Gas Mileage Using Ethanol Vs. Regular Gasoline

by Heather Bliss

Ethanol is an alternative fuel included in some percentage in most gasoline you buy at the pump. Some vehicles can run on both gasoline and ethanol.


Ethanol is ethyl alcohol, which is made from plant matter such as grain, corn, or plant and gardening waste. The ethanol is produced by fermenting the plant matter. Gasoline is a fossil fuel refined from petroleum, which is used to power most motor vehicles.


According to a 2008 study by the University of Minnesota, ethanol only produces 25 percent more energy than the fossil fuels it takes to process biofuel into ethanol.

Fun Fact

Minnesota is the ethanol capital of the United States. The state of Minnesota has more ethanol stations than any other state (see Reference 3). Minnesota has many farmers who supply biofuels that are turned into ethanol.

Miles per Gallon

According to "Ethanol Explained," when using ethanol to fuel an ethanol-ready vehicle in place of gasoline, fuel economy drops 20 to 30 percent.


The prices of gas and ethanol vary. Ethanol is usually slightly cheaper per gallon than gasoline, but gasoline gets up to 30 percent more mileage per gallon, so ethanol ends up costing more per mile than gasoline.


Some consumers are willing to pay more per mile for ethanol because it is home-grown. A majority of the fossil fuels used in the United States come from overseas. Ethanol is fermented from biofuels grown in the United States. Supporting ethanol means supporting local farmers rather than foreign oil interests.

About the Author

Heather Bliss has been writing professionally since 1998, specializing in technology, computer repair, gardening, music and politics. Bliss holds an Associate of Arts in journalism from Moorpark College. She also has a Bachelor of Arts from California State University, San Marcos, completed with a focus on music and performing arts technology.

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