TAMPA - Ethanol is everywhere. The vast majority of gasoline sold in the U.S. contains ethanol. The most common form is E10- 10% ethanol, 90% unleaded gasoline.
Ethanol is grain alcohol, made from crops like corn. Proponents of ethanol say that it boosts the economy of communities where the crops are grown as well as reduces America’s dependence on foreign fuel sources. They also point out ethanol reduces emissions, is cleaner than gasoline, and is renewable.
But it also cuts down your gas mileage when compared to standard gasoline. How much ethanol affects gas mileage is debatable. Some say E10 blends may lower gas mileage by a few miles per gallon.
Greg Bailey of Greg Bailey Automotive in Tampa believes the difference isn’t enough to cause problems.
“I haven’t seen it. I haven’t noticed any complaints,” Bailey said.
Bailey said a bigger concern is the toll ethanol can take on fuel lines.
“If you have an older model, some of the fuel lines get deteriorated by the ethanol,” Bailey said.
Some recommend additives that supposedly boost gas mileage and counteract the effects of ethanol. However, Bailey doesn’t believe these additives are worth the price tag.
“Most of your gasolines today have some pretty good stuff built into them. I don’t think they’re relevant, unless you’ve got a specific problem,” Bailey said.
E85 is another story. E85 contains 85% ethanol, and is used in vehicles specifically designed for its use, also known as FFVs (flexible-fuel vehicles). Larger quantities of ethanol mean a bigger impact on fuel efficiency. A test by ConsumerReports.org found that an E85 fueled car got 2 mpg less than a gasoline powered car in city driving. It got 6 mpg less in highway driving.
But as for E10, Bailey says the impact is too small to matter to most drivers.
“I haven’t had any complaints about it,” Bailey said.
That doesn’t mean that the gasoline you put in your tank doesn’t matter. Each brand (Exxon, BP, etc.) uses their own formula, with its own additives. The ABC Action News I-Team is putting the most popular brands to the test by bringing samples to a lab and determining which brands might be best for your car.
Tonight at 11pm, our investigation uncovers information that could save you money and could give your car cleaner emissions and better performance.
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A warm and humid day with sun, clouds and a chance for showers and storms mainly in the afternoon. Storms won't be as numerous as yesterday.