Mileage for ethanol vs. non-ethanol gasoline
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:10 pm quote
I suspect this would be hard to give a rough estimate, especially since all scooters are different, but just to try:

What is the mileage difference for a scooter running on ethanol-infused gasoline versus non-ethanol gasoline?

Say for example, do we get 10% better fuel economy on non-ethanol gasoline?
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:59 pm quote
pretty much 10% decrease across the board no matter what vehicle using ethanol. Car, truck, motorcycle, scooter, lawn mower ect, ect.
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:17 pm quote
YMMV. No two vehicles are exactly the same. Far too many variables. Best bet is to simply run a test on a couple of tankfuls of each.
Molto Verboso
Vespa ET4
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:36 pm quote
The non-ethanol gasoline in my area is regular NOT premium. Can I use it in my ET4 that calls for premium OR would I be defeating the advantage of non-ethanol gasoline by using lower octane fuel?
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:46 pm quote
Potentially yes - it depends on what 'regular' and 'premium' mean in your area, and at what altitude you normally ride. It's the declared 'octane' rating that's important (and those numbers also vary in meaning according to where you are).
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:49 pm quote
Ah okay None of the gas stations I use state whether the fuel is non-ethanol or ethanol infused. I guess I need to ask the cashier but am doubtful to get an accurate response.

Yeah...lots of variables.
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 3:55 pm quote
Almost certainly for you it'll be 10% ethanol, but you should be using 91 octane. As Vespas tend to get re-filled while the tank is still 25% full alternating between 'regular' and 'premium' won't matter - there's no need to use a higher (US defined) octane rating.

Octane Ratings
Resident Grump
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:52 pm quote
teabow1 wrote:
Ah okay None of the gas stations I use state whether the fuel is non-ethanol or ethanol infused. I guess I need to ask the cashier but am doubtful to get an accurate response.

Yeah...lots of variables.
http://pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=NC
Resident Grump
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:54 pm quote
Many ethanol free pumps around the country are 90 octane.
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Reprehensible Misinformant
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 5:58 pm quote
tomjasz wrote:
teabow1 wrote:
Ah okay None of the gas stations I use state whether the fuel is non-ethanol or ethanol infused. I guess I need to ask the cashier but am doubtful to get an accurate response.

Yeah...lots of variables.
http://pure-gas.org/index.jsp?stateprov=NC
Thats a great link, thanks for sharing.

(Too bad ethanol free stations listed (6 in all) doesn't amount to a hill of beans for California, the largest gasoline market in the US. Conicidence?)
Molto Verboso
'05 Vespa Granturismo
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:15 pm quote
I doubt you would be able to detect the mileage difference between gasoline with 10% alcohol added and straight gasoline of the same octane rating.
The difference would be due to the difference BTU's per pound in gasoline versus the BTU's per pound in the alcohol used. With only 10% alcohol in the mixed fuel, the difference would be minimal.

Last edited by Richard H. Lemmon on Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:19 pm quote
Richard H. Lemmon wrote:
I doubt you would be able to detect the mileage difference between gasoline with 10% alcohol added and straight gasoline of the same octane rating.
since you live in an area that can't get real gas you can't test it now can you. But I do live in an area that I can get real non-E gas and there is a difference in mileage, about 10% better with non-E gas. oh I only use premium in my scoot. and when in my Ford truck I use regular and it the truck it is about 10% better also with non-E gas.
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Sat Feb 18, 2012 10:37 pm quote
I almost always used "mogas" in my airplane (a cessna 170B) even though it was not authorized for use when containing ethanol. There was no detectable difference in fuel burn or performance when using 100LL avaiation fuel.
I find it ludicrous to think that adding 10% combustible ethanol would reduce vehicle mileage by 10% too.
Under those circumstances, if it was fueled with 100% alcohol, as in some race cars, it would not run at all.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 1:34 am quote
Richard H. Lemmon wrote:
I find it ludicrous to think that adding 10% combustible ethanol would reduce vehicle mileage by 10% too.
Under those circumstances, if it was fueled with 100% alcohol, as in some race cars, it would not run at all.
Very interesting notion, Richard. You have clearly raised a legitimate question about an alleged 1:1 relationship.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:36 am quote
Richard H. Lemmon wrote:
I almost always used "mogas" in my airplane (a cessna 170B) even though it was not authorized for use when containing ethanol. There was no detectable difference in fuel burn or performance when using 100LL avaiation fuel.
I find it ludicrous to think that adding 10% combustible ethanol would reduce vehicle mileage by 10% too.
Under those circumstances, if it was fueled with 100% alcohol, as in some race cars, it would not run at all.
Well, the logic experiment you're doing is not based on anything, nonetheless it is not really a 1:1 ratio.

