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Author Topic: Window stickers, ethanol and MPG Back to Topics
MAlonghorn

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Message Posted: Apr 10, 2012 10:36:12 AM

In these times of higher gas prices, we are more apt to monitor how many MPG we get in our vehicles.

Has anyone else seen a drop in MPG given the standard for most gas stations is gasoline with 10% ethanol added?

If this is the new standard don't window stickers on a new car estimate MPG using 100% gasoline?

Seems like there needs to be a movement to change those window stickers to accurately inform the customer of what the "real" MPG is. I would hope the a movement starts to remove ethanol subsidies, since we are actually using MORE gas by having ethanol in our gas. Or ethanol in gas will be here to stay and vehicle makers will find a way to make more efficient vehicles even with 10% ethanol gasoline.
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drydem
Veteran Author Maryland

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Message Posted: Jul 31, 2012 8:57:37 PM

Gasohol (aka E10 aka 10% ethanol gasoline) has 3.2% less energy than regular 100% gasoline. Officially, the EPA says that E10 should cause about a 3% drop in the MPG for most vehicles. However, many people report seeing a drop in fuel efficiency of more than 5%. I myself saw a consistent drop for a 1990 Honda Accord LX 4 door sedan (automatic) from 24(summer) to 20(winter) mpg to 22(summer) to 19(winter) mpg during transition period when E10 was mandated from the Washington DC Metro Area.
The transition to E10 was about a 8% to 7% drop in fuel efficiency. My guess is that either that the E10 gas had even less than 90% gas or that some of the ethanol portion of E10 evaporated from the fuel tank before I could use it.

[Edited by: drydem at 7/31/2012 9:59:13 PM EST]
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Jun 26, 2012 12:45:29 AM


=> All that being said, EPA standards are nothing more than that. If the EPA standards had much merit, that lawsuit that was filed against a manufacturer because a car did not get the claimed mileage or the EPA estimate would have got thrown out of court. But it didn't. The consumer won. Why did the consumer win? Because there was no way for her to get the same gas they used in testing, and no way to drive her car that would come close to matching how they tested, meaning she won because the car cannot get the claimed mileage or the EPA estimated mileage. And if I remember right about what I read about that case, it was something like 10 mpg less. <=

I'm not making much sense out of all this. First of all I think you're conflating "standards" (what the gov't requires carmakers to meet in aggregate, called "CAFE") with *estimates* that the EPA rates on individual cars with each model...

Second, if you're talking about that lady with the Honda, she took her action against the manufacturer, not the EPA -- that would be pretty much impossible (and btw if it was that case, Honda won its appeal (and rightly so)).

And thirdly, EPA standards are notoriously UNDERstated, not overstated. As I understand it, when the dumbed-down the numbers a few years ago, they undertook the assumption that people are driving like idiots and on that basis dialed back the existing numbers, so that the estimates now tell us what you can expect if you know nothing and care nothing and never learn about efficient driving, rather than telling us what the car is capable of. I can beat the EPA estimates in my two cars regularly by 25 to 40 percent, which makes the estimates pretty much useless unless I readjust them up to real-world expectations, which makes the whole number murky.

(And just to put it on topic, as well as counterbalance the position I just took, my older car only beats EPA numbers by that much if it runs free of ethanol, which I make sure it does; on E10 it still beats them but by less. The newer car doesn't seem to care).


[Edited by: sluggopyle at 6/26/2012 1:52:28 AM EST]
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tattoo666TX
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Message Posted: Jun 26, 2012 12:22:19 AM

I know biofuels were not tested. I know the gas they used had no additives at all. I know it had no ethanol in it.
I have been out of school for sometime and have returned. Figured I don't work anymore I needed something to keep me busy. One school was trying to get me interested in their biofuels program. Im I.T. and they were looking for people that can handle the I.T. end that may want to get involved in the database end of it.
The day I was there with them they also had a guest speaker from the EPA and guest speaker from a biofuel/alternative enrgy research company that looks for graduates from their program to hire. I told them that after working for 30 plus years, I had no interest in taking more science classes.
From my experience, I know it pays to be well connected. I happen to be well connected at that university, but science, biofuels and alternative energy are not what I am interested in.
All that being said, EPA standards are nothing more then that. If the EPA standards had much merit, that lawsuit that was filed against a manufacturer because a car did not get the claimed mileage or the EPA estimate would have got thrown out of court. But it didn't. The consumer won. Why did the consumer win? Because there was no way for her to get the same gas they used in testing, and no way to drive her car that would come close to matching how they tested, meaning she won because the car cannot get the claimed mileage or the EPA estimated mileage. And if I remember right about what I read about that case, it was something like 10 mpg less.
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jay93LA
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Message Posted: Jun 25, 2012 12:56:05 PM

