The cost at the gas pump is something every driver takes notice of nowadays. And when it comes to filling up the tank to get the most bang for your buck, what is the most efficient way of going about things: E10 or 100 percent gasoline?
An analysis was done by the Oklahoma American Automobile Association (AAA)to answer this question. It’s common knowledge that choosing E10, a blend of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline, is the cheaper route. But the study went more in depth, to find out just what the tradeoff is on miles per gallon.
“Today in Oklahoma, the difference between the price at the pump for E10 and the price for so-called pure gas has grown to 30 cents or more,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.
“Assuming a price of $3.39 per gallon for pure gas and $3.09 for E10, you’re paying $4.80 more to fill up a 16-gallon tank with pure gas. But you’re gaining much less than that in increased miles per gallon (mpg).”
Individual results may vary, however, most experts agree that that using E10 will reduce most vehicles mpg by three or four percent.
In AAA’s hypothetical analysis, a car getting 30 mpg on 100 percent gasoline would still average approximately 29 mpg on E10. That’s a drop off of about 16 miles in a fuel tank that holds 16 gallons. According to AAA, at a hypothetical $3.39 per gallon for pure gas, a driver’s cost per mile at 30 mpg is 11.3 cents. With E10, at $3.09 per gallon, the cost per mile is 10.66 cents.
“As it happens, the break-even point for E10 vs. pure gas is about 11 cents per gallon when pump prices are in the range they are now,” said Mai.
“If the difference between the two fuels is 11 cents or less, buy pure gas. If it’s greater than 11 cents, you’re saving money by purchasing E10.”
The analysis done by AAA was only concerned with cost to the consumer at the pump. Consult your manual for information on your car’s specifications.