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#4488634 - 08/14/17 06:49 PM Cost of ethanol blends?
otis24 Offline


Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 1656
Loc: South Dakota
I was once told that E85 had to be at least $1.00 cheaper per gallon than regular gasoline in order to be cost effective due to the decreased MPG. Are there any cost differential figures for ethanol blends? E30? E15? E50? The E30 seemed to work out about even as far as I could tell.
_________________________
1991 Chevrolet K1500 (4.3, 4x4, 86k miles)

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan
(3.6 V6) 46500 miles

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#4488668 - 08/14/17 07:32 PM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
Wolf359 Offline


Registered: 04/27/12
Posts: 4742
Loc: MA
Depends on your location. Ethanol costs more to transport so if you're in the corn belt the break even price might be lower than if you're further away. The simple way to calculate it is by BTU. E10 is about 120,000, E0 is about 125,000 and E100 is 77,000. Do the math to get the percentage BTU content. BTU content also varies a little between summer/winter gas a very minor amount between regular/super.

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#4488912 - 08/15/17 02:55 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
The_Nuke Offline


Registered: 07/21/13
Posts: 288
Loc: D/FW Metroplex
Originally Posted By: otis24
I was once told that E85 had to be at least $1.00 cheaper per gallon than regular gasoline in order to be cost effective due to the decreased MPG. Are there any cost differential figures for ethanol blends? E30? E15? E50? The E30 seemed to work out about even as far as I could tell.


I noticed the Pentastar-powered vehicle in your signature, and while you didn't say if you were planning on running the >10% ethanol blends through it specifically, I did want to interject with an FYI/BTW just in case: It is my belief that giving the 3.6L a steady diet of e85 increases your chances of encountering the dreaded cylinder head problem those engines are having.

How much of an increased chance? That depends upon how much WOT driving you're doing. Less WOT is better than a lot of WOT in this case, but that's a relative scale, so it's hard to quantify the increased odds' maximum from minimum.

Just keep your foot out of it if you're running e85, that's the best approach I would say.


NOTE: this is all based purely upon anecdotal evidence. But given Dodge's refusal to provide anything substantive on the problem's causes (or it's prevention), anecdotal evidence is about all we have to go on it would seem. confused
_________________________
2012 Dodge Charger
- R/T with pursuit pkg.
- 5.7L + A5 + 2.65
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#4488939 - 08/15/17 05:47 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39846
Loc: 'Stralia
First pass approximation can be based on energy per litre.

The ratios of prices are as follows.



If you've got an engine that can make the most of the increased Octane, you will do better than these figures, but honestly, the pump figures shouldn't be more than the above

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#4488975 - 08/15/17 07:00 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3966
Loc: New England
Nice table, thanks for sharing, Shannow.
"Details" like this are important, we asked our builder about propane vs. heating oil when we built our house and he told us they were "about the same". We were stupid as well as busy with other house issues/crises, so we took him at his word. When we got our first propane bill when it got cold and hit the ceiling, we looked it up and found that there is roughly 50% more heating energy in a gallon of oil than in a gallon of propane. At that time, they were about the same cost per gallon.
There are some unpleasant issues about dealing with oil and adding central air later probably would have been an expensive proposition if we had gone with a boiler, but we should have at least known what we were getting into. Moving from near Chicago with cheap piped natural gas to a more rural area where we needed to have our own tank massively increased our heating bill...


Edited by Virtus_Probi (08/15/17 07:03 AM)
_________________________
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#4489036 - 08/15/17 08:17 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: The_Nuke]
otis24 Offline


Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 1656
Loc: South Dakota
Originally Posted By: The_Nuke
Originally Posted By: otis24
I was once told that E85 had to be at least $1.00 cheaper per gallon than regular gasoline in order to be cost effective due to the decreased MPG. Are there any cost differential figures for ethanol blends? E30? E15? E50? The E30 seemed to work out about even as far as I could tell.


I noticed the Pentastar-powered vehicle in your signature, and while you didn't say if you were planning on running the >10% ethanol blends through it specifically, I did want to interject with an FYI/BTW just in case: It is my belief that giving the 3.6L a steady diet of e85 increases your chances of encountering the dreaded cylinder head problem those engines are having.

