Adjust Text Size

Ethanol Blended Gas = Lower Mileage?

Written by Nickel - 272 Comments

According to a recent article, drivers in Honolulu (and perhaps elsewhere) are complaining of reduced gas mileage in the two months since Hawaii switch to gasoline blended with 10% ethanol. According to the Ethanol Promotion and Information council, most drivers using a 10% ethanol-blended gas will experience a 1-2% drop in mileage. But some drivers in Hawaii are claiming that their mileage has dropped by 25-30%. While I’ve heard of substantially lower mileage in cars running on E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that can be used in certain makes/models) I never really heard anything about reduced mileage in the more ‘standard’ 90/10 ethanol blend.


Published on June 1st, 2006
Modified on August 6th, 2006 - 272 Comments
Filed under: Automotive,Energy

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

Related articles...

Was this article useful? Please sign up to receive our content via e-mail:

You will receive only the daily updates, and can unsubscribe at anytime.

Comments (scroll down to add your own):

  1. Wait!!!! was Ethanol suppose to make us oil dependent ? And reduce co2? If your car gets less mpg would it increase co2 and make us use more oil? (gas)

    Comment by Anonymous — Nov 5th 2012 @ 8:26 pm
  2. You should all try using smaller diameter tires (they add a small gear reduction to compensate for the lower torque output of the engine) and maybe try changing your driving habits as if you were driving a car with a weaker engine, which you basically are with ethanol in the mix. Using e10, I still get my cars rated mpg of 30 for highway, + or – a mile; sometimes lower, but never under 25, if my job takes me to the city streets. Driving to NYC from Columbus, I got 35 mpg, 5 higher than stock. If I can do that with a non-hybrid, non-ffv car with an automatic transmission, then there’s no reason noone else can’t.

    Comment by Anonymous — Dec 10th 2012 @ 7:48 pm
  3. Actually it is worse that that, they say not to use e-15 in any vehicle older than 2012 because it actually damages the car and will void the warranty.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jan 3rd 2013 @ 4:09 am
  4. We can bandy this about forever but to what end? I am a 56 year old mechanic. My specialty, if you want to call it that is engines. I have rebuilt well over 1000 engines in my lifetime and up until say 4 or 5 years ago, all the rebuilds were due to age and wear. Over the past recent years my work load has predominately changed to small engine rebuilding since that is what is coming into the shop. I live in Maine so snowmobiling is a cash cow sport. Cash cow I should say. I see more burned up engines than you can imagine. These are fairly new sleds and always with the same damage. Melted pistons and spun bearings on the crank. The pistons are aluminum and when the sled sits for any period of time, the ethanol separates out and sits on the bottom of the tank. When the sled runs, it picks up the straight ethanol. It is not the temp. that ethanol burns at specifically, it is the lack of cooling that it supplies to the pistons when the new charge is drawn in. These two stroke machines rely on oil in the fuel to lubricate them. The ethanol essentially washes away the lubricant on the crank and bearings causing a run dry condition. You don’t have to let the sled sit too long to have this separation occur either. If you buy gas at a low volume outlet, that is a store that really doesn’t sell all that much gas, the gas you are getting could be already old and separated. This fuel just does not belong in these engines. When people are out in the woods in the winter, they rely on these machines to get them home. To be stranded say 20 miles out in the woods in 10 degree weather is not a good situation. Complaints about mileage is a fine thing but in the case of the snowmobile, it is actually a safety issue. Meanwhile, I keep on rebuilding all these engines. I will not warranty any repairs since just because it is all new, doesn’t mean it won’t happen again. And it does. Just my nickles worth.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jan 3rd 2013 @ 9:02 am
  5. Davenport Iowa BP station. State inspectors found that both 87 octane and 89 octane pumps had the exact same 89 octane gas. Iowa stations, including this one, sell 87 octane at ten cents higher price. Both grades at this station say “May contain up to 10% ethanol.”
    Station owner says nothing illegal, it is a marketing decision. Authorities in Des Moines say the statute is not clear on this, but because both grades meet minimum requirement, no penalties will be assessed.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jan 11th 2013 @ 12:15 am
  6. I have a Blazer with a 4.3l 6 cylinder, and a Jeep with a 4.0l straight 6. Both vehicles before 2008 when 10% ethanol gas hit the market got 300 to 330 miles per tank, depending on highway or stop and go. For the last 4 years my Blazer has been getting 240 to 280 miles per tank. My Jeep around 280 to 300 per tank. The problem is that the ethanol doesn’t burn hot enough in the engine and causes carbon build up in your injectors and intake. It also clogs up the fuel filter and catalitic converter quicker. I take very good care of my vehicles. Oil changes every 2500 miles, tire rotation and inflation. Injector cleaner every 4 fill ups and so on. Advice from someone with alot of mechanical know how. Ethanol ruins any combustion engine slowly like Cancer. If you use products like Sea foam cleaner in your engine it will help with restoring performance by cleaning out the carbon, but make sure to disconnect your catalitic converter first. Use 93 octane or better in your tank, BECAUSE IT BURNS HOTTER.Or look online to find the nearest gas station near you that still sells gas without Ethanol. If you hear your car ticking it’s because of the lower grade fuels not exploding and burning off the ethanol. Bottom Line? Use synthetic oil, change your fuel filter every 5000 miles, clean out the intake with a top end cleaner, use a higher grade gasoline and add octane buster to make it burn hotter, and check your tire pressure once a week. You can add a chip that will mix your air and fuel mixture better, but they don’t really work unless you take your vehicle to a Dyno testing place and reprogram the computer, for the best results. Oh yeah!! If you put a K&N filter type air filter on your engine, make sure to cover it with a pair of nylon hose(Panty Hose) because they allow to much dirt in your engine. Ethanol distroys engines without understanding how they work. I hope this helps people take care of their vehicles. If you have any questions I’m at [email protected].

