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· Registered
33 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have read the posts about which grade of gas to use, and based on them and the manual, I concede there is no benefit to higher-octane fuel.

Here in corn country, though, gas is available with 10% ethanol (super unleaded) and costs a few cents per gallon less than plain unleaded, and is two octane points higher (89).

Anybody have any experience running the 10% ethanol in the E?

· Moderatorium
6,964 Posts
Since nobody has responded to you yet, I will, even though I don't have an E just yet.

Your situation (ethanol blends cheaper than regular) is somewhat unique to eastern Nebraska. There is apparently some manner of subsidy/tax break of "the local product" - ethanol is actually more expensive to produce than gasoline.

Anyway... first of all, there's certainly no harm in trying it. Here in St. Louis we are required to run (and pay more for) 10% ethanol for ozone emissions control (ethanol is an oxygenator). If there were any bad effects the fit would have already hit the shan. Besides, modern vehicles are designed to run ethanol blends; it's only some older European cars (pre-'80's, mostly) that have problems with gaskets and hoses dissolving.

Downside of ethanol is that while it increases the octane rating of the blend, it actually has less energy content, in essence diluting the gasoline. Some engine designs tolerate this reduction more than others; I can tell you that my two Ford V6's experience a 10% drop in fuel economy on ethanol blends while our Miata is pretty much unaffected. I had this odd observation confirmed by a state fuels chemist.

What I would suggest in your case is to record your gas mileage for a minimum of three tankfuls of "normal" gasoline. Then with the tank nearly empty, make the switch, and go another three tankfuls, and then note the difference. If the difference of the averages is less than 1 mpg, I'd say switch for good and pocket the savings.
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