Ethanol Put To The Test


Tuesday, November 18th 2008, 11:56 am
By: News 9


By Amy Lester, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Many gas stations across the state have advertised better mileage per gallon by using 100 percent gasoline, as opposed to an ethanol blend.

Experts on both sides of the debate have vastly different opinions on the use of E-10, or ethanol blend, and the use of pure gasoline. In the E-10, the fuel can contain up to 10 percent ethanol.

"We're hearing lots of complaints from customers that were having problems with their fuel mileage dropping," Hanska said.

Steve Hanska, a fuel distributor, only deals in pure gasoline, leaving the ethanol for someone else.

"It's better for the customer," Hanska said. "It saves people money with their fuel mileage. It saves people money on their maintenance."

Terry Detrick is the President of Oklahoma Sustainable Energy. He insisted E-10 blends are the way to go.

"I challenge people, when there's a 10 percent ethanol, thank the manager for saying, ‘Thank you for supporting American agriculture,'" Detrick said.

Five vehicles were tested to determine which fuel got the better mileage:

  • 2005 Chevy Tahoe
  • 2000 Volkswagen Jetta
  • 2005 Toyota Camry
  • 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser
  • 2008 Scion XB

The owners of the vehicles tracked their mileage for two tanks of 100 percent pure gas, and two tanks from a station with a sticker saying the gas contains up to 10 percent ethanol.

View the complete results of our ethanol/gasoline test here.

"I was really disappointed because I thought, ‘Okay, I'm paying more, I should get better gas mileage, but I didn't,'" Jane-Ann Stinchomb said.  

Matthew Wells said the test changed his thoughts on purchasing fuel.

"I'm going to be more aware of what I put into my tank from now on," Wells said. "You want to get the most from your money." 

While the test was not scientific, some studies show E-10 blends can cause fuel efficiency to go down less than two percent.