E85 vs 87 Octane Fuel: A Comprehensive Guide


The main difference between E85 vs 87 lies in their ethanol composition. E85, as the name suggests, contains up to 85% ethanol, making it a prominent biofuel alternative for vehicles designed to run on higher ethanol blends. On the other hand, 87, commonly known as regular or unleaded gasoline, typically contains much less ethanol, usually around 10% or even less. This significant difference in ethanol content not only influences vehicle compatibility but also impacts fuel efficiency, emissions, and engine performance. While E85 can offer environmental benefits, 87 is more universally compatible with a broader range of vehicles

Key Takeaways

  1. Understanding E85 and 87 Fuels: E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, while 87 fuel is a conventional gasoline blend containing 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.
  2. Performance Characteristics: E85 has a higher potential power output due to its higher octane rating, but it generally performs lower in fuel efficiency compared to 87.
  3. Vehicle Compatibility: Not all vehicles can use E85 due to differences in engine design. It’s important to consult your owner’s manual before attempting to switch over.
  4. Pros and Cons: E85 offers several advantages such as a higher octane rating, increased horsepower potential, reduced emissions levels, and a lower cost per gallon. However, 87 provides enhanced horsepower potential and improved gas mileage.

Understanding E85 and 87 Fuels

E85 and 87 ethanol fuels are popular choices for many drivers. However, understanding their differences requires in-depth knowledge of how they work. You can learn more about the composition of these fuels in our article on Ethanol Calculator E85.

Definition of E85 and 87 Fuels

E85 fuel is an alternative gasoline blend composed mostly of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. It has an octane rating of up to 105 compared to regular 87 octane unleaded gas. On the other hand, 87 fuel is a conventional gasoline blend containing 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline with a lower octane rating than E85, at only up to 91.

E85 gasoline, also referred to as flex fuel, is a blended fuel comprising 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. In comparison, 87 gasoline, commonly known as regular unleaded gasoline, contains up to 10% ethanol. The primary difference between E85 and 87 gasoline lies in their ethanol content. E85 offers a higher percentage of ethanol, making it a more environmentally friendly fuel choice. Ethanol is a renewable and domestically produced fuel that emits fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to traditional gasoline. However, it is worth noting that vehicles specifically designed to run on E85 are required to take full advantage of its benefits. While E85 may provide better fuel economy, its availability may be limited to certain areas with dedicated flex fuel stations. On the other hand, 87 gasoline is widely available and compatible with most vehicles on the road today. Ultimately, the choice between E85 and 87 gasoline depends on factors such as vehicle compatibility, availability, and the driver’s preference for environmental sustainability.

Comparing Performance Characteristics

E85 and 87 are both fuel types that can be used in vehicles, but it is important to understand their performance characteristics before making a decision. For a deeper dive into the power output of these fuels, check out our E85 Horsepower Calculator.

Power Output and Fuel Efficiency

In terms of power output, E85 has greater potential compared to 87 due to its higher octane rating. This means that an engine using E85 will have more available power than one using 87. However, this does not necessarily translate into better acceleration or torque capabilities since other variables also come into play.

Understanding Vehicle Compatibility

It is no secret that fuel efficiency can have a major impact on the cost of running your vehicle. But knowing which type of fuel to use for optimal performance and cost savings can be tricky. To understand more about the cost implications of these fuels, you can refer to our E85 vs Regular Gas Calculator.

Compatible Vehicles

Most vehicles built after 2001 should have some degree of compatibility with one or both fuels; however, older models may require modifications in order to safely utilize them. To ensure maximum safety, consult your owner’s manual before attempting to switch over.

Pros And Cons Of E85 Vs. 87

When it comes to selecting the right fuel for a vehicle, E85 and 87 are two of the most popular options. Each has its own unique set of benefits and drawbacks.

E85 Advantages and Disadvantages

E85 offers several advantages over traditional gasoline, such as a higher octane rating, increased horsepower potential, reduced emissions levels, and a lower cost per gallon compared to regular gasoline. The downside to using E85 is that not all vehicles can use it due to differences in engine design.

87 Advantages and Disadvantages

87 provides many of the same benefits associated with using E85, including enhanced horsepower potential and improved gas mileage. However, 87 does come with some notable downsides when compared to E85, namely being more expensive per gallon than both regular gasoline and E85 alternatives.

Calculating Cost Per Mile

When it comes to the question of which fuel type is right for your vehicle, calculating cost per mile can be a helpful tool. To calculate the cost per mile, first determine how many gallons are needed to drive 100miles. Then, multiply the result by the current market prices for E85 and 87 octane fuels, respectively. Finally, divide this amount by 100 to get your estimated cost per mile for both fuels. You can use our E85 Gas Calculator to help with these calculations.

Identifying Fuel Availability in Your Area

When it comes to selecting the right fuel for your vehicle, availability and access are essential considerations. To locate nearby fueling stations that offer either of these fuels, you can use online locator services such as GasBuddy or FuelFinder. By entering your zip code or city in the search bar, you will be able to view all available options within your area, including E85 and 87 fuel availability.

