Monday, May 20, 2013

Back to E85

Yeah, I know: Minnesota gas prices: GRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!

I'm going back to something I haven't done for several years: adding E85 to my tank when I fill it. It's about a buck a gallon cheaper right now, and that more than makes up for a small mileage decrease.

Here's how it works: when the tank is nearly empty, I try for about a 60/40 blend, the 60 being the percent of regular unleaded, the 40 being E85. Always add the regular first. You never want to go over that ratio. We've been warned for years not to increase the amount of ethanol in our cars. Oooohhhh, scary!  Something might happen. Well, I've done it in 10-year-old cars, or rather as much as ten years ago, and nothing happened. They ran fine, nothing broke down, nada. I based the ratios on advice given on a local NBC morning news program. Don't recall who the expert was, but I tried it and everything was fine.

Nobody who's advised against it was able to say why it shouldn't be done. "Cars weren't built for it" is what they said. My Hyundais handled it just fine, thank you very much.  Not a whisper of a problem. When it wasn't available, regular gas went in. No biggie, unless you count the price, and ten years ago it was nothing like now. So I'm back and running, on unleaded and E85.

I have found one drawback: the pump handles themselves are very stiff. Under-usage? Or is it a subtle way to get us to buy more expensive fuel? For sure the all-new pumps at a local station don't have that issue with any of their other gas pump handles. Of course, I haven't checked the diesel handles. But it's not the only station with that issue.

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