Thrifty Thursday, gas edition

So, inspired by an online blog, I've been doing an experiment on ethanol gas vs alcohol free gas in our vehicle, 2002 Ford Excursion. Jennie C figured out mileage on a full tank of each, and found that her vehicle did much better on alc-free gas. We started with ethanol, but then blew the whole experiment by driving to Dallas...thereby getting all highway miles and nearly 15 mpg (woohoo!)

So, I bought the alc-free gas, and did our normal driving pattern and got 11.9 mpg. (!) 
Then, bought the ethanol gas and after our normal driving pattern, got 12.4 mpg. Hm.

So again, I'm going to say it depends on your vehicle, and perhaps your driving patterns. I'm glad we did it, because it's just more food for thought. 

On one hand....to fill our tank, alc free gas costs $4 to $6 more, and if we're not getting better mileage, it's not worth it thriftywise. 

On the other hand, I do tend to shop at gas stations that are alc free because the stations around here tend to be independently owned and I like supporting small businesses. 

On the other hand, looking at the environment, gas has hidden costs such as drilling, refining, shipping. Gas with ethanol has all of that, plus the hidden cost of growing corn (water, fertilizing, harvesting), refining, and then shipping to gas refineries to make final products. 

On the other hand, producing ethanol actual creates energy so perhaps it works out in the end. 

And in the immortal words of Tevye (surely you got the idea from all my 'other hands'?) what people buy is mostly based on TRADITIOOOON!  Perhaps not the gas they they've always bought (On the other hand, ethanol has been in our gas since the 80's) but on traditional thinking surrounding supporting gas or ag or large chains or independent station owners.  Or perhaps the tradition of buying whatever costs less regardless of the long term cost.


Jennie C. said...

I can't find any ethanol free gas around here anymore, but when I could, it cost the same.

David has changed the air filter in the van to a high performance model, and he's got high performance spark plugs to install, as soon as he can find himself a torque wrench. I don't know about the mileage yet and won't till we run through another tank of gas. Next week should be pretty enlightening!

Melissa said...

I can't wait to see your post...I looked for your recent one, and just couldn't find the first trimester energy to complete my search AND do laundry AND dust and vacuum the basement ;-)

Last time I took the truck in, the mechanics all gathered around, mourning the condition of our air filter. ~blush~

Our ethanol free gas is 10¢ to 20¢ higher than the ethanol gas.

Blessed Wife and Mom said...

My Durango got 2mpg better with the ethanol gas; not much, but every little bit helps!!!