E85:  Is it time to give it a thought?

Usually I am NOT for using E-85.  With the reduced mileage associated with the lower energy content, the cost tradeoff is generally not worth it.  Generally.

However, you have to recognize the current state of gas prices.  Ethanol has been running about 50 cents more expensive than CBOB.  That said, a lot of stations are still discounting E85 – as much as 50 cents per gallon.  Locally for me, a Kroger station I saw yesterday was selling RUNL for $1.68 and E85 for $1.18.  A 50-cent discount on $1.68 amounts to about a 30% discount from regular unleaded. Even considering a 20% drop in mileage, that’s a pretty good deal.  Throw on a Kroger fuel discount on top of it and you’re really doing well.   Considering that Chicago wholesale prices for straight ethanol are about $1.50/gal, $1.18/gal is actually BELOW COST.

Check prices near you to see if it’s time for you to consider using E85.  Also make sure your car is able to use E85 as it can wreak havoc on an unqualified fuel system.

Kroger E85

Updated: November 29, 2015 — 11:47 am

35 Comments

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  1. Tim don’t know where you live but here in W.Michigan(west of Lansing) Meijer and Spartan Stores ran Kroger off over 30yrs ago.
    But thanks for your post.

  2. Hard to imagine those spreads lasting. As you noted, it’s selling below cost. In this market, suburban Chicago, Speedway is keeping E-85 a dime under E-10. A Thornton I passed is selling it for 20 cents MORE.

  3. Make sure your car is e85 compatible or it can cause issues.

  4. My Chevy Pickup can use E-85, and I put it in, when I get the more than 20% spread, but don’t use it much, I am worried about maintenance issues down the road, and try to mix it with E-10, so it’s not all E-85…..

  5. Spike underway.
    $1.999 in OH, IN and KY. WOW.
    Going for the gold, apparently.

  6. South Bend, IN – $1.99 is underway with Speedway leading the charge here also. Almost didn’t notice as some were still at $1.99 from last weeks Tuesday $1.99 spike. $1.75 at Costco, most others $1.80s-$1.99 before the spike today.

  7. A spike is a terrible thing to waste…

  8. $1.89 is the number in West Michigan.

  9. All Greedways leading the charge to $1.99 in Madison and Delaware Counties. It must be that time of week again. Hey Chris can I borrow those “rose colored glasses” so I can say this spike is just market forces at work lol.

    Any predictions on what the Greedway execs will get us for Christmas Turbo (coming to a gas station near you on/around Dec 22nd)? I’m predicting a lump of coal and less money in my wallet lol

  10. I’ve seen it now for the last 4 price spikes in fort Wayne. Including the spike coming tomorrow; Ricker’s chain of BP is the new leader, spiking long before any other chain. It used to be Lassus Handy Dandy before Speedway, now it appears to be Ricker’s then Lassus followed by Speedway.

  11. This simply goes to show you that we have the fox guarding the chicken coop. There may be legitimate reasons for the hike – Cary NC is also at 1.99 – but given how well we have got to trust the industry I don’t think we can get past that.

    Ultimately one industry’s success can doom other industries. Look at airlines. Now that there’s 4 of them they can and do charge what they want, never mind the costs to other related industries. I can fly to see my student and it will take 5 hours one way and $300 or drive for $80 round trip at 40 gallons at 2.00$ and 9 hours.

  12. What happened? Yesterday the Kroger station I go to was 1.59, today it jumped to 1.99! Prices haven’t jumped that much at all the gas stations around me, but most have jumped up by at least 10 cents. Thankfully, I filled up on Monday and with my Kroger card only paid .899 a gallon. It cost me $27.20 for just over 30 gallons of gas. ^-^

    turbo46032 I’m guessing you drive more often to see your student than fly, right?

  13. This turned out to be a southern style spike as I like to call it (translation: small increase) …ours went up just 10 cents and has already dropped back 4 pennies, so really only a 6 cent hike. Does anyone know what spot has been doing lately?

  14. Ours went up 36 cents. Average increase for Cincy was 26 cents (1.73 to 1.99)………..Everyone was all too happy to comply with the collusion, er I mean, spike price.

  15. Now that she’s in grad school we visit less often. Plus getting ready to launch our younger one, maybe across the coast 🙂 but neither in a Speedway state so there!!

    I hope the younger chooses a flagship state school in Arizona that threw serious money our way. But can’t help but wonder if the airline pricing folks took the same courses zone pricing folks do. Round trip to Phoenix is $220, a third of what is to our other child, and three times the distance.

    As long as shenanigans like those continue we aren’t going to get ahead, fly or drive.

  16. Back to the topic of this thread:

    *****

    Feds Push More Ethanol Into Gasoline, But Can Your Car Take It?

    http://www.yahoo.com/autos/feds-push-more-ethanol-into-gasoline-but-will-164706945.html

    “In order to meet the rising mandates for selling more ethanol, at some point oil companies will have to mix more than 10 percent ethanol into everyday fuels—a milestone known as “the blend wall.”

    The EPA estimated that its 2016 mandate would require ethanol in 10.2 percent of all fuels sold—a tiptoe right up to the blend wall, assuming gasoline demand stays at its current level.

    Most every vehicle made before 2001 can’t use more than 10 percent ethanol fuel without risking engine or fuel system damage (ethanol can corrode rubber in fuel lines.) While the EPA has said vehicles made after 2001 should be OK, automakers have disagreed, warning that unless they say so, E15 or other blends would harm their models and possibly void warranties.”

    *****

    It may be time to contact your federal legislators and ask them to get rid of the ethanol mandates completely. Enough of this socialist central planning non-sense.

