Thursday, December 24, 2009

Autoweek finds that E85 now makes sense

Autoweek takes a road trip and finds ample E85 outlets with low prices.

I am SO jealous of what some of you guys are paying for E85. If it was $2.15 a gallon at Meijer, I'd be continuing my experiment.

Friday, December 11, 2009

E85 experiment going on hiatus

I've put about 15,000 miles on the car using various amounts of E85. I've had absolutely no ill effects. The car has yet to go to the dealer for any warranty work whatsoever. Nothing but oil changes so far!

But Meijer has been having really crappy E85 prices (currently $2.49 when gas is $2.50). And I'm losing the motivation to use 2 pumps to pump the gas.

So the experiment is going on hiatus. I may start it up again at some point, but as of now, I'm done.

Are there any conclusions I can make?

1) E85 will not mess up your car, at least in the medium term. A year and a half of ethanol mixing and 15,000 miles did not result in the gas tank leaking or any of the other BS you often hear about when it comes to ethanol.

2) Mileage does decrease with ethanol use. In my case, I lost a few mpg. Not a big deal, but a decrease nonetheless.

3) Performance is the same on gas and E85. If you didn't know that there was 40% ethanol in the tank, you wouldn't be able to tell by just driving the car.

4) E85 prices at Meijer suck. They overcharge for it. But I appreciate them having it available. I wouldn't have done this experiment if they didn't carry it.

5) Non-flex fuel cars can handle up to about 40% ethanol without throwing a check engine light. Modern fuel injected cars have a lot of built in flexibility to burn mid-grades of ethanol.

Thanks to the few of you actively following the blog. I hope others find the blog as a resource against the anti-ethanol naysayers.

Phoning it in

Just publishing the raw data from the last couple of tanks...

tank# date E85 Regular Premium Left $E85 $Reg mileage speed Min % Max % Min Oct Max Oct
55 11/3/2009 0 14.515 1.885 2.26 2.36 25.8 42 13.50% 13.58% 87.80483527 87.87893415
56 11/17/2009 7.017 6.21 3.173 2.46 2.6 19.9 25 36.35% 46.84% 95.30961054 96.08605436
57 11/30/2009 7.017 6.97 2.413 2.46 2.48 20.6 29 39.55% 46.05% 95.13456591 95.89475727
58 12/14/2009 0 0 14.329 2.071 2.43 13.73% 14.55% 93.26955402 93.36555136

Monday, October 26, 2009

Chevy Avalanche

A flex fuel Chevy Avalanche filled up at the E85 pump at Meijer right after me.

Man, that's a big truck. It simply dwarfs my little Saab.

I bet that he gets single digit mileage on E85.

Tank #54

Tank: 54
Date: 10/25/2009
Gallons E85: 6.517
Gallons regular: 7.319
Gallons from last tank: 2.564
Price E85: 2.40
Price regular: 2.64

Ethanol Content: 40.48%
Octane: 94.63421264

Milage from tank 53: 20.6 mpg
average speed: 27 mpg

Tank #53

I put a little too much E85 in this tank. I was thinking that E85 is 70% gas now, but the switchover isn't until November. You can see that I'm a little high on the ethanol content, and I was getting LTFT of 24, just under the 25 that will set off the CEL. But I didn't get a CEL, and we now know EXACTLY what the limit is.

You can also see that my mileage SUCKED, partially because of the extra ethanol, partially because of the cold weather, partially because I did more local driving for some reason.

Date: 10/14/2009
Gallons E85: 7.033
Gallones regular: 6.494
Left from last tank: 2.873
Price E85: 2.26
Price regular: 2.36

Ethanol %: 42.26%
Octane: 95.25620155

Mileage of tank 52: 21.4 mpg
Average speed: 33 mph

Friday, October 2, 2009

A lovely sight

E85 is now $1.999 at Meijer. Man, it's nice to see a sign that starts with 1.

Gas is cheap, too. $2.24 a gallon. Not much of a spread, though.