car window stickers need to reflect ethanol if thatwhat they use
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ProfDude
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Message Posted: Jun 25, 2012 5:11:25 AM

tattoo666TX, so this was a job interview or a college entrance program, or what that you are describing...? Who is "they" precisely and what "biofuels program" are you speaking of?

And what does this have to do with the fact that the various test cycles do in fact work as described by the EPA, including for highway testing, and that biofuels are not in any way tested as part of the published fuel economy figures shown on window stickers?

Of course the test cycles are supposed to be exactly the same from vehicle to vehicle - that is the whole point of standardized testing. Consistency.

As to the original post, to change the standard for fuel used in the test would make it much harder to compare past years performance to current years. Many people use these fuel economy standards to compare how much the fuel economy is likely to improve when they trade up to a newer car than the one they drive currently. Thus it is important to have a consistent standard, even if it is less than perfect.

As fuels used for operating motor vehicles become more widespread, consumers evaluating vehicles that run on them will need to be more wary. Of course, if people somehow think it is better, we could just get rid of standardized testing overall and go back to guessing completely. When you use this site to compare experiences between drivers for the same fuels and vehicles, you very quickly see there is no way to know what is a reasonable expectation unless you use the EPA standard as a judgment basis for comparison.
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tattoo666TX
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Message Posted: Jun 25, 2012 1:00:02 AM

I sat through the lectures and went through all the information when they were trying to get me interested in getting into the biofuels program. This included a video of them testing a vehicle for highway mileage in an enclosed room on rollers with a high speed fan moving enough air to keep it from overheating. They were trying to get me interested for the computer end of the program. They have plenty of people that like to play with all the new fuel ideas, but they were looking for people that wanted to handle the database end of research and study. Yes, they test under all types of conditions for the city mileage but very seldom they said they varied from what I saw on the video for highway mileage. And no, they were not so happy with everything I pointed out as to how they rate vehicles.
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ProfDude
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Message Posted: Jun 24, 2012 10:35:51 PM

tattoo666TX, you should take the time to read the details of the testing. There are several less than ideal circumstances built into the tests. For example, the testing equipment can be set for headwind conditions, and A/C drag is absolutely tested for in the U.S. Different driving situations, such as urban commuting and highway cruising at various speeds, are also evaluated. There is not just one long flat straight unairconditioned 55 mph highway cruise that by itself generates test results.

Surely we all agree that real world conditions vary, but to say that the federal fuel economy test simulates only one sort of driving conditions is misleading and completely inaccurate.

Some people get better mileage and some people get worse. Many get something very close to the window sticker. The EPA tests are reasonable, and that is all they can ever be. This is especially true when factoring in all of the varying climatic and geographic conditions found across the U.S., not to mention population density and speed limit differences.

As mentioned before, ethanol fuel mixes are not now, nor have they ever been included in the fuel economy tests.

[Edited by: ProfDude at 6/24/2012 11:36:55 PM EST]
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tattoo666TX
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Message Posted: Jun 24, 2012 1:32:45 PM

Yes, and the lab environment is 79 degree, flat ground, 55 mph, no a/c and all the other things that you may actually find 1 or 2 days a year maybe in Az.
To get a true idea of how your real life mileage compares to the sticker you need to set your cruise at 55 mph and see what it does. Trying different grades of gas in your vehicle may or may not show an increse or decrease in mileage. I have stated many times that my truck will only get about half the mileage from a tank of E-85 as compared to what it will get on the premium non-ethanol gas I use and about 200 miles less per tank compared to mid-grade E-10 (which is what my truck likes if I have to use E-10)
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ProfDude
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Message Posted: Jun 24, 2012 8:03:54 AM

Ethanol is not used in fuel economy tests, and never has been.

