Wednesday, April 23, 2008

E10 ethanol blend reducing fuel cost for Missouri drivers

I live in Missouri, and I've noticed gasoline prices around here are always considerably less than the national average. Perhaps ethanol is playing some part in this, as claimed in this article:
Missouri Ruralist


Anonymous said...

Gas prices in Missouri have tended to be lower than some other parts of the country. that has been the case for over my 40 year driving experience.

As for ethanol blended gas, I find that I am getting less gas mileage that before the law went into effect on blended regular gas. I have a system monitoring computer in my ford which has over the years proven accurate in giving me actual mpg reports. I can report that the only way I got the mpg up after the rule change was to go to non ethanol premium grade. I had prior used only regular. The extra cost of the premium paid off as I got back to the same mpg I had before the December change in Missouri law.

Jeff Goettemoeller said...

Studies by the EPA and others show that some cars get poorer fuel economy on E10, while others get better fuel economy on E10 as compared to Gasoline. In my opinion, gas stations should be allowed to sell both E10 and Ethanol-free gasoline so that motorists can choose the option that is least expensive for them per mile driven. But don't assume that all cars will get worse fuel economy on E10. Perhaps we should encourage car makers to design for better fuel economy performance on E10. It is obviously possible since some cars already perform well on E10.

I am a Missouri resident as well, and gasoline is indeed generally cheaper here, in part because of lower taxes. The point of the analysis featured in the linked article is that gas prices would be higher in Missouri without Ethanol as part of the mix, regardless of the fuel prices in other states.

Anonymous said...

I would say most people in Missouri have no idea, and MUST be educated, that the fuel they are buying is now 10% ethanol, and that it is less efficient than normal fuel. I just got back from an out of state trip, and compared my mileage on the way out of Missouri, where I was burning E10 bought in MO, and then the mileage on the way home, where I was burning "straight" gas.

I got 2.8 MPG better coming home burning the "straight" gas!!! I knew there was a difference, but that is unbelievable!

The people I have talked to so far, have no idea the govt requires E10 and that it has been changed, right under their noses. They also have NO IDEA it is less efficient.

If E10 or E85 was made from something other than corn, and was in any way energy efficient to make or consume, it could make sense to keep using. But as it stands, the corn growers and the government are benefitting here. (as you burn more physical gals, the govt makes more in taxes)

Jeff Goettemoeller said...

Keep in mind that not all cars get poorer fuel economy on E10. In fact, some get significantly better fuel economy on E10, taking advantage of the higher octane in ethanol.

Even for those cars that get poorer fuel economy on E10, there is the possibility that a lower price offsets this effect. That's where Missouri's lower prices come into play as compared to other states.

Finally, I'll go back to what I said earlier. Cars should be made that are capable of taking advantage of ethanol for better fuel economy.

Anonymous said...

hello missouri and any and all who are using ethanol products in their fuel. a couple of years ago I got my mother into a flex fuel vehicle and had her switch over to e85 due to the 50 cent per gallon savings. during this time I have been testing the fuel mileage difference between the 10 percent ethanol and premium fuel without ethanol, and came to find out I was getting aproximately 4 mpg. less with the ethanol. So you say well whats the big deal, I mean it is cheaper right? well just do a little calculation and assume you get 20 mpg without ethanol and the premium you used cost you 25 cents more per gallon lets say 4.00 per gallon and at ten gallons you paid 40.00 for 200 miles traveled. now lets fill it up with 10 percent ethanol and you paid 37.50 to travel 160 miles, to equal the 200 miles you have to spend an additional 9.37 which means you just spent 47.00 to travel the same distance. now after I had calculated this fact on two separate vehicles I had heard back from my mother and she was mentioning that the performance was not what it once was, so after I told her of my findings we switched her vehicle back over to regular gas and low and behold her power came back and she gained roughly 9 mpg which using the same parameters as above, the E85 would have to cost you 1.30 per gallon less just to break even financially but then you still have the loss of power and performance. Now don't take this any farther than it is meant since it is my test and I would not attempt to impose my results upon you , I only ask you to take this information and do your own testing and make your own decision. good luck and be wary of big business

Jeff Goettemoeller said...

Thanks for sharing your experiences with ethanol, Anonymous. For me, this is just more reason to encourage auto makers to optimize vehicles for better fuel economy on ethanol. We know this is possible thanks to EPA tests of existing vehicles. Some do get better fuel economy on E10 as opposed to ethanol-free gasoline. So auto makers have already built some optimized vehicles. It's not difficult. They can do so for e85, flex-fuel vehicles as well by taking advantage of ethanol's higher octane. This will limit knocking at higher compression ratios. The higher compression ratios in tun will significantly improve fuel economy.