There are many virtues of high-octane E85 ethanol fuel: It’s American-made; reduces our consumption of oil; and results in lower levels of emissions that foul the air and harm the environment.
But based on our conversations with E85 customers, the biggest selling point is the price.
At Fuel Freedom we say this until our faces are as blue as our logo, but it bears repeating, since it’s so often true: E85 is cheaper than regular gasoline. Even with gas being relatively cheap in its own right. According to the Renewable Fuels Association’s indispensable resource, E85Prices.com, on Friday the national average price for E85 was $1.98 a gallon, compared with $2.39 for regular gas.
Why is this? Economics, pretty much. The feedstock for gasoline, crude oil, fluctuates like crazy, without warning. The dominant feedstock for ethanol, corn, was north of $8 a bushel in mid-2012; now it’s about $3.62. (The “ethanol drives up food prices” canard is just one of many myths about the fuel. Our fact sheet debunks a baker’s dozen of them.)
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, E85 often is cheapest in the Midwest, where a large proportion of the nation’s 2,800 E85 stations are located. Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska, Minnesota … that’s also where the big corn growers and many ethanol plants are. Shorter supply loop, cheaper prices for the consumer. According to E85Prices, E85 is 17.9 percent cheaper than gasoline in Iowa; 21.4 percent cheaper in Illinois; and 20.5 percent cheaper in Minnesota.
Of course, E85 has less energy content than regular gas, but the price discount usually is enough to offset this. And E85 has so many other benefits, surely it’s worth the time to fill up once more a month. Right?
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