From the Wall Street Journal.
Click for the graph.
Indeed it varies. My father could never do better than about 12 mpg in his Grand Marquis, while I did no less than 20.
My 1994 Ford Mondeo was cranking out 42 mpg on average (the second one in this summary):
We were in the top 10 on this tracking site, surpassing some Priuses (and probably still are, discounting a few bogus records on the very top).
We know what to expect from EPA, but nobody really knows how to estimate what people will do with their cars.
The agency rankings are pretty close to each other and they agree on relative positions in general — that is, the cars that EPA rated higher seem to be higher by driver reporting, though not necessarily at EPA numbers, and the same for other agencies.
During the time of year when my area uses gasoline, as opposed to 10% ethanol, I get about 25mpg from a 97 CRV. When we’re using the gasahol, I get more like 20mpg. Some of that might be cold-related but I think it’s mostly the shortage of BTUs in the alcohol component. If there were actually an economic or environmental plus to that, I’d be okay (that is, it’s cents per mile that count, not miles per gallon as such). But since neither appears to be true, I’m just bitter.
My experience has been that E10, 10% ethanol, gives me 10% less gas mileage. So I view ethanol in my gas as an inert filler.
A horrible waste of resources, except for the mid-West votes it buys. It’s not about the environment; it’s about votes.
I had a similar experience driving a large moving truck from Chicago to California. I failed to reach my planned refueling stop after having filled up with E10 in Iowa, which was at the time the only place where it was sold (with no other option offered, by the way). My route plan was based on the performance estimate I obtained from the initial fill-up in Illinois. Loaded up with regular gas in Wyoming, then again in Nevada, I was back to the original performance I calculated at the start of the trip, even though now I was ploughing through heavy snow in the mountains.
I remember the sense of disbelief: I fell short of my first target by more than 10%, while there surely was some energy in ethanol to contribute to mechanical work. It felt worse than an inert filler.
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