Fact Finders: Will 15% ethanol seriously cut my gas mileage?

Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is blended with 10% ethanol.
Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is blended with 10% ethanol. The biofuel is currently cheaper than pure gas. E15 is usually prohibited between June 1st and Septe
Published: Apr. 20, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - President Joe Biden is waiving rules restricting ethanol blending. This summer, the waiver will allow the more widespread sale of a 15-percent ethanol blend. So, one of our viewers wants to know; Does Ethanol Reduce Your Gas Mileage?

Most gasoline sold in the U.S. is blended with 10% ethanol. The biofuel is currently cheaper than pure gas. E15 is usually prohibited between June 1st and September 15th. The administration predicts their action will save drivers an average of 10 cents per gallon based on current prices.

Fuel Analyst Patrick De Haan of Gas Buddy says Ethanol does not contain the same energy as gasoline. But he doesn’t think you’ll notice much difference in your Miles Per Gallon.

“The difference between 10% ethanol which is what most gasoline is sold as regular as blended with up to 10% ethanol, going from that to a product like e 15, which is only an increase from 10 to 15%. In terms of ethanol, that really is negligible. Most people would not notice a decrease in energy content in the form of lower fuel efficiency,” explained GasBuddy’s Head of Petroleum Analysis, Patrick De Haan.

Meantime, Benjamin Salisbury is the Director of Research & Senior Policy Analyst at Height Capital Markets. He says, “E15 gas has been about 25 cents per gallon cheaper than E10 in April. But, because E15 has about 2% less energy per gallon, it’s just 17 cents cheaper on a mileage-adjusted basis.”

E15 is often sold at the pump as Unleaded 88. It can safely be used in all cars, trucks, and SUVs from 2001 on. But do check your owner’s manual. Your car maker may void your warranty if you use E15.

So for the viewer’s question, Does Ethanol Reduce Your Gas Mileage? Strictly speaking, yes. But, there’s not much difference between E10 and E15 when it comes to Miles Per Gallon.

If you have something you want us to investigate, email us at factfinders@ky3.com.

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