Running first tank of E85 in the Suburban

Discussion in 'Chevy Truck Talk & GM News' started by Nitro_Alltrac, Jun 26, 2013.

  1. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    I had to go to Austin today to take some stuff up to my son. I knew I was going to need fuel before I came back so I waited till I got there and filled up on the way back with E85. Since the truck is flex fuel, I've been curious. Here are my preliminary observations. At the HEB there in Austin, E85 was $2.87/gal compared to $3.27/gal for regular gas. This comes out to a 12.23% favorable difference in price. The truck still had some regular gas in it, about 6 gallons. The truck took 25 gallons to fill it up. Based on the auto MPG calculation by the truck, I was averaging 15.3 mpg on the last tank of gas. I had covered about 360 miles on this tank and this included a trip up and back from Austin, the trip up this morning, a trip to work Monday (about 60 miles round trip) and some driving around San Antonio. So far, the truck is showing 12.6 mpg on the trip back from Austin, a decrease of 17.6%. This calculates out to I covered the same route coming back that I did this earlier in the day (US 281 to US 290 and up Loop road 1). The temperature coming back might have been 3 or 4 degrees higher (mid 90s). I'm going to run the tank on down and then check the final mileage. Right now, it looks like the decreased mileage is not being offset by the decreased cost. I'm figuring that since I still had some regular gas (E10) in the tank that the mileage right now might be a little better than with straight E85. I wanted to check this out before I move back to WV as E85 is not readily available there. Others may have different experience but this is what I'm seeing so far.
  2. Enkeiavalanche

    Enkeiavalanche Moderator

    If E-85 is .40-.60 cheaper then Reg by you then worth it If not then don't bother You will lose about 30% MPG's
  3. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    That's what I'm thinking so far.
  4. j cat

    j cat Active Member

    having talked to owners with this E85 ability they all say E85 is a looser. best stay with 87 octane. this is also true with smaller car type vehicles. the E85 is an expensive MPG killer.
  5. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    I was curious. I read a couple of posts here where people said that they didn't see much mileage drop off. From what I have read, I was wondering if this was right. This will probably be my last tank of E85. I'll see what my numbers look like the rest of the week.
  6. stchman

    stchman New Member

    Edmunds did a test of E85 vs gas and the results were:

    18.6MPG on gas and 13.5MPG on E85.

    That's ~28% worse fuel economy. Edmunds drove from San Diego to Las Vegas and paid MORE in total fuel for the drive even though E85 was $0.40 a gallon cheaper.

    IMO E85 would have to be at least $0.60 cheaper to use it.
  7. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    I ran some errands this morning, probably drove 30 miles, mostly city. My indicated mileage is now down to 11.9 mpg.

    After I run this tank out, I'm going back to regular unleaded. The 40 cent differential is not enough to offset the decrease in mileage. Like stchman said, the difference needs to be at least 60 cents and probably more like a dollar.
  8. stchman

    stchman New Member

    I have been wanting to try E85 in my 2013 since it is a flex-fuel vehicle, but I don't think I'm in the mood to get that crappy of gas mileage.

    Not to mention E85 is roughly the same price as E10 here in St. Louis.
  9. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    I've pleasantly surprised with the mileage on gas but E85, not so much.
  10. K15 Blazer Guy

    K15 Blazer Guy New Member

    im so pissed theyre even allowed to add it to gas in the first place. its really bad for your engine!
    not just in millage, but it harms fuel pumps, vales, and cylinder walls because... well... its alcohol. and alcohol is a super fast evaporating solvent.

    its got something to do with government money going to Monsanto for corn patents, but also going to oil companies so they can sell/refine more fuel overseas, so uncle same subsidizes them with money and ethanol....... its.... its just plain greed. and very confusing.
  11. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    I can say that the engine assembly is different for flex fuel versus straight gas. I worked in the Toyota engine plant that builds the V6's for Camry, Avalon, Sienna and RX. The short block and heads were the same but all of the associated rubber lines used for fuel were changed over to stainless steel. All of the seals in the injector system, as well as the injectors, were completely different than for a straight gas engine. The Government, EPA or whoever, saying that E15+ is fine for all vehicles manufactured after a particular date kills me. They aren't set for the higher alcohol content. It also ticks me off that we are still paying the same price for "gas" when we're only get 85-90% of what we're paying for. Not to mention that the increased ethanol production based on corn is driving up food prices. If it was being made from some non-food based source it would be different. We're really paying for it two or three times, once at the pump, once in the government subsidies and again at the grocery story. I don't have a problem with alternate fuels but they should be able to stand on there own in the market place in my opinion.
  12. tbplus10

    tbplus10 Moderator

    Mike if ya ever want to read some real interesting stuff about E-85 or Ethanol in general google " E-85 FAA and EPA".
    Outside of aviation circles no one paid much attention to the fact the EPA reversed its fuel policies for Ethanol use in aircraft engines due to proven corrosion issues after the FAA put pressure on the EPA and threatened to take the issue to congress.
    The EPA admitted ethanol was behind corrosion issues in auto, marine, small engine, and gas powered aircraft engines. But their decision was the public could just eat the added cost as long as their policies were followed. The FAA stuck it to them hard but the changes only affect aircraft.
    The EPA has put waivers in place for certain marine engines and antique vehicles but the info is so vague Ive yet to find anyone that knows what it means or how to get the waivers.
    I agree If you want to market a product it should stand on its own merits, but the ag industry has found a way to get the goverment to mandate their product and make the public pay for it whether they use it or not.
    Look up info on E85 transport sometime, its corrosive properties have that industry worried enough that its not allowed to be piped or shipped in systems that ship normal fuel, has to have its own pipes and tankers.
    Ethanol is an Oxidizer, doesnt need moisture or oxygen to create corrosion.
  13. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    Thanks for the info. I'll have to check that article out.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Well I finished my E85 experiment this evening. I went back to Austin today to see the grand baby and stopped and filled the truck up on the way back. Ironically, it took almost exactly the same amount to fill it up today as it did last time. On the previous tank of unleaded, I ran 360 miles. On this tank of E85, the same amount only took me 320 miles. The DIC was showing 12 mpg when I filled up. Before I got on the interstate to go to Austin, it was showing 11.1 mpg after in-town driving. I ran about 120 miles or so today of straight highway driving up and down I35. If the cost differential was larger, say 60 cents to over 1.00 dollar, I would consider running it again but with just the 40 cent differential, no, not worth it. Several places I've passed here that have E85 have a smaller differential, some as small as 20 cents.
  14. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    Not only that, but your engine will run hotter on E85 ... so you could make an argument that it will wear the engine out earlier, so even if it were break-even with Gasoline on a mile-per-gallon vs. cost-per-gallon = cost-per-mile comparision ... it still would mean that your engine isn't going to last as long, all things being equal.
  15. Nitro_Alltrac

    Nitro_Alltrac New Member

    ^Hadn't thought about that. It had to be running hot today. I saw 111 degrees on the thermometer as we were going by the Longhorns' stadium on the way up.
  16. ChevyFan

    ChevyFan Administrator Staff Member

    That's just based on my understanding of the fact that alcohol burns hotter than gasoline.

    Now it burns more pure and cleaner too, but if your going to take that argument then you have to adjust in the r energy that goes into making the ethanol ... starts looking pretty bad for ethanol. Unless you're an Iowa corn farmer. :)

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