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  1. #1

    Default Should I Try Ethanol?

    I have a 2002 Suburban with the 5.3 Liter Flex Fuel engine (code Z). A station close to home is now selling E85 Ethanol. Today's price range is $2.59 for Unleaded and $2.29 for E85. Is the fuel mileage penalty greater than the $.30/gal I will save? (I usually get 13.5 to 14 MPG in town)

    Are there any other idiosyncrasies associated with E85 that I need to be aware of?



  2. #2
    Sr. Mechanic SliverZ71's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Virginia Beach, Virginia


    The problem it ethanol don’t get the same mileage it burns more per mile. It’s cheaper but you loose a couple of miles per gallon so it evens out to pretty much no savings.
    Hi my Name is Steve I have a 2004 Silverado Z71 Crew cab, silver berch in color and Live in Virginia Beach Va. I have installed JBA Stainless Steel Shorty Headers with Flowmaster 40, K&N 77 air intake, Taylor 409 Wires , Diablosport Predator Programer, Weston Bull Bar, Carage Works Grill, ReadyLift Leveling kit, Pioneer Navigation system, Viper two way Alarm with remote start, Rino hitch step, Factor 20 inch wheels with Nitto Graplers and that's it for now.
    :cool: Steve

  3. #3


    I tried a few tank fulls in my silverado. I was not happy with it. I didn't like the mileage I was getting. I lost about 4mpg with e85.

  4. #4
    murdog94's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Cloquet, Minnesota, United States
    Blog Entries


    Quote Originally Posted by SliverZ71 View Post
    The problem it ethanol don’t get the same mileage it burns more per mile. It’s cheaper but you loose a couple of miles per gallon so it evens out to pretty much no savings.
    X2 what he said.. Only thing that i have to add is sometimes the savings is enough to justify the use of it.. There have been times where E85 was .50 to .75 cents less a gallon. But if you dont live in the corn belt then the price usually isnt justified......


    1997 Chevy S-10 Blazer 4X4 with 330K miles and counting (Hunting rig).

    2009 Saturn Aura XE (wifes car)

    2011 F-150 Crew 4X4

    "Hold it to the floor till you see God.... Then Brake!!!!"

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    River Ridge Louisiana-4 miles W of New Orleans-didn't flood-water stopped 800 yards away.


    Are you over 21-and don't drink and drive!
    Just kidding.
    Like everyone else said-ethanol has about 70% of the energy of gasoline(by volume), so 85% ethanol has about 75% of the energy of pure gasoline.I think a 30 cent discount is a rip off.It should be more like $2 even to make it a fair trade off.
    No advantage-except to so big farmers- to use ethanol.
    Biofuels that use food crops(except for maybe sugar cane-maybe) aren't really doing any good for the planet, and aren't decreasing net CO2 production(if that is a concern).
    Once fuel can be made from something cheap to grow that can be grown on marginal land(land useless for growing anything else) then they will make sense. Maybe the algae grown from the CO2 from power plants will work out. Heck,I could buy myself a full on Duramax with no guilt at all (except for not having the $50,000 of course).
    The ethanol is a decent enough additive for other reasons- but pointless now as a full fuel.Biofuels are a bust for now.
    1998 suburban-
    1/2 ton

    199500 miles

  6. #6


    While I basically agree with those above, There is one exception to the rule. E85 is higher octane, thereby allowing you to run higher compression and/or more timing advance. With a stock engine, this doesn't make much difference. But with any sort of forced induction, this allows for a nice performance boost.
    1986 Chevy G20 Tow Rig - 5.7 TBI conversion
    1978 Mustang II King Cobra Road Racer - Holley 650, MSD 6AL, 5 speed, 10 point Roll Cage, 9" posi, fuel cell, custom interior.

  7. #7
    Sr. Mechanic trapperdon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    rainville ( Seattle )


    for 2 1/2 months i had a 2009 burb e85 rental, and what the difference in cost to miles per gallons
    savings was i'd loose / even out averaging - in having to fill it up quicker.
    no big thrill and i didnt help to save anymore dinosaur bones to make a difference...
    if anything, i helped to increase the cost of corn products to the eating consumer who
    has to buy corn to help feed the family...

    yeah, i could stomp on the pedal while blasting onto a freeway enterance ramp and get a boost,
    but it didnt help with actual driving changes....

    overall i'd chalk that crap up to the greenpeacers' "the sky is falling !! " mentality to pusuade
    congress to force the crap down our throats....
    when in doubt, doubletap !

    - buying a new truck, one part at a time :grrrrrr:
    94 Blazer 4x4 k1500 5.7 L - aftermarket cold air intake
    Energy Suspension swaybar & upper and lower control arm bushings
    Pro Comp ES 9000 front shocks, new front drive axles,
    stainless front brake rotors & new pads,
    new Moog front end ball joints, Smittybilt black nerf bar steps,
    MB Racing rims & Hankook ATm off road tires

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