How much of an increased chance? That depends upon how much WOT driving you're doing. Less WOT is better than a lot of WOT in this case, but that's a relative scale, so it's hard to quantify the increased odds' maximum from minimum.

Just keep your foot out of it if you're running e85, that's the best approach I would say.


NOTE: this is all based purely upon anecdotal evidence. But given Dodge's refusal to provide anything substantive on the problem's causes (or it's prevention), anecdotal evidence is about all we have to go on it would seem. confused


I ran the E85 once out of curiousity. Not worth the it for the loss of MPG vs. cost. Blends higher than E10 (E15-E30) might be cost effective. When I ran E30, my vehicle seemed to lose about 3 MPG, but the cost was about 32 cents less per gallon. If I were to consistently run an ethanol blend, it would probably be nothing higher than E30. I have not yet found or tried a 50/50 blend yet though.
_________________________
1991 Chevrolet K1500 (4.3, 4x4, 86k miles)

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan
(3.6 V6) 46500 miles

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#4489040 - 08/15/17 08:23 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
otis24 Offline


Registered: 10/30/05
Posts: 1656
Loc: South Dakota
http://www.motortrend.com/news/chrysler-extends-pentastar-v-6-warranties/

This appears to be an issue that was resolved in 2012. Mine is a 2016. Have there been reports of cylinder head problems in vehicles produced in the past couple of years?
_________________________
1991 Chevrolet K1500 (4.3, 4x4, 86k miles)

2016 Dodge Grand Caravan
(3.6 V6) 46500 miles

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#4489108 - 08/15/17 09:48 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
The_Nuke Offline


Registered: 07/21/13
Posts: 288
Loc: D/FW Metroplex
Originally Posted By: otis24
http://www.motortrend.com/news/chrysler-extends-pentastar-v-6-warranties/

This appears to be an issue that was resolved in 2012. Mine is a 2016. Have there been reports of cylinder head problems in vehicles produced in the past couple of years?


from the linked article: "A design modification in late 2012 has reportedly fixed the issue in newer vehicles."

Yeah, that's the official stance I'm sure, but the reality of it is way more nuanced than that (read: no Pentastar engine is immune, even the new ones).

The lack of information from Dodge about what's going on is astonishingly scarce. They pretty much only admit to it happening when it happens to you, at which point they fall all over themselves trying to make good on the situation, and get you back on the road as soon as possible. They still won't provide you with any information worth a darn about what happened or how to avoid it, but you get a new cylinder head installed free of charge, so I'm sure they're hoping you'll be thrilled with that and just move on.

There are some who believe they have not resolved it yet because they don't actually know what's causing it. All they know is some heads are going bad (bad valve guide due to casting issue), and none seem to be immune. The fact that they've gone through a couple of iterations of heads in an attempt to resolve this issue, yet it remains a thorn in their side, leads me to agree with those who believe they don't actually have a known cause identified. But that's neither here nor there.

It's not common by any means, but it's still there, and if you've got a Pentastar, there's a chance you could have it happen to you. Personally, I wouldn't worry about it too much, unless you operate the vehicle outside of the normal range the average driver would subject it to, e.g. running e85 and doing a lot of WOT driving like I mentioned previously.

If you suddenly get a CEL and have a misfire code set behind it (I forget the specific DTC), then you just won the cylinder head lottery. WOOHOO!! To claim your prize, all you have to do is take it to your nearest Dodge dealership and let them diagnose the CEL. At first they'll try something useless as mandated by the TSB, and after it doesn't work (it won't, it never does), then they will make the decision it needs a new cylinder head. All in all, you can expect a week or so of downtime on the vehicle, but it's all done under the car's powertrain warranty, so that's good.

Again, I would NOT let this keep you up at night, as you're likely never going to have to worry about it. But it has not been officially resolved as far as I know, so keep that in mind when you hear the newer versions of the engine & heads are supposedly safe.

