Even with High Gas Prices, Drivers Question Value of E85
by Bryce G. Hoffman (Detroit News) …While the price of ethanol, or E85, is lower than the price of regular unleaded — the average price in Michigan at the end of last week was $3.45 per gallon for E85 vs. $3.82 for regular gas — it provides less energy and, therefore, worse mileage than gas.
“Typically, it’s hard to make an economic case for using E85,” acknowledged Coleman Jones, head of alternative fuels for General Motors Co.
At least in the United States.
In Brazil, where most cars and trucks are capable of running on either gasoline or ethanol, it is often cheaper to fuel up with the latter. …Automakers like GM ship a handy reference card with their cars in Brazil, a table that allows motorists to see at a glance which fuel they should use based on current prices.
… E85 is government shorthand for a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.
But the actual percentage of ethanol in the fuel can vary widely — from 83 percent to just 51 percent.
…The ethanol industry says its fuel should be priced lower than last week’s $3.45 a gallon.
Renewable Fuels Association President and CEO Bob Dinneen told The Detroit News that the wholesale price of E85 is about 70 cents a gallon less than gasoline.
Dinneen blamed fuel distributors for not passing full savings on to consumers and said the idea that ethanol is not a cost-effective option for American motorists is “just wrong.” READ MORE