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Old 03-13-2016, 11:33 AM   #1
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Gasoline Mileage: source of fuel a factor

We have been splitting our year at a "winter and summer" season. Eventually moving full time to Nevada, but still love the Colorado home and climate.

Southern Nevada (Las Vegas/Clark County) has more expensive gasoline. It is California seasonal and ethanol blend. It not only costs more... the mileage on our 5.7L Tundra can lose 20% of my expected miles per gallon.

At first I though it my driving habits had changed, but it was very consistent. I asked about the source of the fuel... California and all of its friendly environmental urban blends.

Once returning to Colorado my miles per gallon increased and the price per gallon decreased. Especially pulling a trailer.

Since this is just an observation and not a scientific breakthrough... your experiences might be very similar. I have not sat down and computed mpg and drawn a graph onto a chart... but I do record mpg / cost per gallon / gallons to fill my gasoline tank.

Ethanol is lousy for a fuel when you figure the cost per mile driven. I cannot wait for the day when the brightest in environmental research discover that refined pure gasoline, today, is much superior in many ways.

Certainly... I do not want to be living in China's largest cities with their thick cloud of pollution... but I live in the Rocky Mountains where elevation requires gasoline. Many major cities in the Western USA are in valleys. Denver, Salt Lake City, Los Angeles... are good examples. Kansas... not so. Although Rock Springs, Wyoming is in a valley the wood burning fireplaces had an inversion where the smoke was held over the town in the coldest still wind months of the year. But that is not gasoline related.

Do not confuse H2O fog as pollution. San Francisco would really be in a jam.

Maybe diesel needs to be taken care of as well, but then again, the politics of fuels and money becomes a factor.

I have yet to find Rock River, Wyoming under a cloud of filthy polluted air... unless it is smoke from a fire blowing in from California. Even the Grand Canyon catches all of the smoke from the west coast brush fires. One thick haze having little to do with automobile exhaust.

To end this... I notice a difference in miles per gallon just from the fuel requirements of "saving the environment"...from what? I ask. And as the requirements for better mileage increases... the fuel quality... decreases.

What a wonderful system. And as the pollution of Asia blows across the Pacific Ocean... we pay.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:02 PM   #2
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Ethanol is like a "filler" in gas it has only 2 carbon molecules so it takes way less air and produces way less heat than gas. 20% is higher than I anticipated but not by much.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:22 PM   #3
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You shouldn't see a 20% increase in consumption on E10, but you could on E85. Ethanol has 33% less energy, so an E10 blend will result in about a 4% increase in consumption.

Don't blame environmental concerns for your ethanol contaminated gasoline. Blame the corn lobby if anyone.
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Old 03-13-2016, 12:27 PM   #4
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Also adding ethanol is an "easier" way to increase the octane rating. Other chemicals like lead and MBTE are expensive and tough on the environment.

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Old 03-13-2016, 12:38 PM   #5
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You shouldn't see a 20% increase in consumption on E10, but you could on E85. Ethanol has 33% less energy, so an E10 blend will result in about a 4% increase in consumption.

Don't blame environmental concerns for your ethanol contaminated gasoline. Blame the corn lobby if anyone.
The corn lobby is making millions in government subsidies on ethanol. Although the environmental benefits are minimal, it allows the Government to appear as if they are doing something for the environment.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:12 PM   #6
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From my youthful days in the early 1970's in Cheyenne, Wyoming, the weekend hot rodding days tried to catch the slight edge by getting the "freshest gasoline delivery" in Cheyenne. Usually it was some guy we knew working as a weekend mechanic that would get the word out... or maybe he was a great salesman on the side. The fresher the fuel, the slight edge at 6,000 feet elevation.

The six cylinder (300 cubic inch) XKE Jaguar would still beat me at the quarter mile with my 327 cubic inch 300 horse power.

I have noticed that at times, pulling my Tundra into our garage at Boulder City, NV and parking it... the exhaust fumes were rather... sharp and stinky. Something new to me. Sure is not my imagination as this is my smell sense and common sense to notice smells that are new.

At elevation a good gasoline is required. You know the times when the engine just seems to be... gutless after a refill? Happens in Missouri as well, when you want to accelerate and... putt... putt. Something is up.

The "budget stations" get their fuel from the same delivery to major stations... but what is left over after making their rounds. Sometimes... that cheap price might have some reason for wanting a few more buyers. I recall Hudson Oil in western Missouri had doctored their metering system to sell gasoline for less.... but the one gallon was less than a gallon. Maybe someone in Kansas City will remember that... shortage story.

We all take our gasoline as being fairly standard, but some... rumor or not... had what we termed, "shake and bake". Additives would be added and while the fuel truck traveled... it would shake and bake (mix). Someone might put that one fable to rest... or not?

Shell has added "nitrogen". It costs more, but maybe it helps. Costco uses nitrogen to inflate their tires and I think that works for me.

These refineries are rather complex and the oil used to make gasoline and light oils. Wyoming has a big one just east of Rawlins, Wyoming. Another in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Oklahoma and Texas... every street corner must have a refinery.

