WASHINGTON – The Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) today released an easy-to-use online calculator to help consumers understand how much money they can save by choosing ethanol blends like E15 and E85. With 51 million Americans expected to travel 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving, the new tool comes just in time to help consumers choose the best fuels for their family’s pocketbook.
Users of the calculator follow five easy steps to determine how much money they’ll save by using E15 or E85 in lieu of E10. Here’s how it works:
• In Step 1, the user enters retail prices for E10, E15 and E85. Prices from thousands of stations nationwide, along with state and national averages, are available at www.E85prices.com. For example, today’s national average prices are $2.52 per gallon for E10, $2.43 for E15, and $1.81 for E85.
• In Step 2, the user enters the total miles driven for a specific trip, or for a time period like a month or year. As an example, let’s assume the Smith family is driving from Omaha to Denver and back for the Thanksgiving holiday (1,080 miles roundtrip).
• In Step 3, the user enters the average fuel economy of the vehicle when using E10. Expected fuel economy on E15 and E85 is automatically calculated based on energy density. For our example, we’ll assume the Smith family’s flex fuel vehicle gets the national average fuel economy of 24.8 miles per gallon (mpg), meaning it would get approximately 24.4 mpg on E15 and 19.2 mpg on E85.
• Step 4 shows that the Smith family would spend almost $110 on fuel if they use E10 for the trip. If they use E85 instead, they would spend less than $102 on fuel. And using E15 instead of E10 would mean the Smiths spend less than $108 on fuel.
• Step 5 simply shows the savings that result from using E15 or E85 instead of E10.
While the savings for this hypothetical Thanksgiving road trip may seem modest, the calculator allows users to calculate annual savings as well. The average U.S. family drove 25,600 miles last year, meaning they could save $190 or $50 on their annual fuel bill by using E85 or E15, respectively, instead of E10 (based on current national average prices). In other words, the cost per mile driven would be 10.2 cents on E10, 9.9 cents on E15, and 9.4 cents per mile on E85.
While the calculator compares E15 and E85 savings to an E10 baseline, it should be noted that E10–which is ubiquitous across the country today–is itself providing significant savings to the consumer. According to E85prices.com, today’s average price of gasoline without ethanol (E0) is $2.84 per gallon, 13% higher than the average price for E10.
“Ethanol has provided consumers a great deal to be grateful for this Thanksgiving,” said RFA President and CEO Bob Dinneen. “The RFA has been saying for years that ethanol helps consumers save money at the pump and this calculator quantifies exactly how much. Ethanol is the most affordable, cleanest and highest octane fuel in the world and is delivering the lowest cost per mile driven. Because of ethanol, consumers will have a little extra cash left in their pockets after filling up for their Thanksgiving travels.”