Ethanol and E-85, the Bottom Line!

An ethanol plant will drive the local economy by supporting our farmers. That is one of the arguments to bring a plant to Winnebago County. But that statement heard over and over is relatively vague. In dollars and cents just how much will it help.

“It would mean ten to twenty cents a bushel which means 15 to 20 cents an acre. So a farmer with 500 acres that’s anywhere from $8 - $15,000 extra per year.” According to local farmer Richard Beuth.

Another argument pro ethanol is that the product, e-85 fuel is good for not only farmers but for all consumers, and the nation in general.

Not only does e-85 reduce our dependency on foreign oil and support local farmers, but since its cheaper it also helps our pocket books, or does it?

Right now e-85 prices are about 34 cents cheaper than gasoline across the Midwest. But using e-85 gives us worst gas mileage. As Americans we average 12,000 miles on the road every year. At 25 mpg that’s 480 gallons of regular gas.

At current prices that is $1,065 in gas every year. But the same car that gets 25 mpg of gas will only travel 18 miles fueled my e-85. Even though the price is cheaper per gallon we end up paying more in the long haul only using e-85. Experts say e-85 technology is relatively new and efficiency is bound to go up. Until then filling up on e-85 will support farmers, but it will also cost more on the road.