Much like a coal fired electrical plant... I do not know who to trust any longer. The "sulfur" dead zone north of some places in the Northeast from a power plant or gasoline refinery... do they exist today or even back then?

I learned one thing in my hot rodding days. If you are pulling a Holly four barrel carburetor off your engine... do not pour the excess gasoline into a styrofoam cup...
That I know. The rest... I haven't a clue.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:12 PM   #7
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Also adding ethanol is an "easier" way to increase the octane rating. Other chemicals like lead and MBTE are expensive and tough on the environment.

Dennis
Biggest issue with ethanol as an octane boost, to me, is that it isn't stable. As the ethanol collects water, and separates out in the tank, you get a resultant drop in the AKI, or octane rating.

I hunt out non-ethanol fuels. Partly for the improved quality, partly for the improved mileage, partly for the improved performance, and partly because I believe that using corn to produce motor fuels negatively impacts our food supply. When you add in the land use and water issues, and consider how much carbon you produced making the ethanol, you can't call ethanol in fuel an environmental benefit, IMO.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:17 PM   #8
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At elevation a good gasoline is required.
Good fuel is always a good idea. Fresh is good. But at higher elevations, there is actually less of a requirement for higher octane ratings. The problem becomes if you purchase 85 AKI (regular) at altitude, where it works as well as 87 does at sea level, and then drive down to sea level and still have it in your tank.
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Old 03-13-2016, 01:39 PM   #9
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"Do not confuse H2O fog as pollution. San Francisco would really be in a jam."

No, due to the prevailing winds from the west, all of SF's junk just gets blown over to Sacramento , so we end up being the ones in a jam, while SF brags about its great air quality.


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Old 03-14-2016, 08:02 AM   #10
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We have seen the same decrees in MPG with our diesel. 16.5 towing untill we reach the mid west and all diesel becomes a bio blend up to 20% (according to the label on the pumps) then we drop to 14.5. About a 12.5% LOSS. I did not notice an appreciable drop in power, but did loose MPG's. I fully expected to gain MPG as we got to the corn belt and lost the hills of the EAST or mountains of the WEST but I believe the fuel was the issue. I was surprised to see all over the road diesel in the mid west having some type of BIO blend amount. I can not imagine the MPG loss to go full BIO DIESEL or E85 gasoline.

You have to love the greenheads, lets use bio fuels so we don't burn "dirty" fossil fuels. But I have to burn more of the BIO fuel and get less MPG? The greenheads don't want to talk about reality. Just like putting all the pollution control devices on the diesels so I went from a truck getting 25mpg to one getting 17mpg, Makes no sense to me to have to use 50% more fuel to go the same distance. I guess the more fuel I have to buy the more fuel taxes I pay. NOT THAT MONEY IS WHY THE GOVERNMENT DOES ANYTHING

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Old 03-14-2016, 08:29 AM   #11
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I have found crossing the border into Canada increases mileage by 2-3 mpg.
85 octane fuel is not available in many places out west. The Tundra requires 87 so it is not a problem. Notice I call it fuel and not gasoline.
Back in the last century before ethanol I could leave gas in my farm tractors all winter and it would not deteriorate like the fuels we have today.
Is this progress?
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Old 03-14-2016, 08:39 AM   #12
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Let me straighten this out, from my professional experience.

E10 is completely an EPA thing - no lobby. It is added strictly as an oxigenate to lower emissions. MTB was used prior to E10 (with timing overlap) but it was found to be a carcinogen, and was subsequently banned.

E85 is an effort to reduce oil consumption and carries a lot of social and political ramifications. You can point to many corners of the debate for the "push". Corn lobby is just one of those corners.

E85, practically, reduces fuel mileage 15 - 20%, depending on particular engine family and manufacturer.

Pumps labeled as E85 can have as little as 70% (or so) ethanol, and as high as 90% ethanol. This varies by season and the price of ethanol vs. gasoline. Some blenders will "push" the limits based on economics at the time.

Most E85 capable engines (flex fuel) will note no performance issues unless ethanol content goes above 90%.

Ethanol gets a bad rap, from a performance standpoint....which it does not deserve.

Ethanol gets a bad rap for many social and political reasons.....which is arguably valid.
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:13 AM   #13
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Despite what Rich says, I find that I absolutely get 10% better mileage on fuel with no ethanol. I have found that often enough that I believe my data. My truck has the 5.3 liter flex fuel designation.

Larry
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Old 03-14-2016, 09:19 AM   #14
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Despite what Rich says, I find that I absolutely get 10% better mileage on fuel with no ethanol. I have found that often enough that I believe my data. My truck has the 5.3 liter flex fuel designation.

Larry
I didn't comment on E10...an omission.

Like the reasons for E85, E10 can be upwards of E15, for the same reasons stated for E85.

My experience, over the long haul, with GM flex fuel engines has been closer to the 5% area (by the testing of content method) for true E10. When it creeps toward E15, it is more like 7 - 8%. HOWEVER, and I state it again, it will vary by engine design....even within manufacturers, but not by more than a couple %, in my experience. The difference in manufacturers CAN be more or less, but not by a huge margin.
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