Is it to the point where you can save the world, and save money at the same time?
That is the question as the gap between the price of gasoline and the price of E-85 ethanol continues to grow.
In some places, ethanol is now nearly a dollar a gallon cheaper than gas.
Chrysler isn’t the only one with a $2.99 guarantee. A convenience store chain known as Family Express has pledged to sell E-85 Ethanol at $2.99 a gallon throughout Northwest and North Central Indiana.
That was the price of E-85 today at the Family Express store at Pine Lake in LaPorte.
“I’m just trying a gallon of it out, seeing if it’s any good,” said Charlie Wair as he pumped some ethanol into his Chevy truck.
“If it works good, then I’ll come back and get it, it’s cheap.”
Wair found the bargain so tempting and enticing that today he was putting E-85 in a vehicle that was clearly not a “flex fuel” vehicle.
“I know a lot of people also burn it in vehicles that are not converted that can cause some problems,” said mechanic Mike Pruden, “it does clean the system out and that can be harmful to your engine.”
Pruden’s vehicle didn’t come flex fuel ready from the factory, but he fixed that by installing a converter kit, and he started a business doing the same for others. The business is called MRP Enterprises (http://www.mrpratede85.com/ratede85.com).
“It’s got to be generally speaking 1985 or newer, and the reason that is in ’85 the government mandated that all vehicles need to be ethanol tolerant, meaning the “o” rings have to be able to withstand alcohol,” said Pruden.
E-85 has a bad rap for its tendency to provide fewer miles per gallon than gas.
That appeared to be much less of a concern today for Ron Shurley than the fact that he figures he saved 15-dollars on his 15-gallon gas purchase. “I know it’s saving me money right now,” Shurley said: “Mine takes E-85 and it’s a dollar cheaper a gallon, I’m going with it.”
The size of the price gap between E-85 and gas varies. At the Family Express in LaPorte, E-85 was 98-cents a gallon cheaper. At the Martin’s store in Goshen, E-85 was 73-cents a gallon cheaper. At the Meijer on Bremen Highway in Mishawaka, E-85 was 50-cents a gallon cheaper.