Ethanol advocates often assert that ethanol costs less per gallon than gasoline while trying to justify the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). While it’s true that on a gallon-to-gallon basis ethanol historically has been cheaper than gasoline, ethanol contains far less energy than gasoline and therefore has cost consumers more to travel the same distance, as I pointed out (here, here and here). Look at the graphics below, produced by EPA and the Energy Department: The real costs to consumers, measured in fuel economy, has been significant.
As you can see, vehicles that can run on either gasoline or E85 (average 74 percent ethanol content) get significantly fewer miles per gallon when using comparatively low energy ethanol blended fuels. This means that in addition to the ex... more »