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Gasoline vs. Alcohol


  Ethanol Fuel (must read)

When you pull up to a gas pump to buy gasoline, are you aware that what comes out of the pump can vary with the seasons of the year? Is not Gasoline gas? The US government formulates the gas for seasonal changes; summer and winter.

One US gallon of gasoline contains 114,000 BTU of energy; depending on the time of year, and depending on what is in the gasoline. It is getting harder to find gasoline's that does not contain 5 to 10% of Ethanol. Ethanol is ethyl alcohol; the kind of alcohol in beverages; beer, whiskey, bourbon, vodka, cocktails, etc.. It takes one and a half US gallons of ethanol to equal the energy in one US gallon of gasoline; the reason... because ethanol only has 76,100 BTU's of energy per gallon. Less energy means less miles per gallon. In 2007 George W. Bush made it possible for gas stations to sell Gasohol (E10) without labeling the pumps; in other words, you may not know alcohol is in the gas. Ever wonder where your gas mileage went?

Gasoline's blended with Ethanol will lower MPG in most engines. The EPA says Fuel efficiency can decrease by 1.5 to 3% but reports of 40 % are not unheard of. In winter, you get less mileage out of a tank of gas; we waste a lot of gas warming up our vehicles, but what about trips? Winter gasoline contains less BTUs per gallon, 112, 500; if you are using 100% gasoline (non-ethanol). A lot of States no longer sell 100% gasoline it at the pumps. They choose Ethanol in the gasoline as a way to meet the Clean Air Act emissions standard. If you have a vehicle that was made before 1990, it is most likely not compatible with alcohol in fuels. Alcohol deteriorates the gaskets and seals that touch the fuel will fail. Alcohol affects the engines timing;  makes the engine work harder. Many engine manufacturers prohibit the use of alcohol in the fuel; it is not just cars and trucks; industrial engines, generators, lawnmowers, weed eaters; all gasoline powered engines are affected.

It is the BTUs that allows us to get the best fuel economy. Adding alcohol, of any kind, to gasoline, dilutes the fuel and lowers the heat energy. The pumps provide us a choice of Octane's. The higher the octane rating, the less chance there is of pre-ignition. Octane has nothing to do with the BTU energy content of the gasoline, so use what your engine manufacturer recommends.

Non-ethanol (100%) gasoline is available, but it is getting hard to find. Marinas and aviation fueling stations still carry it because boat and airplane engines require it. Alcohol absorbs water, and water can cause damage.


Gasoline Gallon Equivalent
calculated based on 114,000 BTU's of energy per gallon


Fuel GGE BTU/unit
Gasoline (base) 1 US gallon 114,000 BTU/gal
Gasoline (conventional, summer) 0.996 US gallon 114,500 BTU/gal
Gasoline (conventional, winter) 1.013 US gallons 112,500 BTU/gal
Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, ETBE) 1.019 US gallons 111,811 BTU/gal
Gasoline (reformulated gasoline, MTBE) 1.020 US gallons 111,745 BTU/gal
Gasoline (10% MBTE) 1.02 US gallons 112,000 BTU/gal
Gasoline (regular unleaded) 1 US gallon 114,100 BTU/gal
Diesel #2 0.88 US gallon 129,500 BTU/gal
Biodiesel (B100) 0.96 US gallon 118,300 BTU/gal
Biodiesel (B20) 0.90 US gallon 127,250 BTU/gal
Liquid natural gas (LNG) 1.52 US gallons 75,000 BTU/gal
Compressed natural gas (CNG) 126.67 cu ft 900 BTU/cu ft
Hydrogen by weight 0.997 kg 119.9 MJ/kg
Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) 1.35 US gallons 84,300 BTU/gal
Methanol fuel (M100) 2.01 US gallons 56,800 BTU/gal
Ethanol fuel (E100) 1.5 US gallons 76,100 BTU/gal
Ethanol (E85) 1.39 US gallons 81,800 BTU/gal
Ethanol (E10) 1.019 US gallons 111,836 BTU/gal
Jet fuel (naphtha) 0.97 US gallons 118,700 BTU/gal
Jet fuel (kerosene) 0.90 US gallons 128,100 BTU/gal
Electricity 33.40 kilowatt-hours 3,413 BTU/(kW-h)


States that "do not" require ethanol/alcohol pump labeling:
DC, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio

The following States may require labeling; dependent on percent of ethanol in the fuel:
Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia.

  States that require a label on the pump

  Manufacturer's Recommendations about using alcohol in gas (boats, cars, small engines).

  Precautions and Tips

  Politics and Laws of Ethanol Renewable Fuels



Gasoline Ingredient concentrations:

Diesel Ingredient concentrations:

Kerosene Ingredient concentrations:

 Other Fuels and their ingredients  
 2005 Energy Policy Act  
  2007 Energy Independence and Security Act  
  1992 Energy Policy Act  
  Ethanol Fuel (must read)  


Page Last Edited - 01/30/2016

    Copyright 2003   All rights reserved.   Revised: 01/29/16.                                             Web Author, daddyo44907
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