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E85 is equivalent to 105 octane so you'd have to run more race gas to equal the ping resistance of E85. However you wouldn't get the fuel economy loss.

The car is designed for "up to" E15, so a couple of gallons of E85 mixed in won't bring you above that E15 threshold.

I don't think the hassle is worth the ~60 cents you might save per tankful.
 

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A GM tech explained to me that flex fuel vehicles have a ethanol ratio sensor so it can adjust the engine parameters to compensate for the wide range of ethanol one can use for best performance and maintain proper emissions. Non flex fuel vehicles do not have this sensor for obvious reasons and the computer is preset for ethanol ratios around 10% - 12%. The other problem is fuel system components on non flex fuel vehicles are not designed to handle ethanol content above 15%. So long term use will eventually do some kind of damage. Different manufacturers set up their vehicles differently to handle ethanol. Always follow manufacturers recommendations and warnings.
 

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Hm, I'm reading up on it. Theoretically E85 has a maximum octane of 105 (HotRod says 106), but because the ethanol content can legally vary between 51-85%, the actual octane coming from the pump is anywhere between 94 and 105. TIL

https://www.fuelfreedom.org/got-the-need-for-speed-e85-is-the-high-octane-fuel-for-you/

It does run much cooler, which is nice. I fuel up my Avalanche with it while towing in the summer and I notice a reduction in ping on steep grades in the desert for sure. But as a cost savings measure it seems like a poor solution.
 

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But as a cost savings measure it seems like a poor solution.
I found it at a Valeo station on the other side of the state back in June, 93 octane was $2.83 and E85 was $2.28, which is poor economics for the E85. I bought a couple of gallons to play with and stuck it in my Saturn, filled the Mercedes with 93 octane, which was over $3 where I live. (now over $3.50)

I've seen cars that were EPA rated 40hwy with 87 octane and 30 hwy with E85, which implies E85 is less miles per tank at 3/4 the cost of E10, and a money saver at 2/3 the cost. You just almost never see it for under 70% the price of E10.
 

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Premium where I'm at (Southern California) is anywhere between 4.09 and 4.19 and E85 is around 2.79 (68%).
With E85 I saw a 16% drop in mpg but I'm saving 32% at the pump. So I'm actually saving 16% vs filling up with premium by running E85. Not to mention that I'm now running heavier 18" wheels with non-low rolling resistance tread. I'm still able to get 37mpg on the hwy (About 43mpg corrected if we use my 16% rate) and the car runs better than before. It might not make financial sense in most places, but when it does....its awesome.
 
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