Actual fact is 3-4% decrease in mpg with 10% ethanol blend is typical.

Unfortunately ethanol also has other issues (corrosion, water absorption, etc.) as well. It costs more to 4X as much to produce a gallon of ethanol as gasoline. The energy needed to grow the corn and convert it into ethanol takes a huge bite out of any environmental advantages.

Sorry it's so hard to find non-blended gas, but there it is.

P.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:47 am quote
That sounds about right as ethanol is quoted as having 34% lower energy per unit volume than gasoline. This means you need about 50% more ethanol than gasoline to extract the same amount of energy.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:04 am quote
jimc wrote:
That sounds about right as ethanol is quoted as having 34% lower energy per unit volume than gasoline. This means you need about 50% more ethanol than gasoline to extract the same amount of energy.
To be precise:

- - EtOH has about 63% of the energy of gasoline per unit of mass.

-- EtOH has a density 12% greater than gasoline. Thus, a gallon of gasoline weighs 12% less than a gallon of EtOH.

Converting energy content per unit of mass to unit of volume: 63% x 1.12 = 70.12% Pure EtOH energy content per gallon versus "pure" gasoline.

US E-10 is blended by volume, not mass. E-10 can contain up to 10% (but not necessarily a full 10%) of EtOH by law. In many areas of the US it is more typically around 5 - 6%, even though labeled E-10.

Blended E-10 (at the full 10% level) would thus have a roughly 3% reduction in energy content per unit of volume. How that energy content would translate into MPG would depend on a variety of factors.

How does this 3% potential difference compare to the MPG loss due to under-inflated tires, poor driving habits and dirty air filters? - all of which are more directly under the rider's control?
Moderatus Rana
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:22 am quote
Does anyone else find it kind of sad that we are still having to have conversations about ethanol that is being used in anything but drinks and some desserts?
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:30 am quote
The 3% power loss assumes the engine gets the same efficiency and if neccessary automatically adjusts to compensate. Big assumption.

My brother has a 2000 Chevy pickup that would not run reliably, ran rough and frequently died. He read in on line Chevy forum to try ethenol free gas and problem disappeared. GM denied there was a problem but last year finally stepped up and provided a no cost modification so his truck will run on gas that is easy to find.

If it affects main stream US vehicles that are supposedly designed for it what about imorts that supply the U.S. market as an afterthought?

Bottom line a 3% reduction is the best one can hope for with 10% ethenol.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:03 am quote
stickyfrog wrote:
Does anyone else find it kind of sad that we are still having to have conversations about ethanol that is being used in anything but drinks and some desserts?
I do.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:35 am quote
stickyfrog wrote:
Does anyone else find it kind of sad that we are still having to have conversations about ethanol that is being used in anything but drinks and some desserts?
Absolutely! Damn crap that it is! The farm land ought to be used for sustainable food production. Besides my scooter runs better sober!
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 10:46 am quote
tomjasz wrote:
stickyfrog wrote:
Does anyone else find it kind of sad that we are still having to have conversations about ethanol that is being used in anything but drinks and some desserts?
Absolutely! Damn crap that it is! The farm land ought to be used for sustainable food production. Besides my scooter runs better sober!
I watched the documentary King Corn ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1112115/ ) recently, and it explains why most corn farmers in the US don't grow the kind of corn meant for human consumption. It's on Netflix, if any of you use it.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:19 am quote
Aviator47 wrote:
jimc wrote:
That sounds about right as ethanol is quoted as having 34% lower energy per unit volume than gasoline. This means you need about 50% more ethanol than gasoline to extract the same amount of energy.
How does this 3% potential difference compare to the MPG loss due to under-inflated tires, poor driving habits and dirty air filters? - all of which are more directly under the rider's control?
Or that slice of cheesecake you really did not need.

