Ethanol MPG

toyota
hybrid-repair
highlander

#1

I live in FL where every pump has 10% ethanol. On a road trip out west this summer I never saw an ethanol notice on a pump. My MPG went up over 10%! I was amazed. Is this typical?


#2

Your MPG going up more than 10% was likely due to the type of driving you were doing. You will find your fuel economy increases any time you take a long road trip in comparison to driving around town.

Ethanol does make fuel economy decrease, but the fuel you were using in Florida only had up to 10% ethanol, so it is likely the effect of the fuel was not the only factor.


#3

The mpg of both my cars goes down 10% when I use E10 (10% ethanol). If I can find a station selling non-ethanol gasoline the mileage goes back up to where it used to be within 2 tankfuls.

Just because the pump doesn’t say ethanol doesn’t mean it isn’t in the gas, however. There are lots of stations selling E10 and the pumps don’t mention it.


#4

My hybrid gets much better mileage in town than on the highway (29 vs. 22; avg 27 since most miles are in town); so, I figured because almost all of the mileage was highway at high speed (over 90%), going up and down mountains; high altitude; very little in town driving my mileage would be lower than normal and if fact it was higher. My road trips in FL average less than 22. This road trip averaged 24.7.

Dumb me. In response to the second reply, I thought if any ethanol is in the gas the station must post that information. Are you saying they don’t have to or they just violate the regulations.


#5

“…I thought if any ethanol is in the gas the station must post that information. Are you saying they don’t have to or they just violate the regulations.”

Some states require the station to post whether there is ethanol in the gas. MD requires the seller to post a sign that says there is up to 10% ethanol. I don’t think may stations would risk shutting their station down for a foolish violation like that.


#6

In Minnesota, all gas pumps must display which contains E10. This is so those who have older fuel systems, such as marine, classic cars, etc… don’t put this corrosive fuel in the older fuel systems.

In Minnesota, we found out what E10 can do to older fuel systems when it was first introduced in 1993.

Tester


#7

Sometimes the label is small and in an odd place.


#8

Ethanol contains substantially less energy per gallon than does gasoline. Just on the basis of available BTUs, one would expect a mileage drop of about 3% when using 10% ethanol. The ethanol lobby says even less – 2.2% or something like that. But a mix of ethanol and gasoline is going to burn somewhat differently than 100% gasoline. So maybe the actual loss is a bit more because the engine computer is adjusting things for gasoline, not E10.

A 10% difference seems like a lot. Closer to 3-5% seems more plausible, but I’m not an expert on engine efficiency and maybe there are other factors.


#9

My nephew in Salt Lake City says he experiences 12-15% drop as the seasonal mixture of gas goes from 100% to 90% between summer and winter. However, cold weather has to account for some of the difference.

I’m beginning to think the ethanol deal is a scam perpetrated by the Iowa corn farmer. Consider the fuel costs associated with growing the corn/ethanol, extra costs of making it, and the increase in food costs along with the tariff on foreign corn (51 cents) and you can see we aren’t really saving anything. In fact, it costs lots more to make a minor difference in the environment. I’ll bet the additional costs would pay for other technology for cleaning up the environment.


#10

Oops! I said “corn” and it is a tariff on “ethanol.”


#11

“…high altitude…”

This could be the reason. At high altitude, you’re pushing throguh “thinner” air, and it’s offering less resistance at a given speed. Also, your vehicle engine (assuming non-turbo…don’t think there is such a thing as a “turbo hybrid”) is running at a correspondingly lower peak power output, and you will realize the efficiency gains of being underpowered. Also, the fact that one tends to favor WARM high-altitude places means that the air behaves as if thinner still (“density altitude.”)

This is all moot if one has a vehicle (not this one) that cannot compensate for thinner air (read: “carbureted.”) Such a vehicle will eat up efficiency gains, and then some, by running overly rich.

Case in point: my '95 Nissan 200SX would get better mileage at altitude (10-15%?..it’s been a while) and my carb’d Honda Nighthawk 250 would get 30% WORSE (50 MPG…a real guzzler) at altitude.


#12

“I’m beginning to think the ethanol deal is a scam perpetrated by the Iowa corn farmer.”

Just now? Where have you been? That has been obvious for several years.

Actually, that is mostly true for E85. The E10 is a response to smog and ground water contamination from MTBE in highly populated areas.


#13

I have gas stations in my area (NE Pennsylvania . . . the Pocono Mountains) that sell both ethanol and no-ethanol. The no-ethanol gives better mpg for me, the ethanol worse mpg, I don’t know if it’s 10%, but I do notice the drop. The gas station owners have increased the price accordingly . . . regular (no-ethanol) is now $2.69 a gallon, ethanol is $2.59 a gallon. So I guess if you do the math, a 10% decrease in mileage due to ethanol gas warrants paying ten cents more per gallon. Rocketman


#14

Same as buying a diesel that gets 30% better mileage but the fuel costs 30% more and the diesel engine package is more expensive in light trucks. Its a wash from the fuel standpoint but some people like smelling that exhaust and the fuel.

Perhaps the case for the diesel powered sedan can be made from environmental data.

Myself keep that stinky stuff where it belongs,with big rigs.


#15

10% would be 26 cents. Buy the MTBE gas instead.


#16

Same as buying a diesel that gets 30% better mileage but the fuel costs 30% more and the diesel engine package is more expensive in light trucks.

Many people had this argument a few months ago when gas prices were fluctuating. At the time Diesel was selling about 30-40% more then regular…Well gas prices have stabilized a little…and where I buy my gas (and most other stations where I live)…DIESEL IS SELLING THE SAME PRICE AS REGULAR…$2.55/gal. Just filled up this morning on the way to work.


#17

10% would be 26 cents. Buy the MTBE gas instead.

Maybe good for gas mileage…but EXTREMELY BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT. MTBE has been banned in many states…and for good reasons. If MTBE gets in the water table then you have to put filters/bubblers to remove it. It is very very harmful to the environment. Ethanol will evaporate or break down…NOT MTBE. Personally I think there should be a federal ban on it. There are towns here in NH who’s whole water supply is contaminated with MTBE and homeowners are forced to spend up to $1500 for systems to remove it from their water.


#18

“Maybe good for gas mileage…but EXTREMELY BAD FOR THE ENVIRONMENT.”

My response on 8/11 said exactly that. MTBE only contaminates ground water if the station’s in-ground tanks leak. It is considered a smog issue in highly populated area; mostly the Northeast US and Cali. If the Feds or local government allow it, then people should feel free to buy it. I don’t have a choice, and I don’t miss it.


#19

There are other ways it gets into the ground water…Spillage is one. EPA did a study a couple years ago…At the average gas station people filling their cars anywhere from 5-30 gallons of gas per week gets spilled on the ground. I saw a guy filling up his lawnmower gas tank. He ended up spilling more then what the 1 gallon can could hold.


#20

Does anyone feel fuel prices have stabilized and the days of $4.00 per gallon gasoline and $5.00 diesel will never return? I feel they are certain to return.

Things are looking good today,enjoy while you can.