E85 More Affordable as Gas Prices Rise

The somewhat controversial alternative fuel, E85, an 85% ethanol blend, is now more affordable versus traditional gasoline than it was a year ago. Many automakers build flex-fuel engines that can run on E85 or regular unleaded gasoline. You might be driving one and not even realize it.

Regular unleaded is $3.72 a gallon as of today, up $.88 from a year ago.

E85 costs $3.13 a gallon nationally, up $.60 from a year ago.

The problem with E85 is it’s 25% less efficient than regular gasoline because it burns at a higher rate than gas. To even the playing field, E85 would need to cost 25% less than regular unleaded. It’s not there … yet.

A year ago today, E85 cost 10% less than regular unleaded. Today, it costs 16% less.

If you use a BTU-adjusted price that AAA advocates for an apples-to-apples comparison, which takes into account E85’s poor fuel efficiency, things are still improving.

Last year, when using the adjusted price E85 would cost 17% more than gasoline to get the same mileage per gallon. Today, that figure is down to 11%.

You can search for current flex-fuel compatible vehicles here. Check your owner’s manual or gas cap to see if your model can run on E85.

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