What Is E85 Gas Vs 87

Are you curious about the difference between E85 gas and 87 gasoline? Do you want to make an informed decision at the pump, but feel overwhelmed by technical jargon and conflicting information? Look no further, because in this article we will break down the basics of both fuels and help you understand which one is right for your vehicle.

First, let’s clarify what E85 gas is. E85 stands for 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from corn, sugarcane, or other plant material. It is often used as a gasoline additive to increase octane levels and reduce emissions.

E85 can only be used in flex-fuel vehicles, which are specially designed to run on a variety of fuel blends. On the other hand, 87 gasoline, also known as regular unleaded gasoline, is the most common fuel type used in non-flex-fuel vehicles. It contains up to 10% ethanol but is primarily made up of petroleum-based gasoline.

Understanding the Basics of E85

If you’re new to the world of alternative fuels, you might be wondering what E85 gas is and how it differs from regular 87 gasoline.

E85 is a blend of ethanol and gasoline, with a fuel composition of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Ethanol is made from renewable resources such as corn, sugarcane, and other crops, while gasoline is a fossil fuel extracted from the ground.

The production process for E85 involves blending ethanol and gasoline in specific proportions, which can vary depending on the region and season.

The fuel composition of E85 is what sets it apart from regular 87 gasoline. While gasoline has a composition of 100% petroleum, E85 has a higher percentage of ethanol.

This makes E85 a greener alternative to regular gasoline, as ethanol is a renewable resource and produces fewer greenhouse gases when burned.

However, E85 may not be suitable for all vehicles, as some engines are not designed to handle the higher ethanol content.

It’s important to check your vehicle’s owner manual or consult with a professional before using E85.

Understanding the Basics of 87 Gasoline

Let’s take a closer look at what 87 gasoline is and how it differs from other fuel options.

87 gasoline, also known as regular unleaded gasoline, is a widely used fuel type for automobiles. This fuel has an octane rating of 87, which means it has a lower resistance to knocking compared to higher octane fuels. Knocking occurs when fuel ignites before it is supposed to in the engine, causing damage to the engine.

Despite its lower octane rating, 87 gasoline is still a popular choice for many drivers because it’s affordable and widely available. Many modern engines are designed to operate efficiently with 87 gasoline.

However, it’s important to note that not all gasoline is the same. Different brands and types of gasoline can have varying amounts of fuel additives that can affect engine performance and fuel efficiency. It’s important to choose a reputable brand and type of gasoline that’s recommended for your vehicle to ensure optimal performance and longevity.

Differences Between E85 and 87 Gasoline

When it comes to comparing E85 and 87 gasoline, there are three key factors to consider: environmental impact, performance and efficiency, and cost. E85 is known for being a more environmentally friendly fuel option, as it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than traditional gasoline.

However, it may also result in decreased fuel efficiency and performance, as it contains less energy per gallon than gasoline. Finally, while E85 may be cheaper per gallon, it can also be less cost-effective overall due to its lower fuel efficiency.

Environmental Impact

You may be surprised to learn that using E85 gas instead of regular 87 can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. This is because E85 gas contains a higher percentage of ethanol, which is a renewable fuel source that emits less greenhouse gases than traditional gasoline.

In fact, studies have shown that using E85 instead of 87 can reduce carbon emissions by up to 30%.

Aside from the environmental benefits, using E85 gas can also help reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Since ethanol can be produced domestically from a variety of sources, including corn and sugarcane, it can help increase energy independence and reduce the need for oil imports.

However, it’s worth noting that not all vehicles are compatible with E85 gas, so it’s important to check your owner’s manual or consult with a professional before making the switch.

Performance and Efficiency

Using E85 fuel can significantly improve your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency. This is because E85 has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline (87) which allows for a higher compression ratio in the engine, resulting in increased horsepower and torque.

Additionally, E85 burns cleaner than gasoline, reducing harmful emissions and contributing to a cleaner environment. In terms of fuel economy, E85 may not be as efficient as gasoline due to its lower energy content.

However, when comparing fuel economy on a cost per mile basis, E85 can be more cost-effective depending on the price difference between E85 and gasoline. It’s important to note that not all vehicles are designed to run on E85, so it’s important to check your owner’s manual and consult with a mechanic before making the switch.

Overall, if your vehicle is compatible with E85, using this fuel can provide noticeable improvements in performance and potentially save you money on fuel costs.


Fuel costs can vary depending on location and availability of E85, but it may be a more cost-effective option for drivers with compatible vehicles. E85 typically costs less per gallon than regular gasoline, but its fuel economy is lower, meaning you may have to fill up more often.

However, the cost comparison between E85 and regular gasoline may not always be straightforward. E85 is not available at all gas stations, and if it is available, it may be in limited quantities, making it harder to find when you need to refuel.

If you do find E85 at a gas station, you may need to check if your vehicle is compatible with it. While E85 is cheaper, if you end up using it in a non-compatible vehicle, it may cause damage and lead to higher repair costs. Additionally, the lower fuel economy of E85 may actually make it more expensive than regular gasoline in the long run, especially if you frequently drive long distances.