Indolene, a gasoline standard without additives, is what is used. This creates a more consistent test.

Cars and trucks are not road tested. They are tested in a laboratory environment.

Visit this website if you want to learn how fuel economy tests are conducted.
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tattoo666TX
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Message Posted: Jun 20, 2012 12:48:13 AM

When you read the window sticker on a truck like mine, it said 18 mpg highway. WHat the window sticker did not tell you that it is 18 mpg highway at 55 mph on flat ground with an ambient temp of 79 and relatively low humidity with the windows up and a/c off running gas with no additive and NO ethanol.
Now this is what I have found with my truck. ((2010 F150 FX4 with 5.4 V-8)
From the factory at 65 mph on interstate 45 between Conroe Tx and Houston Tx it would get between 16-17 mpg. (with a/c on)
When I switched to full synthetic oil it jumped to where I could get 18-20 mpg under the same driving conditions. I also found that running E-85 would only get me 11-13 mpg under these conditions.
In December I moved and where I live they do not have an ethanol mandate. I found that my truck likes the gas up here better, and found that it preferred the mid-grade and was getting 20-21 mpg on the highway.
Then I started to play a bit more. Instead of driving the posted limits, I decided that since I am never in a rush anyway to drive at 55 mph. So now it started to average out between 21-22 mpg on the highway. I also noticed a sligth difference in mileage between a few stations, which I kind of figured had something to do with ethanol content, or should I say the rumor of no ethanol in their gas. Then I found a station that is not too far from me that has 2 pumps and only sells premium non-ethanol gas. Now at 55 mph on the highway I am getting right at 25 mpg. I have also tried this gas in the Cobalt my wife has. In that car on the highway at 55 mph it was getting right at 31.5 mpg. With the premium non-ethanol at 55 mph that car can now get 40-41 mpg.
Now all this should show you that yes they may have numbers printed on that sticker, but they are not giving you all the information on how they came up with it, or what the possible differences could be between there numbers and real world numbers.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Jun 19, 2012 12:12:57 AM


=> One can expect a small drop in MPG when using E10 but the drop would be a lot less than 10% so although you might be using slightly more gallons of the gasoline/ethanol mixture you would be using less of the "pure" gasoline. <=

When the drop actually IS less than 10%, true. But when the mileage loss is more than that, you use more of the oil product that you would have, even discounting the ethanol content. Ergo in my Saturn, E0 burns less gas than E10 does, given the same distance travelled. And a lot less fuel.
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chemist74
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Message Posted: Jun 18, 2012 7:02:00 AM

One can expect a small drop in MPG when using E10 but the drop would be a lot less than 10% so although you might be using slightly more gallons of the gasoline/ethanol mixture you would be using less of the "pure" gasoline.
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snell snail
Champion Author Atlanta

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Message Posted: Jun 17, 2012 7:14:22 AM

...you betcha!
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Banjoe
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Message Posted: Jun 17, 2012 6:10:54 AM

CobraJ - sounds like you are enjoying your Mustang and driving it to get excellent mileage. Also sounds like you're having fun with your foot into it once in a while.

Good on ya.
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reb4
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Jun 16, 2012 3:30:00 PM

Ethanol pertaining to mpg
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reb4
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Apr 18, 2012 12:33:56 PM

cobraJ, thanks for sharing your experience...

You are fortunate, to have a choice of fueling options
...
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CobraJ
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Message Posted: Apr 18, 2012 12:09:25 PM

The EPA revised their MPG estimates starting in 2008 for new cars going forward, and at the same time, these new estimates also lowered the MPG for cars older than 2008. I don’t know if they factored in gasoline with 10% ethanol in their revised estimates, but their numbers are definitely lower. These estimates are reflected in the Fuel Economy website. You can search for your vehicle and it will show you the current revised estimates and you can also see the old estimate prior to 2008.
When I bought my new 2005 Mustang GT in 2005, the EPA estimate on the window sticker was 19 CITY/ 25 HWY/ 21 combined and after the 2008 revision, the MPG estimates were lowered to 17 CITY/ 23 HWY/19 combined.
I drive my GT to maximize MPG, but every now and then I’ll hot rod it, but the majority of the time I drive economically. At every fill up, I calculate the MPG average (combined), and my calculations have always been slightly higher than the EPA’s estimates. With E10, my GT used to average no better than 22+ MPG combined, but now that I’m running it on ethanol free gasoline it’s averaging 25+ MPG combined. I filled it up just recently and it averaged 26.242 MPG combined.
Not bad for a V8 running on E0 gasoline.

