Fuel economy, E85 vs 87 gas vs 91/93 high octane gas
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Thread: Fuel economy, E85 vs 87 gas vs 91/93 high octane gas

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    Default Fuel economy, E85 vs 87 gas vs 91/93 high octane gas

    Wanted to start a discussion about use of various fuels in those with the 200 and the V6 Pentastar with FlexFuel. Please share your stories and experiences.

    I started out exclusively using normal gasoline, 87 octane, when I first got my 200. Over the course of the year I filled several tanks worth and did a long trip exclusively on E85. I have since switched back to using gasoline, but I'm using premium 91 or 93 octane fuels now.

    Here's my observations. With E85, I struggle to get above 18mpg in efficiency; however, that is also the average for driving in the dead cold of winter. I haven't spent a lot of time testing it in summer as I didn't use it much last summer.

    With standard 87 octane gasoline, usually with a 10% ethanol mix, I'm experiencing an average of 23mpg during average driving.

    I notice with 91/93 octane premium fuels I get around 24 to 25mpg on average for an entire tank, these are usually winter numbers and I do notice the fuel economy go up a bit when I turn off the A/C or heat and its spring/fall where conditions permit.

    Something to note, despite E85's 30% fuel economy loss, I find it runs incredibly well. The engine is smooth, acceleration is awesome. 87 octane runs, but I find the engine has a noticable difference when running it. Not "bad" but its not as smooth. 91/93 premium fuels tend to have the best of both worlds, it adds more mpg for maximum efficiency, but it runs smooth without the sometimes noticable idle difference with 87 fuels.

    Just want to share experiences and see what other people have experienced. Being in NY, our fuel prices are above the national average. When gasoline is $3.89 here, the E85 pump I use is $3.34, and premium fuel is $4.09 or sometimes even more.

    Even with the price of E85 significantly lower, it isn't enough to match the loss in efficiency. I'd say average loss in efficiency is 30%, but the price is only 15% lower. So its paying 15% more for fuel at the end of the tank when its all burned up.

    So, I've settled on using premium gasoline based on its increased fuel efficiency and the smoothness it offers.

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    I checked on an E-85 forum's pricing and spread map, couldn't find any pricing for New York as a whole.

    http://e85prices.com/index.php

    Reason is, this page is updated by members there, like myself, who use the stuff and try to keep things updated for others to use while there. Spreads for were I usually go in the Chicago Burns seem to be running between 9% and 25% as of this last week for E-85 vs 87 for the stations that sell both. Gas only stations closer to me tend to be even more expensive still. The E-85 stations ranged from $2.65-$3.19 for E-85 and all were around $3.55 for regular at while regular at the stations I pass in my regular travels tend to range from $3.55-$3.69 as of today (sometimes it's worth the drive for just gas!!) The spread between E-85 and regular isn't always worth it, but compaired to premium (which is 93 here), it often is. Another interesting thing too is that during last summer's heat wave, I found the car not only performed in the same way you described, but did so while it was 90°+ and with the A/C cranked to -11! By this time last year, we were already seeing 75°-85° temps and between that, the enging shroud, and owning a car that's painted black, it was killing power bad enough that I considered removing the shroud to see if that made a difference. I never ran the car on regular again till late September, but considering who high heat and having the A/C cranked can hurt mileage, I doubt the E-85 hurt things much. Around here we seem to be getting screwed even harder here than other areas gas price wise and it seems to extra schitzophrenic on top of that. In the last week we've had regular go from nearly $4.00 down to the above pricing where E-85 is more consistant, my usual station dropped from $3.29 to $3.19 in the last week or so. It's much easier to budget when you know that the price is pretty much going to be the same from one week to the next, while gas doesn't always to that for more than a day or two at a time.

    Something else to look out for too now is that rules have changed for how much Ethanol E-85 can contain. Usually E-85 is the summer blend while E-70 is the winter blend (starts easier when cold) and there is usually a sticker stating that the E-85 pump may contain 70% Ethanol. For what ever reason, that is now 51% and I think I may have bought something closer to that today, as my mileage so far has been a few mpg too high and power seems a little down from before, closer to what it was for that one tank of premium vs what I normally have on E-85.

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    When we had some bitter cold days this past winter, my car made the absolute worst screeching noise upon startup. It only lasted for several seconds, but it made me worry. Since it went away quickly as temps "warmed" to above 10-15F, I didn't mind, but I hope no damage came of it.

    The car runs beautifully, so I doubt anything long term did happen.

    In terms of E-85, I like it. I just don't like how much lower the fuel economy is. It runs very smooth. If they price E-85 consistently at 30% below the price of regular gasoline, I think E-85 would be a far superior product to run. Isn't it near 110 octane or something? All I know is that even though it has less energy, it is better performing than gasoline.

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    Okay, so this isn't just me. I thought my e85 driving was just more spirited or something, but now that I know other people have noticed it...

    It's not just me, E85 really does give worse MPG; that's a bit of a relief.