Therefore, before opting for E85, make sure to do a cost comparison and check for availability issues in your area.

Which One is Right for Your Vehicle?

When it comes to choosing between E85 and 87 gasoline, there are several key factors to consider. First and foremost, it’s important to check your owner’s manual or consult with a mechanic before making the switch to E85 as not all vehicles are compatible with this fuel.

In addition to vehicle compatibility, driving conditions can also play a role in determining which fuel is right for you. While E85 may provide better performance in certain situations, it can also result in reduced fuel efficiency.

Finally, personal preferences such as environmental concerns or a desire to support domestic ethanol production may also factor into your decision.

Vehicle Compatibility

If you’re driving a newer vehicle, chances are you can take advantage of the benefits of E85 gas. E85, which is a blend of gasoline and ethanol, can increase fuel efficiency in compatible vehicles. In fact, some studies show that E85 can increase fuel efficiency by 27% compared to regular gasoline.

However, it’s important to note that not all vehicles are compatible with E85 gas. To determine if your vehicle is compatible with E85, you’ll need to check your owner’s manual or consult with a mechanic.

In most cases, vehicles that are labeled as ‘flex fuel‘ or ‘FFV’ can use E85 gas without any engine modifications. However, if your vehicle is not labeled as a flex fuel vehicle, it may require engine modifications to run on E85.

Modifying your engine can be expensive, so it’s important to consider the cost-benefit analysis before making any changes to your vehicle.

Considerations for Driving Conditions

Driving on different types of roads and in various weather conditions can greatly affect your vehicle’s performance and fuel efficiency. When it comes to using E85 gas versus 87, it’s important to consider the driving conditions you’ll be facing.

E85 is a blend of ethanol and gasoline that can provide more engine power but also has lower fuel economy compared to regular gasoline. If you’re driving on highways or open roads with little traffic, E85 may be a good option as it can provide more power to your engine. However, if you’ll be driving in stop-and-go traffic or in city conditions, using E85 may not be the best choice as it can decrease your fuel economy.

Additionally, if you’ll be driving in colder weather conditions, it’s important to note that E85 can lead to decreased fuel efficiency and engine performance as it has a lower energy density than regular gasoline. Ultimately, the decision to use E85 or 87 should be based on the driving conditions you’ll be facing and your own personal preferences for fuel efficiency and engine power.

Personal Preferences

Now that you’ve considered the driving conditions where e85 gas or 87 octane may be more suitable, let’s talk about your personal preferences.

While both types of fuel have their advantages and disadvantages, it ultimately comes down to what you prioritize more: fuel economy or engine performance.

If you’re looking for better fuel economy, 87 octane may be your best bet. This is because e85 gas has a lower energy content, which means you’ll need to use more fuel to go the same distance as you would with 87 octane.

However, if you prioritize engine performance, e85 gas may be worth considering. E85 has a higher octane rating than 87, which can improve engine performance by allowing for higher compression ratios and more aggressive tuning. Additionally, e85 gas burns cooler than 87, which can help reduce engine heat and potentially prolong engine life.

Ultimately, the decision between e85 gas and 87 octane comes down to your personal preferences and priorities. Whether you prioritize fuel economy or engine performance, it’s important to consider both options carefully and choose the one that best fits your needs.

Making an Informed Decision at the Pump

When you’re filling up your tank, it’s crucial to know the difference between E85 gas and regular 87 so that you can make an informed decision that will benefit both your wallet and the environment.

E85 gas is a blend of ethanol and gasoline that contains between 51% and 83% ethanol, while regular 87 is a gasoline that contains up to 10% ethanol. E85 is typically cheaper than regular 87, but it also has lower fuel economy, meaning that you will need to fill up more often to travel the same distance. Additionally, using E85 can require more frequent engine maintenance, as it can cause corrosion and other issues in your engine.

When deciding between E85 and regular 87, availability and government incentives should also be taken into consideration. E85 is not as widely available as regular 87, so you may need to plan your route carefully or make sure that your vehicle can run on both types of fuel. However, some states offer incentives, such as tax credits or exemptions, for using E85, which can make it a more cost-effective option.

Ultimately, the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and preferences, so it’s essential to do your research and make an informed decision before filling up your tank.


Now that you’ve got a better understanding of E85 gas and 87 gasoline, you can make an informed decision at the pump.

Remember that E85 isn’t suitable for all vehicles, and you must check your owner’s manual or consult a mechanic before using it.

Additionally, E85 may provide better performance and lower emissions, but it can be more expensive and less widely available than 87 gasoline.

On the other hand, 87 gasoline is a more affordable and commonly used fuel that works for most vehicles. It’s also easier to find at gas stations across the country.

However, it may not provide the same level of performance as E85, and it may produce more emissions.

Ultimately, the choice between E85 and 87 gasoline depends on your vehicle’s compatibility, your driving needs, and your environmental concerns.