every time I start to think about complaining about such things, I remind myself I need to loose a good 30 to 40 lbs.

Bet my gas mileage goes up if I do...
Molto Verboso
Piaggio BV250
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 2:28 pm quote
Our agency now has a policy of only using 100% gas, NO ethanol. This came about because of poor vehicle performance and increased maintenance costs when using the ethanol-containing gas.
On a personal note, I always filled up at the same station. At some point I realized my mileage had drastically dropped, and wondered why. One day while filling up, I noticed that all the signs that had always displayed touting "no ethanol" had been removed. Yep, they had switched over to the big "E".
No more PetroStop for me.
After that I found another station that had 100% gas and my mileage and performance went right back up.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:12 pm quote
I wish 100% gas will be back soon! We don't have any in our area...
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 3:19 pm quote
If I want to fuel my 1967 BSA, and not dissolve its fiberglass tank, I have to use AvGas or racing fuel. it's impossible to find a gas station in the Tucson area that offers an alternative to that ethanol crap.
Molto Verboso
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:04 pm quote
The only aviation gas available any longer is 100LL (100 octane, low lead), but it has a helluva lot of TEL (tetra ethel lead) in it in comparison to the old leaded automotive fuels. and you may have to aggressively clean your spark plugs to keep the engine running smooth.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:36 pm quote
VP has a good selection of fuel

http://www.vpracingfuels.com/page469663.html
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 5:58 pm quote
Racing fuel! I just want to double check here if I can use racing fuel for all my scooters: Piaggio MP3 and Honda scooters. Our local Delta Sonic has "GT CAM2 racing fuel", will that be Ok for all my scooters?
Moderatus Rana
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 6:02 pm quote
tomjasz wrote:
stickyfrog wrote:
Does anyone else find it kind of sad that we are still having to have conversations about ethanol that is being used in anything but drinks and some desserts?
Absolutely! Damn crap that it is! The farm land ought to be used for sustainable food production. Besides my scooter runs better sober!
+1 amazing isn't it?
The Host with the Toast
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:41 pm quote
its about clean air not MPG or HP losses. gas prices are up and summer blends are being phased in now.
Banned
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:50 pm quote
I don't care about clean air, I just want 100% gas! Best gas for my scooters! I can't use racing fuel for my Ruckuses, I just checked TotalRuckus forum...dropped that idea.
Molto Verboso
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 8:59 pm quote
Racing fuel is not generally used in engines that are expected to have a long life.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 9:49 pm quote
Richard H. Lemmon wrote:
Racing fuel is not generally used in engines that are expected to have a long life.
generally racing fuel can be used in multitude of different engines just need to match the correct octane rating to the compression of the engine. This is why they make 87 octane up to 115-120 octane stuff for racing purposes. long life in engines is not so much on the fuel side but regular maintenance is needed on them. IE oil changes , valve adjustments, so on and so forth.
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Sun Feb 19, 2012 11:29 pm quote
Fuzzy wrote:
If it affects main stream US vehicles that are supposedly designed for it what about imorts that supply the U.S. market as an afterthought?
Well, Europe already allows 5% EtOH without any pump labeling and up to 10% with labeling. Japan requires all cars to be capable of 10%. Brazil has been using 25% EtOH since about 2006. So there shouldn't be a concern in that regard.