    Comment by Anonymous — Feb 18th 2013 @ 7:08 am
  7. It is posts like this that turn knowledgeable individuals away from this blog. Ethanol blended gasolines are well understood to be a poor substitute to offset the fuel cost. But posts like this are actually an embarrassment.
    There is nothing in your post that adds any value. These are all unscientific fabricated ideas that you personally think work. Well they don’t. Ethanol DOES NOT BURN HOTTER. It actually is an artificial octane booster with no BTU benefits. So it burns COOLER.
    If you like to change your oil using 1970s technology and change it at 2500 miles, then go for it. 10,000 miles is the frequency of modern engines and oils. K&N air filters with stockings or not, do not make ANY change in fuel economy unless you are using a carburetor. If an air filter is 90% clogged the fuel economy will be no different than if it was new. The difference would be performance, nothing else. The computer controls the fuel mixture regardless of air flow (or lack of).

    A Mechanical Engineer

    Comment by Anonymous — Feb 18th 2013 @ 8:13 pm
  8. I blasted Sean at his yahoo address. No response so far. I agree with Ringo4422

    Comment by Anonymous — Feb 18th 2013 @ 8:53 pm
  9. All I know is that I drove from West Dundee IL to Milwaukee WI from 11pm – 1 am, with windows 1/3 of the way down, 55 degrees F. I refueled in WI and had 26 MPG. (typical for HWY miles) 105 mile trip with 4 gallons.

    I drove home (reverse trip as stated above) from 10 am to 12pm, with windows all the way down, 85 degrees F. I refueled in IL and had 32 MPG. 105 mile trip with 3 gallons.

    This is a 2002 Mustang GT, with 150,000 miles.

    I am not sure I want cleaner emissions, after all I drive 5 miles to work these days. I would rather have the MPG, especially at $4.30 a gallon.

    Can I get a Hell-Yeah.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jun 18th 2013 @ 9:32 pm
  10. I have a decade of mpg records comparing 100% gasoline to 10% ethanol blends, that show 8%, 7%, & 5% increases in mpg, in favor of 100% gasoline. Other vehicle reports here have even greater departures from ethanol. My engines run smoother, quieter & with extra low rpm torque, such that hills are ascended with less down shifting. I was going to switch one of my cars to fuel injection to smooth its slightly rough running. With the use of 100% gasoline, the car no longer needs fuel injection. Gasoline engines are designed & built to burn 100% gasoline. Ethanol engines are designed & built to burn ethanol, like higher compression ratio INDY cars. The EPA pushes ethanol into our fuel supplies because it says one pollutant is reduced. If the EPA accurately assessed its poor engine performance, ethanol would not be considered a chemical to reduce pollution.

    Found this article showing improper mixing percentages of ethanol to gasoline supplies. I was not surprised. The ethanol industry’s policy is to pump as much ethanol into american gas supplies as possible & it is scamming america, both legally & illegally.