Comparison Table

Composition85% ethanol, 15% gasoline10% ethanol, 90% gasoline
Octane RatingUp to 105Up to 91
Power OutputHigher potential power outputLower potential power output
Fuel EfficiencyLowerHigher
Vehicle CompatibilityLimitedBroad
Cost per GallonGenerally lowerGenerally higher
Emissions LevelsLowerHigher
Maintenance RequirementsMore frequentLess frequent
Environmental ImpactLower GHG emissionsHigher GHG emissions

Measuring Emissions Levels

When examining the differences between E85 and 87 fuel types, one important factor to consider is measuring emissions levels. To properly compare these two fuels, it is necessary to use precise testing equipment that can accurately measure the amount of pollutants in each type of fuel. The results of such tests can then be used to identify which type of fuel has lower emissions levels and thus a lesser environmental impact. For more on this, check out our E85 and 91 Mix Calculator.

Examining Fuel System Maintenance Requirements

When it comes to fuel choices, many car owners often ponder over the differences between E85 gas and regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87. To shed light on this comparison, a useful tool to refer to is the E85 vs. 87 calculator, which showcases the disparities between the two options. Some questions that often arise are: Is E85 the same as 87? What’s the difference between E85 and 87? Is E85 better than 87? It is important to note that E85 gas, also known as flex fuel, is not identical to regular gasoline with an octane rating of 87. The two fuels have differing properties and compositions. Understanding these distinctions can help car owners make informed decisions about fueling their vehicles.

To ensure optimal performance of either type, it’s important to keep up with routine maintenance on your vehicle’s fuel system. This includes regular cleaning, inspections, replacements, and protection measures. When it comes to fuel-system cleanliness, E85 requires more frequent attention than 87 gasoline since it has higher levels of ethanol content that can lead to deposits in certain parts of the engine over time.

e85 gas vs 87

In comparing E85 gas with regular 87 octane gasoline, several notable differences emerge. E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, offers distinct advantages and disadvantages. Firstly, E85 gas is a more environmentally friendly option due to its lower greenhouse gas emissions and renewable source. However, the energy content of E85 is lower than that of regular gasoline, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency and mileage. Additionally, not all vehicles are compatible with E85 fuel, as it requires specific engine modifications or flexible fuel technology. Furthermore, E85 gas is typically priced lower than regular gasoline, making it an attractive option for cost-conscious consumers. However, the availability of E85 fuel stations is limited, limiting its accessibility in certain regions. In conclusion, while E85 gas offers certain benefits such as reduced emissions and cost savings, its lower energy content and limited availability make it a less practical choice for all vehicles and areas.

Exploring The Environmental Impact Of Different Fuels

The environmental impact associated with different fuel types is an important consideration when selecting the right fuel for your vehicle. When comparing fuel sources, factors such as greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions must be taken into account. Studies suggest that overall GHG emissions may be reduced by up to 50 percent when using E85 or 87 compared to conventional gasoline.

E85 gas, which contains 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, offers better octane rating compared to regular 87 gasoline.

When to Use E85 or 87 Fuel in Your Vehicle

The right fuel type for your vehicle can be a riddle to solve. When it comes to E85 vs. 87 ethanol, there are several things you need to consider before making your decision: compatibility, costs, and performance.

e85 calculator


Your vehicle must have the correct engine components to use either E85 or 87 ethanol fuel; otherwise, the wrong fuel could damage both your engine and wallet. Check with an automotive technician for advice on whether your car is compatible with either type of fuel.


It’s important to compare prices between E85 and 87 at gas stations near you. Depending on where you live, one type may cost more than the other due to different tax rates from state-to-state and the availability of certain fuels.


Depending on the model year of your vehicle, using higher octane levels such as E85 instead of lower-grade options like 87 will generally improve overall engine performance and reduce emissions output without sacrificing power or speed capabilities under normal driving conditions.


Choosing between E85 and 87 octane fuel boils down to understanding what works best with your unique vehicle needs. Whether you’re looking for improved environmental sustainability or simply better value for your money, both E85 and 87 fuels offer advantages over traditional gasoline varieties. It just depends on your individual needs and preferences as a driver. Given how quickly technology evolves in today’s rapidly changing automotive industry, knowing the differences between these two types of fuels could prove invaluable when making future decisions about powering your vehicle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does E85 Provide Better Fuel Economy Than 87?

Fuel economy is a key factor when determining the right fuel type for your vehicle. When comparing E85 and 87 fuels, it is important to consider their respective effects on fuel efficiency. E85 is an ethanol-blended gasoline that contains up to 85% denatured ethanol by volume. In contrast, 87 fuel consists of conventional unleaded gasoline with no additional additives or components.

Is E85 More or LessExpensive Than 87?

When it comes to fuel costs, one of the primary questions many drivers ask is whether E85 or 87 provides better value. Although there are a variety of factors that come into play when making this decision, price may be the most important consideration.

Which Fuel Is Better For The Environment: E85 Or 87?

Fuel choice is a critical factor in determining the environmental impact of vehicles. E85 and 87 fuel both have different levels of emissions, making it important to consider which type is more beneficial for the environment before deciding on an appropriate fuel selection.

What Is The Difference Between E85 And 87 Fuels?

E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline that has been used as a motor vehicle fuel since the mid-1980s. On the other hand, 87 octane gasoline offers greater efficiency compared to E85 blends. This form of fuel contains no ethanol and therefore burns cleaner than its blended counterparts; producing fewer emissions while providing higher levels of performance.

Where Can I Find E85 Or 87 Fuel In My Area?

Finding the right fuel for a vehicle can be a difficult task, especially when trying to decide between E85 and 87 fuels. Many gas station websites list their availability of different types of fuel, making it easy to compare prices and see what is closest by. Additionally, some local government organizations may have maps with detailed information about fuel availability in an area.

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