A popular social media fuel obsever by the name ‘theframjake’ has argued that ethanol does not reduce gas mileage saying according to his estimated results gas mileage can actually boost by approximately 7% by using the pure gasoline instead of the E10 which is ethanol enhanced fuel.
“As an alternative, the chain markets their regular unleaded gasoline as ethanol enhanced and the use of the word “enhanced” is curious because it implies that there is some benefit or advantage to choosing this gasoline over other available products. Messages on the pump further add that this is “America’s Fuel” and that it may contain up to 10% ethanol. However, do you really see a financial benefit when all is said and done? Ethanol has about 25% less energy content than gasoline, so adding this substance dilutes the ability of the fuel to fire the pistons and gives your engine less bang for the buck. Consequently, due to this energy density reduction, there is a chance you will actually get fewer miles per gallon if you choose the ethanol enhanced fuel over an ethanol free grade like PureMax.
“To evaluate the effect of ethanol on miles per dollar or MPD I decided to run a little study using my own vehicle. I drove my 2008 Subaru Forester for several weeks using the ethanol enhanced 87 gasoline and recorded the mileage and fuel consumption. Then I switched over to the Puremax ethanol free and monitored the same information. I ran the results through a statistical analysis called a two-sample t-test to determine if there truly was a performance difference between the two fuels. Finally, I calculated the miles per dollar.” He said.
According to his estimate, theframjake argued that using ethanol free gas is actually cheaper compared to using the ethanol enhanced gas.
“My experiment showed that using ethanol enhanced E10 fuel instead of the ethanol free PureMax reduced my MPG by 6.2%, from 25.8 to 24.2 miles per gallon. However, because of its higher cost, the PureMax actually delivered 4.4% less MPD than the E10, 7.01 versus 7.33 miles per dollar, and turned out to be the worse choice from a cost perspective.
“This financial benefit, however, depends on the price difference between the two grades. As the pure gasoline price approaches the E10 cost, a crossover point is reached where it actually becomes the better value in terms of MPD. With the results of this study, I came up with a guideline called “The 20 Cents Rule” that is easy to remember. It states that if the ethanol free option costs 20 cents or more per gallon than the E10 than go with the E10, but if the difference is less than 20 cents then pure gas is the better value.” He said.
“The other thing I learned is that you can’t always believe what you read on advertisements since the pure gas delivered only a 7% increase in MPG instead of the “up to 25%” written on the banner. However, because of the lower overall cost of the ethanol enhanced E10 the ethanol does appear to provide a financial “enhancement” to the consumer” He added.