The EPA allows 10% EtOH as a common fuel. Mandatory use of 10% EtOH is a state issue.

10% EtOH has been allowed in the US since about 1988. If "mainstream US vehicles" are still having "problems", then I would wonder about the vehicle manufacturers more than the fuel itself. Brazil is doing just fine.

(NOTE: I am neither a proponent nor opponent of E-10. I am a proponent of data over anecdotes)
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Mon Feb 20, 2012 12:39 am quote
Any intelligent discussion on ethanol in petrol needs to ask the question, are we ahead on EROEI (energy returned on energy invested). It's doubtful in US with the fossil fuel fertilizer inputs but I have read that it makes sense in Brazil with ethanol from organic sugar cane production. Just quickly searching found this article in ROI http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/energy-futurist/what-eroi-tells-us-about-roi/361
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Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:05 am quote
deano-

There are a variety of points that are involved. EROEI is a very legitimate concern. It also has no relationship to whether a vehicle can operate on E-10 or not. The aspect of E-10 discussions that turn me off are when the dialog shifts between different aspects of the subject as if they were one and the same, simply to support an opinion on EtOH in general.

A discussion of the real economic issues pertains to economics. A discussion on environmental issues is about the environment. How Joe's pickup truck never ran right until he began using 100% gasoline has nothing to do with either.

Thus, in my comment above, I simply noted that Jose's pickup truck (along with 10s of millions of other vehicles) seems to be working just fine in Brazil at 25% EtOH. Never once tried to tie that to economics nor air quality.

In the end, the policy decision should take everything into account. However, if E-10 is bad economic policy, that does not mean a car cannot run effectively with it. Tetra ethyl lead was beneficial for engines. When it was found to be bad for the environment, that did not change its benefit to engines. It was just no longer considered, in the total picture, a suitable way to get those benefits.
Addicted
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Mon Feb 20, 2012 1:16 am quote
Aviator47 wrote:
If "mainstream US vehicles" are still having "problems", then I would wonder about the vehicle manufacturers more than the fuel itself. Brazil is doing just fine.

(NOTE: I am neither a proponent nor opponent of E-10. I am a proponent of data over anecdotes)
In Brazil with a 1000cc VW I got 650 kms per tank on petrol and 450 kms per tank on alcohol. (alcohol was something small like 1 or 2% petrol to stop people drinking it)
Flex fuel cars in Brazil have a small petrol tank under the hood like a washer bottle, this is filled with petrol. I never did discover exactly what is was for, common knowledge suggested it was for starting.
If there is a problem it would be because FIAT and VW are the big players in Brazil so have all the flex fuel tech. Ford (Focus) is there so they have flex tech.

Specs in VW drivers manual quoted better HP with Alcohol.
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Mon Feb 20, 2012 3:42 am quote
Mike-

That's 30% lower km/tank for basically pure EtOH, which is consistent with the energy differences. No surprise there.

While your answer would be anecdotal, how did the car run on pure EtOH?
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Mon Feb 20, 2012 4:10 am quote
I haven't run the actual math but depend on the built in computer for MPG in the car....so with that disclaimer.. in my home State of Massachusetts, I can only buy 10% Ethanol gas.. I never thought about it.. That is until I bought my wife her dream car.. a land rover LR3... She just drives around town, less that 10,000 miles a year.. so mileage isn't a big deal no matter what she drives (we traded in her Suburban on the LR3).. On out first trip with it to Michigan (so far 3 times in the last 10 months- old parents out there with many urgent situations), I was shocked to see the avg, MPG at high 18 to low 19 for Hgwy miles.. crap.. that's awful.. As we moved into States where we can get gas without Ethanol. the avg. MPG creeps up.. and on the way back shows 23 MPG on an avg. basis for Hgwy mileage.. I find this very weird, but it happens every time .. I just figured the wind was prevailing from West to East and it must be a little down hill from Michigan to Massachusetts
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