    To match my decade of records, is my recently purchased 2013 Hyundai Elantra, knowing the mpg bad mouthing by many leadfooters was wrong, despite those leadfooters winning court cases with the help of the EPA. Using 100% gasoline(ethanol free), my Elantra is averaging 39.5mpg, with the last 6 of 8 tanks, 40mpg or more. No hypermiler, here. Top tanks have been 43 & 43.5mpg….. without tanks being used within hours of continuous highway driving, which give cars their highest mpg. Elantra is not diesel, turbo-charged or hybrid….. just a gasoline engine. But Elantra has the widest rear seat shoulder room of any similar car getting near 40mpg.

    The scam & drainage of american gasoline stocks by the worthless ethanol is a tragedy that grassroots drivers are calling the ethanol industry on…… & ethanol loses.

    Comment by Anonymous — Sep 8th 2013 @ 6:54 pm
  11. Ethenol is horrible for your vehicle, the environment, & does not reduce our need for foreign oil. These are lies told by Monsanto & government officials that are bought & paid for by Monsanto. The joke is Americans feel that there is a difference between republican & democratic politicians but, they are all figure heads for the chemical companies that poison us & then force us to buy their poisonous food & fuel products. Welcome to democracy in the year 2013.

    Comment by Anonymous — Sep 18th 2013 @ 8:20 am
  12. In Eastern Iowa $ western IL, 87 or 89 w ethanol, choice will disappear. 87 octane will always contain 10% ethanol. For my lawn mowers I have signed up with local co-op to burn 91 octane pure.

    Comment by Anonymous — Sep 18th 2013 @ 8:45 am
  13. Bobby Dee……. In truth, “ethanol in gasoline” industry is the one on the ropes. People are beginning to see that ethanol DOESN’T burn properly in a low compression ratio (9:1 to 12:1) gasoline engine. Ethanol needs high compression ratio(16:1) ethanol engines to burn properly. Listings for E0(ethanol-free) stations at have increased over 5% since late May 2014 & is now at 8427 sources. If the EPA will get out of the way, there will be 10,000+ listings in a little over a year, with great growth beyond that!

    Comment by Anonymous — Aug 27th 2014 @ 1:00 pm
  14. Good news, as of 2014, at least in Iowa, it is fairly easy to find 100% gas. I can usually find 100% gas within a 3 station search. Look at the pump to see if one is marked ethanol and one is not. If both are labeled 10% ethanol, or poorly marked, I drive on thru and go the the next station till I find one that is non-ethanol. Stations sometimes advertise no ethanol. There is a demand for 100% gas, apparently. Amazingly, this is happening in the heart of corn country (Remember Iowa = corn, Idaho = potatoes) . The station owners must see people drive thru more and more till they find the gas they want. I haven’t used ethanol in probably 6 months. If I had to I would get 1 gallon of ethanol to make it to the next non-ethanol station, but so far no problems.

    Happy again 🙂 my 2008 Prius is finally back up averaging 47.5 to 51.5 mpg with 100% gas (41 to 43 mpg with 10% ethanol). 30 cents more per gallon or about 9% more, but in return I get 12 to 25% mpg improvement. I almost got a 500 mile tank in July, I probably could have made it to 500, but chickened out at 479 miles on one tank.

    Comment by Anonymous — Aug 27th 2014 @ 1:27 pm
  15. Now the bad news: A side effect of ethanol that we never expected is that Monarch butterflies might be extinct in our lifetime! The population was 1 Billion, now it is 33 million (that is a huge huge percentage drop). How, you ask, can ethanol cause Monarch’s to disappear? Monarch caterpillars feed and reproduce exclusively on milkweed, and milkweed has been eliminated from farm fields because of the high use of round-up herbicide, glyphosate. Farmers now raise mainly genetically modified GMO soybeans and corn that is unaffected by roundup treated soil. Farmers spray their fields with glyphostate (round-up), which kills everything, GMO soybeans and corn grow and nothing else, no weeds, including no milkweed. This started in 1997, and increased so much that there are hardly any milkweed left and no habitat for Monarchs to reproduce. Monarch population shrunk a shocking 59% just in the last year. Think about it, how many Monarch butterflies have you seen this year? Think back to when you were a kid, they were everywhere.

    To make matters worse, crop land in the Midwest has reached record highs, because of the demand for corn ethanol. Rents are up, prices are up, so acres that used to be idle and had milkweed, are now being farmed and have no milkweed.

