E85 or Gasoline?
There has been a lot of debate over the part ethanol should play at the pumps in this country. Ethanol promises a healthy, golden glow—and it’s not just from the corn. Proponents insist that renewable E85 fuel could significantly ease addiction to foreign oil and reduce tailpipe emissions. All based—even better yet—on homegrown American corn.
But, opponents say the ethanol proponents are simply wearing rose-tinted glasses. They say the fuel is less efficient than gasoline and could not survive -- either in production or at the pump -- without lucrative government subsidies. Of even more immediate concern, they point to the extremely limited availability, with only around 900 stations selling the fuel nationwide. (Cenex Pump 24 in Adams is one of these stations.) Most consumers are simply concerned with how E85 will affect their pocketbook. Will the lower prices currently reflected at E85 pumps be offset by reduced mileage?
Wisconsin River Co-op is conducting a research study of its own to determine whether E85 makes an overall difference to the pocketbook or not. Using his brand new, flex fuel V8 Silverado pick-up truck, CEO Tim Diemert began recording his gas mileage and the type of fuel used with each fill at the pump. After 13,600 miles, findings indicate that his ability to save money with E85 depended primarily on the price difference at the pump.
Overall our study showed that a blend of E85 and gasoline provided him with the most cost-effective alternative. Our study found that the average miles per gallon of gasoline were 16.28; E85 averaged 13.854; and a blend of gasoline and E85 averaged 15.71.