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The fuel economy of a vehicle is dependent on many things, one of which is the fuel used in the vehicle. Two National Laboratories recently studied the effects that ethanol blends have on the fuel economy of light vehicles. The results are not surprising, since a gallon of ethanol does not have as much energy as a gallon of gasoline. A blend of gasoline with 10% ethanol (E10) will result in a 3.7% decline in fuel economy over gasoline without ethanol (E0), while a blend of gasoline with 20% ethanol (E20) results in a 7.7% decline in fuel economy over E0.

Fuel Economy Decline for Various Ethanol Blends
Graph showing the fuel economy decline over E0 for various ethanol blends including E10, E15, and E20. For more detailed information, see the table below.

Supporting Information

Decline in Fuel Economy due to Ethanol Blends
Fuel Share of Ethanol in Gasoline Fuel Economy Loss
E0 0% ethanol 0.0%
E10 10% ethanol 3.7% from E0
E15 15% ethanol 5.3% from E0
E20 20% ethanol 7.7% from E0

Source: Oak Ridge National Laboratory and National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Effects of Intermediate Ethanol Blends on Legacy Vehicles and Small Non-Road Engines, Report 1 – Updated, February 2009, Table 3.1.

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