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I'm a mother of 3 who started blogging as a way to share our many adventures and to expand beyond the everyday "mommy world". While there IS so much more to us mommies than the title, there is very little that doesn't in some way or another lead us back to or influence our children...if anything. So, I hope you enjoy following our family's randomness, because as all moms know- you can never anticipate what tomorrow will bring! Thanks for visiting and have a blessed day! :)

Saturday, November 10, 2012

My Experiment: Ethanol-blended Fuel versus Pure Gasoline

This experiment is only 3 tanks into the making but I'm already a believer.  First, we own a 2000 Nissan Quest that we purchased used in October of 2010.  From then until just recently, we were only using the ethanol-blended fuel that most everyone else in the country has been using.  Being an older vehicle, it has not been without its problems and has been in and out of the shop too frequently for my tolerance.  Periodically, I noticed that there seemed to be a correlation between where I filled up the tank last and the "knocking" and "sputtering" our van experienced.  As a result, I began to avoid Wal-mart, Kroger, and Sam's Club fueling stations.  It seemed to help but never completely eliminated the problem.

So, I did a little research on ethanol-blended fuel versus pure gasoline and was a bit surprised at what I found so I decided to test the theories I found to see if there was any validity to them. 
I nearly always reset the trip when I fill up the tank so I already had a good idea of how many miles we could go on ethanol-blended fuel, usually around 222 miles (give or take).  One claim was that pure gasoline produced better gas mileage than ethanol-blended but others claimed that it wasn't enough to make a difference.  After 3 tanks of pure gasoline, each has given us atleast 260 miles.  The latest trip yielded 268.8 miles, to be exact.  In my opinion, nearly 40 miles is a significant difference.  My conclusion:  Yes, pure gasoline produces much better gas mileage than ethanol-blended gasolines.

Another claim was that this improved gas mileage actually meant that pure gasoline was cheaper than ethanol-blended, rather than most people's belief that ethanol-blend was less expensive.  So, to test this claim, every time I filled up with pure gasoline I would check the prices of the ethanol-blended gasolines and record it on my pure gasoline receipt for comparison.  With me so far?  Today the pure gasoline price was $3.29 a gallon.  Ethanol-blend price is now $3.20.  So, using a 15 gallon fill-up as base, I was able to figure a pure gasoline fill would cost $49.35.  That same fill with ethanol-blend would cost $48.  Divide the pure gasoline cost by 268 (miles since last fill-up), then divide the ethanol-blend cost by 222 (typical miles per fill-up) and you will find that pure gasoline costs 18.4 cents per mile, whereas ethanol-blended costs 21.6 cents per mile.  My conclusion:  Yes, pure gasoline is cheaper than ethanol-blended gasoline in the long run.

The final claim I tested was in relation to the vehicle's performance.  Some concluded that pure gasoline resulted in better overall performance of the vehicle compared to ethanol-blended.  Now, my "experiment" here is not as scientific but merely based on my visual observation of how our van drives and operates in general.  The "knocking", "sputtering", and "shuttering" have stopped completely!  My conclusion:  Yes, we have experienced better overall performance using pure gasoline as opposed to ethanol-blended.

Results may vary for different makes and models of vehicles but as for us and our van, I'm a believer!  As long as "the price is right", I will steer clear of ethanol-blended gasolines and rest confident in the knowledge that it also happens to cost more than regular grade pure gasoline.  This "study" has been a real eye-opener for me.  I encourage all of you to conduct an experiment of your own and see what you find.  If you do, let me know what you found!  I would be very interested to hear your results! :)

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