  17. 100 agreed. No ethanol in my gas.
    Unfortunately, ADM, Monsanto, etc, have pockets too deep to overcome, and have spent too much time bribing, err, lobbying our elected/selected officials. Such is the sad state of our government, long ago sold to the highest bidder.

  18. Yep, keep that stuff out of my 1994 Z28!

  19. Good question, Victoria. According to the stats on this site Michigan’s pre-spike Spike Line was $1.57. While I saw some gas going for that price, the bulk was priced at least 25-30 cents over it. Statewide average was in the $1.80’s. Prices are coming back down now.
    One thing I’ve noticed around SE MI is that as soon as a hint of a spike comes along that all I have to do is go to GasBuddy, scroll to the bottom for the highest prices and there’s Meijer. Fortunately, the hesitance by nearby Circle K and Kroger to jump up has brought the Meijer price from $1.89 down to $1.78 in one day.
    Interestingly, the close by Circle K actually went from $1.74 down to $1.69 as a reaction to the others spiking.

  20. Socialist central planning Diether? Try legislators in the corn belt (especially iowa and Indiana- not exactly socialist states, more like very conservative values) looking out for their own and pushing this crap. It has nothing to do with an environmental agenda at this point, but more of the same that we come to expect out of government, giving tax breaks to corporations/donors that put money in their pockets. And this comes more from the “R” side than the “D” side at this point… Putting as many miles as I can right now on my 2001 Honda before they figure out a way to ruin it…

  21. Glad I wasn’t the only one who caught that:
    When the subsidies are benefiting corporations, it’s more like fascism than socialism.

  22. Probably should add a secondary comment to clarify the first that I made. I actually see the benefit of ethanol in this country as helping us to remain self sufficient energy wise. The corn byproducts can be used as cattle feed so the issue claiming that there is “competition” between food and fuel are overstated. The biggest complainers are in the food industry since they have to pay a little more but on the consumer end it’s negligible, probably adding pennies. My bigger beef comes in the mandatory addition requirement beyond 10%. I would love to someday own a car that could burn 15-20% or higher (E85) without an issue, but as of now for many that is not the case, and as stated, there is no guarantee it will not harm my car, and unless there is a requirement to push the automakers on making compliant vehicles, I don’t see the point.

  23. I have no issue with choice, HOWEVER, let ethanol exist on a level playing field to gasoline, free of subsidies.
    Remove ALL subsidies for both industries and let them survive on their own.

  24. Some places are selling no ethanol gas for a premium over E10. Ethanol’s big issue is that it raises food prices which costs more to consumers at the end.

  25. Z best, you do know the octane level of E85 is around 105? so no knock, even when you tune the engine for more HP. AND it has better ability to cool than “regular” fuel.

    Tuners love this stuff, because it acts like a racing fuel.

    That said, you would have to do significant mods to the soft parts and seals to run it in a pre-2000 engine, but as a high performance fuel, it’s hard to beat.

  26. Doesn’t ethanol also serve as a replacement for MTBE?

  27. Just read an article that oil is the cheapest in 7+ years, at $36.64 per barrel.

  28. Speedway has spiked a few stations on the West Side of Indianapolis to $2.19! Any information on the cause?

  29. I’d be interested to get Turbo’s take on $38 dollar crude and $2.19 gas. Did a gas tanker have a spill on 38th Street swerving to miss a squirrel as that seems to be the only place that spiked?

  30. Would someone please explain how ethanol raises the price of food. Also would someone please provide a list of ethanol subsidizes.

  31. It does raise the price of food because it raises the price of corn by making the market conditions more profitable for the farmer growing corn. However, since most people don’t eat “field corn” and the corn mostly goes into processed food, it probably only raises it a couple of pennies for the end consumer. However, those pennies add up for the manufacturers of everything from corn syrup to corn flakes so they’re the ones probably lobbying hardest against it. It also slightly may raise prices for meat due to feed costs, but the funny thing is, after corn is processed for ethanol, it can still be used as a high protein cattle feed. So the question is always between that, and when the anti-ethanol people use the “it takes more energy to make ethanol than extract gasoline” argument by including sunlight in the energy equation, and how much is lobbying being done by “big food” to keep their costs down.

  32. From a USNews article from 2014:
    One of the biggest subsidies is the $6 billion-per-year Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit .
    Also:
    $200 million in new advanced energy manufacturing tax credits for the “construction of infrastructure that contributes to networks of refueling stations that serve alternative fuels,” or in other words, more subsidies for corn ethanol blender pumps and other alternative fuel infrastructure projects. Such is the power of the corn ethanol lobby.

    http://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/2014/03/11/obamas-2015-budget-backs-costly-corn-ethanol-subsidies

  33. http://www.taxpayer.net/images/uploads/downloads/Political_Footprint_of_the_Corn_Ethanol_Lobby_Final.pdf

    Whenever the regulations/requirements are about to expire, the corn lobby rattles the corn belt Congressmen to get them renewed.

  34. I think a micro spike could be either a retailer pushing or testing the limits, or the mother ship doing same to see how people would react. The area has a lot of gasoline stations and access to more. With prices in the mid 1.60’s elsewhere I wonder why.

    What bothers me is that once the crude pricing honeymoon is over, refiners – who have the upper hand in pricing now – will want to maintain their income and this could force even higher retail prices.

  35. I would be concerned about the long time effects as well. I do not believe gas stations are too concerned about your engine.

    I would like to know what is in E85 gas? That price difference scares me.

    They have to be making it cheaper to sell it cheaper.

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