High gas prices bring use of cheaper E-15 gasoline usually banned in warmer months

Gas, gasoline, gas pump
Posted at 10:45 PM, Apr 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-14 23:38:35-04

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — Gas prices are still sky high, with them driving the 8.5% inflation spike even higher.

But what if we told you a more affordable gas option is going to be more readily available to us?

You don’t need to sign up anywhere, but you could save up to 10 cents per gallon at the pump if you choose to fill your car’s tank with E-15 gas.

But even though it’s more affordable, is it the better option?

Here are some details to consider before the next time you fill up.

With gas prices so high, the White House decided to reduce them by increasing the amount of ethanol in our gasoline.

“You're going to be able to keep filling up with E-15, and it's going to solve the whole problem,” said President Biden. “But it's not going to solve all our problems.”

E-15 is a mix of regular gasoline with a 15% ethanol blend, a plant-based fuel typically made from corn.

The waiver from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will allow the year-round sales of E-15, typically banned in the summer months due to high gas emission concerns.

“The waiver simply allows gas stations to continue selling this E-15, which is a product that's about five to 10 cents a gallon cheaper where it's available,” said Patrick DeHaan from GasBuddy.

This blend is safe for most cars manufactured in 2001 or later, and most car companies say it's fine to use.

But some could see a small change in fuel efficiency, depending on your driving style.

“There may be a very slight hit to your fuel economy. But other than that, if your vehicle's allowed to use it, if your manufacturer says it's OK, there's not really many other cons that I can think of,” said DeHaan. "It generally is priced cheaper than regular gasoline. So, at a time when gas prices are very high, that could potentially help motorists save a little bit of money.”

DeHaan said car owners should consult their owner's manuals before filling up on E-15, especially to ensure you're not doing something that could void your car's warranty later on.

But before you rush off to fill up, according to the Department of Energy, other gas-powered things that cannot use E-15 include motorcycles, boats, snowmobiles, chainsaws and lawn mowers.

And if your car was made before 2001, you shouldn’t use E-15 in it.

Related: Is it safe to put regular gas in a car that requires premium? Auto experts in Hampton give us the answers