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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Gas prices are high, and to make matters worse you may not be getting all you’re paying for. Some folks say the increasing amount of ethanol in gasoline is affecting their vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Right now most gas you buy has 10% ethanol. Although this helps deflate the rising gas prices, fuel efficiency is taking a back seat.

Driver Timothy Chestnutt says he gets regular maintenance on his 2003 Chevy and the only thing he thinks could be affecting his fuel economy is the ethanol in the gas.

“I’m trying to watch my money just like everyone else is and I’m trying to cut corners and save the money the best I can and I’ve noticed the last six months that gas mileage is getting worse, and I don’t know why that is..”

Car Doctor owner Val Boudreau says the 10% ethanol that is in gas does affect the way the vehicle operates. Because the way it combusts, Boudreau says your car’s performance may suffer.

“The combustibility of the alcohol is less than blended gasoline and as a result, you won’t see the same amount of power so you could very well see a decrease in mileage as well as power.”

Boudreau says gas mileage may be affected by close to three percent and the decreasing efficiency will only increase as more ethanol is added. UNCW chemistry professor Robert Kieber says he thinks the use of ethanol in gas is sure to increase, especially as gas prices rise.

“As the price of gasoline gets more expensive, the use of ethanol increases for economic reasons. As the price of gas goes up, the use of ethanol goes up. As the price of gasoline goes down, the use of ethanol does as well because it’s not economically viable.”

Chestnutt says he thinks if that is the case, then something should be done to help the cars keep up.

“I think it’s gonna hurt the vehicle unless they start making vehicles that can handle the ethanol and the older vehicles, there should be something done as far as converting them to better handle the ethanol as well.”

Boudreau says it’s hard to pin point the exact affects of ethanol on cars and because of this, its also difficult to combat the effects. He suggests keeping up with routine maintenance in order to avoid other issues.


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