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    A few others on here besides us, a couple people on AvengerForumz, and a couple guys with these motors in the Durangos/Grand Cherokees that I've personally talked to at the pump have also noticed the boost in power. Only person I've heard that wasn't sure about it (as in not spouting "talking points" on the "evils" of E85 ) was a guy trying to tow some sort of boat with an older flex fuel 4 cylinder, FWD Ford Escape and was having trouble getting it to pull the boat and trailer up the ramp..........he probably would have had better luck with an AWD Hybrid version of the thing............

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    I wish we had E85 here in NH. When I was in Tucson, I used it regularly. The price also depends on how far you are from the manufacturing plant. We had a big plant near Phoenix so the prices weren't too bad. I think in the midwest though, the prices are the lowest...they make up for the lost efficiency.
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    I just filled up with a new tank of E85 because the pump is convenient for me on the drive home from work, current price is $3.29 at the station I used.

    I am getting 21mpg out of it, not half bad. I had premium gasoline 93 octane in before this, was in the upper 20's now that i don't have to use heat/cooling for time being (summer is quickly coming so i'm sure i'll turn on the AC more in the near future).

    E85 definitely gives the car an extra kick, it simply runs smoother. It just doesn't provide as good fuel economy vs pure gasoline.

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    The spread is getting pretty good around here after the flooding we had last week! I drove my Jeep for two of those days (didn't know if I was going to be running across any standing water) and figured on filling it up at a BP by the store. When I left at 9pm to head home, regular had been $3.52 a gallon, by the time I drove back by at 2:45pm the next afternoon and they had jumped to $3.85 and when I last drove by Tuesday night, they were up to $3.99.........needless to say, it still only has 1/2 a tank in it I filled up the 200 at my usual place for $3.19 this past Sunday and they were asking $3.90 for regular and $4.16 for premium while stations closer to home were $3.85-$3.99. I just checked my handy-dandy E85prices.com app and my usual place is currently $3.09 for E85 as of 4/24, $3.94 for regular (26% spread!!!!), $4.20 for premium in the last few hours according to GasBuddy.com, and closer to home is around $4.09-$4.15 for regular and $4.55 for premium at the only station that actually advertises that

    Even though E85 always gets compared to regular, it would be nice if it were compared to premium instead, that spread would be much better especially now that there are more factory engines like the Pentastar out there that can use it so well.

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    Not sure what warrants a price switch from $3.52 to $3.85 in several hours time. Sounds like that station had a promotion, maybe?

    The E85 spread here in Buffalo is $3.29 at the station I use, all the way up to $3.69 at another somewhat close E85 station. I'm not sure why the other station is opting to price it out, because that was when regular was at $3.89 which is only .20 cents less than regular 87 octane gasoline. At that point it makes it harder to choose E85.

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    There aren't any E85 stations in my area. I filled up once in another E85 equipped vehicle and it gained some power, but mileage/range suffered. The cost of 87 octane is slightly higher than E85 in most cases, and regular octane is worth it over E85 in my book. I've only ran it a couple of times, and not in my 200.

    On a second note, when you see "Up to 10% ethanol" posted on the gas pump, it is rarely over 5% ethanol content. I owned and operated a service station for many years and never did I see a fuel delivery come in that contained over 4.75% ethanol content. I've seen it as low as 2.08%. I'm not sure how this is regulated in the US, but I imagine it's similar. 85% of the vehicles on the road today cannot handle more than 5% ethanol content without messing up the emission system, among various other things. The "Up to 10% ethanol" is merely a marketing ploy to make you, the consumer, feel better about filling up. If you read the owners manual of a non E85 equipped vehicle, it will state that over 5% ethanol content can harm the vehicle systems. Owners need to be careful not to fill up with the E15 fuel that is becoming more popular, as it exceeds that 5% maximum that most of the vehicles can handle safely. Filling up with a fuel exceeding the numbers specified in the owners manual will void your warranty. Just FYI.

    As far as octane goes, without a tuner for this engine you won't notice a difference running a higher octane fuel over 87. It's a waste of money. You might 'think' you feel a difference, but I've dyno'd fuel injected and direct injected vehicles and there is no difference without a tune. By 'feeling' a difference, it's the owners mindset that the pricer fuel they just bought isn't going to waste. If the V6 ran off a tunable carb, and the timing could easily be changed, it would be a whole different story. Electronically controlled engines compensate for the change in fuel, altitude, atmospheric conditions to run at peak efficiency. Changing the fuel used for a higher octane will merely make the engine computer compensate more because the software is designed to run optimally on 87 octane. Again, until someone comes out with a tuner for the V6, running any other fuel than what is specified is a waste of money with no gain.

    I can get 31mpg highway at 75mph with my V6 Ltd running the specified 87 octane with three adults in the vehicle, which is fantastic. Even if I could get a hands on a tuner for this engine, I'd be hard pressed to think I would get better mileage running a higher octane fuel at the gain of a slight boost in performance.

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