is far better than ethanol.

mskz06

The government needs to mandate that all new cars in the future be Flex-fuel and give the people the choice. I don't like being forced into the oil economy by the automakers. I was hoping either the new Focus or Cruz or Elantra will be E85 compatible but not the case. Also the EPA needs to calculate MPG for E85 so the automakers don't just calibrate the engine just for gasoline because right now they have no incentive to make the E85 more efficient.

mskz06

We can't produce ethanol to the same extent we consume gasoline today,unless we move away from corn ethanol therefore plug-in cars and EV's will have to be more popular in the future also for light duty vehicles.

Amuro Ray

"The government needs to mandate that all new cars in the future be Flex-fuel and give the people the choice."

What an irony!!!

Fact is our agricultural system for ethanol production specifically for automotive use is ALL MESSED UP.

mskz06

@Amuro Ray
I don't have the CHOICE to by a competitive mid-size car that is Flex-fuel right now, if their is a mandate I will have the CHOICE to use which ever type of fuel I want to use on a given day.

"Fact is our agricultural system for ethanol production specifically for automotive use is ALL MESSED UP."

Please explain. Maybe we can fix it in the future?

mskz06

David Blume's book "Alcohol Can Be a Gas" has a lot of information about ethanol production you won't hear in the news. He believes more in localized(or even neighborhood) production of ethanol. It's not impossible, the first autos in the US like the Model T ran on alcohol made right on the farms.

Amuro Ray

mskz06,

You do know that there is a difference b/n how Brazil is producing ethanol and how US is.

There are various articles and science papers about this. Read some of those, and you will know why.

In short, a madman decision to use corn for ethanol production for E85.

mskz06

Yes I did know that in Brazil they use sugarcane to produce ethanol which is more efficient, in fact they even have energy left over during the production process that they are able to produce electricity for the grid. With respect to corn the overall energy gain is only 25% (study from 2007) but hopefully can be improved, but again don't have to use corn you can make it with anything with starch or sugar. There are even small distillation systems that can make ethanol with any high starch feedstock.

Amuro Ray

It's not that simple, mskz06. With the subsidies all set up, and all the political groups / lobbyists involved...

Robbie

We're not sure which one is more pathetic, Mark of Excellence or Ethanol but it's close.

Bryan

M85 is what you should be looking at. Methanol is much cheaper than Ethanol, without any tax subsidies, and it is chiefly made from abundant Natural Gas. It requires no water or food stock, nor diesel for all the farm equipment.

Ethanol is stupid as a fuel for the US, unless you are a politician getting your palms greased.

Mark of Excellence

The federal government just announced today that it will be providing funding for an extra 10,000 ethanol blending gas pumps nationwide. Listen up, Amuro Ray, George, Troy S, and Byran: 10,000 new pumps are going in, not for methanol, not for butonal and not for lighter fluid, for ETHANOL.
So close your virtual pie holes and get used to the fact that ETHANOL RULES.

J

MoE

You know the government is a bunch of idiots easily persuaded by interest groups, right?

devan

since a lot of the muslim countries in the middle east are not interested in the option of peace at the price of reasonable mentality I am interested in any alternative that keeps wealth away from that entire region

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