[Edited by: CobraJ at 4/18/2012 1:15:28 PM EST]
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goldseeker
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Message Posted: Apr 17, 2012 3:45:45 PM

tattoo666TX wrote: "They say ethanol has a higher octane rating but pure gas develops more power."

Try telling that to the drive of an ethanol powered funny car that generates over 2000 hp.
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timmyC4
Veteran Author Twin Cities

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Message Posted: Apr 17, 2012 3:04:06 PM

I listen to my president obama and keep my tire pressure up.
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sluggopyle
Champion Author North Carolina

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Message Posted: Apr 16, 2012 4:30:35 PM

=> Has anyone else seen a drop in MPG given the standard for most gas stations is gasoline with 10% ethanol added? <=

Oh yeah. I ran a/b tests on my regular highway trips for a couple of years and consistently saw a drop of 15 to 20% when burning E10.

Needless to say I avoid it whenever possible, which is about 95% of the time. And as long as I do avoid it, I can beat the EPA number by at least 25%. Lately, usually 40%.
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reb4
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Message Posted: Apr 12, 2012 7:45:10 AM

mlonghorn, there are plenty of incentives and laws in the books to help this 30 year old industry.

Many people think that it's wrong to be provinding these types of incentives to a 30 year old industry.

I don't believe oil or ethanol industry needs anymore incentives.

There is also a 14 Billion gallon ethanol mandate that the government has in place for 2012...

In order to meet this, it is required to put ethanol in more fuel since the millions of ffv owners do not use the ethanol, for whatever the reason.

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chemist74
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Message Posted: Apr 12, 2012 7:41:59 AM

A specially refined gasoline is used for EPA fuel economy testing to eliminate the impact of fuel variation.
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krzysiek_ck
Champion Author Illinois

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Message Posted: Apr 12, 2012 7:37:20 AM

tattoo666TX wrote: "They say ethanol has a higher octane rating but pure gas develops more power."

Not for me. My car produces better torque and horsepower, even at the same boost level and timing, when using E35. Increase boost level and regular, non-racing, ethanol-free gas looks like a joke.
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tattoo666TX
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Message Posted: Apr 12, 2012 7:25:22 AM

The testing is done on flat ground, 79 degree temp. no wind at 55 mph with no a/c and windows up with pure gas. Basically a way that 99.999% of drivers will never have. As ethanol content goes up, mileage drops. They say ethanol has a higher octane rating but pure gas develops more power. Higher octane gas is basically needed for high compression engines to help prevent premature ignition. Best bet is keep your tire pressure right, use a full synthetic motor oil and drive slower.
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gamechanger2011
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Message Posted: Apr 12, 2012 3:27:10 AM

MALonghorn...ethanol subsidies where removed at the beginning of this year.
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reb4
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Apr 11, 2012 10:37:08 PM

Toyota information on ffv vehivcles that they offer... Tundra

ford epa ratings for ffv using gasoline and e85
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reb4
Champion Author Chicago

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Message Posted: Apr 10, 2012 7:38:26 PM

actually, i get over the window sticker on my vehicle...

I did get 57+MPG on some gas I got up in Wisconsin... Didn't check the ethanol content. I don't really have an option in Chicago area, haven't found any gas that is unleaded... and ethanol free... at least at the pumps i have found...

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jamieg2012
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Message Posted: Apr 10, 2012 11:26:39 AM

the fuel economy ratings is done with tests on closed tracks in conditions none of us get in the real world

i tend to forget about what they say and go by simple physics like a car that is double the weight compared to another will get worse economy even if the same engine and all other factors is the same
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