Ethanol costs more than gas
February 16, 2006
BY JAMES R. HEALE
The heavily promoted alcohol fuel called E85 might cut America's oil use and help support U.S. agriculture, but it's not reducing motorists' fuel bills. It's boosting them significantly.
The price of E85, a fuel that's 85% ethanol made from grain and 15% conventional gasoline, is higher than that of gasoline, even though E85 has only 72% as much energy. The U.S. Department of Energy says a vehicle has to use 1.4 times as much E85 as gasoline to go the same distance.
At some Nebraska stations, E85 was $2.19 a gallon Tuesday, while gasoline with 10% ethanol -- a common substitute for regular in the Midwest -- was $2.06. "This doesn't make sense," says Wayne Davis, a division manager at fuel company Bosselman, based in Grand Island, Neb. "Our customers are saying, 'I'm not going to buy E85, which is better for the environment and the economy, unless it's cheaper.' We're seeing E85 just sit."