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E85 Drives Poorer Fuel Economy

ConsumerreportsConsumer Reports has concluded that E85 ethanol will cost consumers more money than gasoline and that there are concerns about whether the government’s support of flexible fuel vehicles can really help the U.S. achieve energy independence.

CR’s testing found that:

  • E85 provides fewer miles per gallon, costs more, and is hard to find outside the Midwest.
  • Government support for flexible-fuel vehicles is indirectly causing more gasoline consumption rather than less.
  • Blended with gasoline, ethanol has the potential to fill a significant minority of future U.S. transportation fuel needs.
  • When testing a 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe Flexible-Fuel Vehicle, overall fuel economy on the Tahoe dropped from 14 mpg overall to 10.
  • With the retail pump price of E85 averaging $2.91 per gallon in August, a 27 percent fuel-economy penalty means drivers would have paid an average of $3.99 for the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline.
  • The Tahoe’s driving range decreased to about 300 miles on a full tank of E85 compared with about 440 on gasoline.

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