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Consumer alert: What's the deal with ethanol-free gas?

Over 100 stations in Colorado sell "pure" gas
Posted: 8:42 AM, May 06, 2019
Updated: 2019-05-06 14:44:20Z
Ethanol-free gasoline

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DENVER — Driving around the Denver metro area, you may have noticed a handful of stations that sell "ethanol-free" gas.

It's pure gasoline, not mixed with the corn-based ethanol that most gas pumps around the country dispense.

"Ethanol-free gasoline is more of a boutique fuel," said Patrick DeHaan, an analyst with GasBuddy.com.

While not as popular as the ethanol blends, pure gas may be preferable for older car engines, as well as boats, lawn mowers or other tools.

Ethanol-free gas also gets better fuel economy.

"Generally, the more ethanol in gasoline the lower your fuel efficiency will be," said DeHaan. "Go up to E85, for example, there's generally 20 percent less energy in E85 than 100% gasoline, so you generally get 20% lower fuel efficiency,"

However, most drivers use the E10 or E15 blends, with 10-15% ethanol. That ethanol content only reduces gas mileage by around 5%. Considering that the cost of ethanol-free gas can be anywhere from 30 cents to more than a dollar more expensive per gallon, the ethanol blend will generally cost you less per mile.

DeHaan added that gas stations receive credits from the government to sell ethanol, which further reduces the cost. Ethanol produces less harmful emissions, and is widely considered to be better for the environment.

So, if you can't reduce your gas prices by changing fuels, what can you do? Experts recommend driving slower, rolling down windows instead of using the air conditioner, making sure your tire pressure is adequate, and keeping your vehicle as light as possible.