- Mar 27, 2004
- Atlanta, GA
Hey all! Did not see really any posts regarding E85 usage in E85 compatible vehicles, just mainly those looking to find fuels with 0% ethanol. I bought my used '09 C300 August last year with ~62k miles on it and had relegated myself to having to bite the bullet for 93 octane moving forward. Noticed the yellow gas cap my first fill up but because I had never been exposed to E85 just figured it was a non-starter for me as I had never seen an E85 pump. My 3rd tank in my work brought me to Tennessee and low and behold I go to fill up and find an E85 station where it was running a good $1.30/gal less than premium so I figure I would give it a whirl, that was September last year and I have used E85 ~90% of the time since. Pros: - After the car adjusts to the fuel the performance feels better on E85 vs 93. Will warn you it may take a full tank of E85 for the car to adjust to the fuel or at least felt as so in my car. In my experience switching back and forth between fuels you will have a neutered car (at least with MB C300) until the car can adjust. - Better cold start exhaust smell. We all know that pungent cold start exhaust smell before the emissions equipment wakes up and is fully functional. That is gone with E85, I would equate the scent now to the smell of frying funnel cakes. The heavy sulfur smell after a bout of hard driving does not seem to be there, I typically don't drive behind myself so cannot comment if this has been reduced or eliminated on WOT runs. - Eliminated rear end soot buildup. Prior to E85 (well and after a few tanks of E85) my white car would have a coating of soot all over the rear end after just 1 tank after a car wash, this has all been eliminated and there is no notable soot even after multiple tanks of E85. Cons: - Fuel economy. 18/25 on Premium, 13/19 on E85 per window sticker. Premium I can get ~27MPG on a long road trip at ~75MPH, E85 I can hit ~20MPG in similar conditions. My city commute I usually see ~17MPG on Premium and ~13MPG on E85. Typically its a total wash between the two fuels but sometimes will err on the side of premium and sometimes on E85 depending on the price spread. Found on long highway road trips it is easier to just pump in the 91/93 for the extended range so that accounts for majority of my non-E85 usage. - Cold starting. Starting is noticeably harder in colder weather (low 30's - high 20's) on E85, I am sure it is blended down in climates colder than Atlanta. - Sustainable ?. Yeah even I am not even sure about this aspect of how 'good' E85 is so I don't even try to argue for or against it as I honestly don't have an opinion on whether it is better or worse than gasoline/diesel/whatever. The only thing I can talk about on this is that our process needs quite a bit of work if you compare to where Brazil sources their stock and their production process. Summary: 1) There is no financial benefit for me for using E85 as it really may end up in a few $/year difference if I use E85 vs 93 so for me this is more of a using what I consider a fuel that is cleaner to my car as well as supporting a farmer somewhere in Iowa. 2) Fuel economy sucks - expect to visit the pump quite a bit more often. If your car takes 87 it is not worth the fuel economy hit, if it requires premium it will sometimes be more cost effective to run E85 but can go either way depending on the spread. 3) E85 seems pretty popular due to limited stations. I typically have to line up with a bunch of GM's (Suburban and Impala seem most popular E85 cars) to get to the few pumps in metro ATL. Don't see many Ford or Chrysler flex cars at the pumps. 4) Funnel cake fryer exhaust. I just want to put out there I don't want this to end up in some political debate over fuel, I just wanted to share my ~9 month/10k mile E85 experience and the pros and cons of using it on a regular basis. There is quite a bit of mis-information out there on the +/- of using E85 in a flex car so wanted to share some real world experience. E85 will be my fuel of choice for my regular commute which is the majority of my driving, long road trips will be nothing but 91/93 for convenience as E85 stations are difficult to find in certain areas of the country. I will say if E85 were at every filling station even that would change. Any other E85 users out there?