Nuke

P.S. There are a couple of threads I know of for sure (because I participated in them) on BITOG that have been created in the last 12 months (approximately) where this issue is discussed. You might do a search for those and do a little light reading if you want more info. I'm sure there are more threads talking about this on this forum, and I know for a fact there are some in the Jeep-specific forums as well as the LX-specific forums like ChallengerTalk DOT com. So some creative searching around on the Dodge/Chrysler related websites will definitely yield more details, but all of them will be filled with speculation, guesses, and assertions unfortunately, so keep that in mind as well. I wish there were was something more concrete available out there on this issue, but there just isn't. That's how Dodge has chosen to play this particular hand up to this point, so we've just got to deal with it.
_________________________
2012 Dodge Charger
- R/T with pursuit pkg.
- 5.7L + A5 + 2.65
"..it's got cop tires, cop shocks, cop suspension..."

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#4489450 - 08/15/17 04:05 PM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: Virtus_Probi]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39846
Loc: 'Stralia
Originally Posted By: Virtus_Probi
Nice table, thanks for sharing, Shannow.
"Details" like this are important, we asked our builder about propane vs. heating oil when we built our house and he told us they were "about the same". We were stupid as well as busy with other house issues/crises, so we took him at his word. When we got our first propane bill when it got cold and hit the ceiling, we looked it up and found that there is roughly 50% more heating energy in a gallon of oil than in a gallon of propane. At that time, they were about the same cost per gallon.


Natural gas here is more expensive than either diesel or unleaded, let alone heating oil which doesn't have transport taxes on it.

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#4502374 - 08/30/17 02:46 PM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
Kestas Offline



Registered: 06/04/02
Posts: 12324
Loc: The Motor City
Per gallon, E85 has roughly 40% less energy than E10.

But do as otis24 did and see how it washes through your vehicle. Compare the $ per mile cost of operation for each blend. For most people E10 is the most economical choice.

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#4502946 - 08/31/17 02:28 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39846
Loc: 'Stralia
When Petrol was around Aus $1/L, E10 unleaded saved 4c/l, and was a wash.

Now it's more expensive, and E10 is only 3c/l off...the ethanol companies are pushing for "renewables mandates.

It's not worth it, but getting harder to find unleaded without ethanol...but we are basically diesel now.

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#4504732 - 09/01/17 06:26 PM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
SilverFusion2010 Offline


Registered: 06/29/11
Posts: 1657
Loc: Crawfordville FL
My one close e85 station now sells e0 from that pump.

I want to play with e85 but the closest station is about 100mi. I'd have to fill up several gas cans to make it worth the trip
_________________________
2010 Ford Fusion SE 3.0L V6, 178k miles M1 HM 10w-30

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#4556798 - 10/28/17 12:09 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
TiredTrucker Offline


Registered: 01/04/08
Posts: 3226
Loc: Central Iowa
It really has a lot to do with how well the OEM of a particular vehicle did their ECM code to get the most out of higher ethanol concentrations. I have found that roughly 70 cent price spread is the break even point for my vehicle. Back when gas was hitting the $4 mark, it was a no brainer to used E85. Could get it for $1 to $1.50 less than even E10. Hasn't been a sufficient enough price spread for quite a while to make it worth it to me. Just E15 and E20 are worth it.

I wish the OEM's would quit goofing off and kick out some of the E85 specific engines that have been developed. Equivalent power and efficiency of diesel out of those engines. Cummins has a 2.8L inline 4 that has been ready to drop in a vehicle for a while now. Equivalent power of a 5.7 Hemi and better mpg.
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Freedom is not about having the choice to do what you want, but the choice to do what you ought.

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#4556830 - 10/28/17 02:58 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: TiredTrucker]
Shannow Offline


Registered: 12/12/02
Posts: 39846
Loc: 'Stralia
Originally Posted By: TiredTrucker
I Equivalent power and efficiency of diesel out of those engines.


Still can't get the mileage of the diesel...

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#4557143 - 10/28/17 11:55 AM Re: Cost of ethanol blends? [Re: otis24]
AP9 Offline


Registered: 07/10/13
Posts: 278
Loc: Chicago suburbs
But looking at the big picture, to society as a whole is it really more economical when we consider the uneven tax levies that are subsidizing ethanol?
_________________________
2000 Ford Explorer XLT 4WD (4.0L OHV): VML 20W50+PP 10W30+T5 10W30+Peak 5W30/10W40, burning oil faster than a 2-cycle
1996 Chevrolet Impala SS: M1HM 5W30

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