    3 things you can do to help.
    1) Stop using ethanol
    2) Buy organic foods and especially organic soybeans 3) Plant milkweed in your yard or garden. Find seeds that are native to your state here: or search for milkweed project or free milkweed seeds.

    Comment by Anonymous — Aug 27th 2014 @ 1:56 pm
  16. listed 7400 sources for E0(ethanol-free) in early October 2013. Presently, there are 8607 listings, a jump of 16.3%. There will be 10,000+ listings by 2016, if the EPA will stop its bought & paid-for Ethanol industry propaganda.

    Comment by Anonymous — Oct 14th 2014 @ 12:58 am
  17. Great news!

    I drive thru the gas pump and look for the 10% Ethanol stickers that we have in Iowa. If there are 3 stickers, I keep driving, if there are 2 stickers that means they have a pure-gas option (one without the sticker). Stations are noticing more like me who drive thru looking for pure-gas, and they also notice sales of pure-gas are increasing. If they haven’t they are not paying attention.

    Some states, like Minnesota, do not have 10% Ethanol stickers on the pumps, because unfortunately, Minnesota got scammed by the ethanol hype, and passed a law that all gas in MN is required to have 10% ethanol, shame on you Minnesota for cramming this down your states throat. Read about Minnesota’s ethanol law here:
    So, if you are driving thru MN, fill up in Iowa or top your tanks up in any of the states on either side of Minnesota.

    Comment by Anonymous — Oct 14th 2014 @ 10:15 am
  18. I last posted in January of 2013. I am back. I recently purchased a 1993 Corvette loving the mid C4 cars. Low miles, clean as a whistle black beauty. I live in Maine where pure gas is rarer than hens teeth. Just not really available unless you go to an airport 100 miles away. To cut to the chase, I was loving the car and driving it here and then when it developed a skip. Fairly bad at idle and under load both. After much diagnosing and code reading I determined that I had a shorted fuel injector. Before I could replace the injectors, I lost still another one. Same symptom as before. Hard skip except now, with two cylinders misfiring, the car was a mess. So, I researched and found that ethanol eats the insulating coating off the injector windings and hence they short out. 1993 was not designed for this solvent laced fuel. A full set of new Blue Demon injectors (500.00) and it is running as new again. Thank you Mr. Government. I wish I could feed this car some real gas. How can you build a car for 100 years to burn a certain fuel and then just mandate some other inferior/incompatible fuel that creates all kinds of problems for the owner? This is bullsh*t!

    Comment by Anonymous — Oct 14th 2014 @ 11:13 am
  19. Previously & several times, I said that was adding so many 100% ethanal-free(E0) gas stations, that they should have 10,000 E0 station sources by 2016. With the present whiplash 10% ethanol blend(E10) price plunge & now skyrocketing prices, a very wide price gap of 30% to 40% has opened between E0 & E10. Tho E0 stations continue to increase(now 9066), it might become tight, ascending to 10,000 E0 sources by the beginning of 2016.

    Comment by Anonymous — Mar 7th 2015 @ 3:36 am
  20. now lists ~9560 ethanol-free gasoline(E0) sources, less than 5% to 10,000. An Hawaiian law (waiting for governor’s signature) just stopped ethanol blending in that state. Florida, which did the same, dramatically increased its E0 sources. Nationally, the Feinstein bill is working through Congress to end ethanol blending.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jun 26th 2015 @ 1:37 pm
  21. I have a 2007 Ford Expedition and I noticed with E10 I get worse mileage. In order to get 17-19 mpg I have to burn 91 octane or find a place that sells non- ethanol gas. I get on a trip 288-300 miles on a tank with e10 blend and with regular gas I can get 344 to 350.

    Comment by Anonymous — Jul 2nd 2015 @ 10:11 am
  22. Grassroots has ~10,140 E0 sources, compared to gov’t supported & pushed E85, which may not have 3000 sources. Drivers know what their low 87 octane, low compression ratio(9:1 to 11:1) gasoline engines need & it isn’t ethanol. It is 100% ethanol-free gasoline. Also, vehicle emissions exams are given excellent ratings, when E0, without ethanol, is used in their vehicles.

    Comment by Anonymous — Oct 15th 2015 @ 6:21 pm

Leave a comment

Because rates and offers from advertisers shown on this website change frequently, please visit referenced sites for current information. This website may be compensated by companies mentioned through advertising, affiliate programs or otherwise.