E85 vs 87: Is There Really a Big Difference Between Both?

E85 vs 87 gas comparisons are common among car owners interested in knowing the best fuel to use for their vehicles.

Comparison Between E85 vs 87

The big question among many is whether or not there’s any difference between E85 and regular gas with an octane of 87. Continue reading to find out the differences between both gasses.

Features E85 87
Octane rating 100 to 113 87
Horsepower Higher Lower
Cost 27 percent Cheaper More Expensive
Emissions 40 percent less emission More emission

What Are the Differences Between E85 and 87?

The main difference between the E85 and 87 is that, on average, the E85 produces up to 30 percent more horsepower and fewer emissions and is cheaper than 87. Gas with an 87 octane rating is the main ingredient of crude oil, and as such, it’s not environmentally friendly.

One of the most important things to know is that E85 and 87 octane gases are not made from the same fluids. Therefore, they cannot be used as alternative fuel options, and care should be taken when changing from one to the other.

E85 represents 85 percent ethanol, and this implies that the gas comprises 15 percent regular gasoline with an octane rating between 87 to 93 and 85 percent ethanol. 87 octane gasoline, on the other hand, describes regular gasoline. This is made of 85 to 90 percent unleaded gasoline with an 87 octane rating and 10 to 15 percent ethanol.

Even though 87 is not as environmentally friendly,, there are many vehicles that still run using this type of fuel. Here’s an overview of some factors to help you understand the differences between both fuels better.

– Octane Rating

Octane rating is one of the main differences between the two fuel types. The octane rating of 87 is 87, while that of E85 is between 100 to 113, depending on the blend used.

A higher octane rating implies higher stability and compression ratio, thereby producing more mechanical power. This results in more speed and higher power output.

– Fuel Economy

E85 is less economical than unleaded gasoline, and this is because of the higher power output and lower burn rate it offers. Studies show that depending on your car, E85 offers up to a 30 percent MPG drop.

However, there are also reports that some engines are 20 percent more effective on E85 than 87 or other gasoline.

– Horsepower

Horsepower is another factor that distinguishes both fuel types. E85 produces more horsepower than 87, especially in engines that can handle E85. The big question is, what’s the difference between the horsepower generated by both fuel types?

Even though there aren’t many tests to justify this claim, most supercars have 20 percent more horsepower when using E85, especially with a 93 octane rating. This shows that differences in the horsepower that both fuel types generate are significant.

– Lifespan and Maintenance

Another area to consider when comparing both fuel types is the aspect of maintenance. Cars that use E85 require frequent checkups and more maintenance for some vehicular components. These components include fuel lines, valves, and spark plugs.

This is because these components have a higher potential to wear and tear when using the E85 fuel, which is not the case with 87.

– Price

E85 fuel is cheaper than gasoline with an octane of 87. This also accounts for the lower economy of the E85 fuel type. Basically, E85 is up to 30 percent less economical and 27 percent cheaper than 87.

– Environmental Impact

The environmental impact of both fuel types is also a factor to consider. Most people consider E85 to be a cleaner fuel considering that it burns bio-fuel. However, there are other things to consider, and this includes the percentage of ethanol, type of engine, and type of car.

In general, the emissions from E85 are lower than the emissions from 87. This is because the production of E85 is environmentally friendly. The US Department of Energy highlights that the emissions of E85 fuel are about 40 percent lower than that of 87.

– Burn Time

87 does not burn faster than E85. At lower temperatures, E85 burns faster than 87, and this brings about increased vehicle performance and power. Also, the octane rating of 87 is higher than E85, and as such, it can easily withstand higher temperatures.

Another thing to note is that the ethanol content in 87 is higher, and as such, it helps in cleaning the engine and reducing the need for regular maintenance.

– Using 87 Octane and E85 for Your Car

There are various factors that determine whether a vehicle can run on 87 octane or E85 and which option is the best for the vehicle. It’s important to know the type of car you have and the gasoline option that the manufacturer prefers. You can find this information in the manual of the vehicle.

E85 gasoline is mostly used on flex fuel cars because their fuel system is designed to run on E85. The good thing is that most of these vehicles have markings or badges to show that they can run on E85. E85 is also used in large engines in many cases, especially engines with a large amount of horsepower.

Today, over 80 percent of the vehicles in the United States run on 87 octane gas. It is currently the most used option for mid-segment and low-segment cars, trucks, and SUVs. However, there are also vehicles that can’t run on 87 octane gasoline.

If you have a sports car or a car with a large engine, it’s best to check the type of fuel it can accept before you fill it with 87. It’s also not advisable to fill your car with other premium gas if it needs 87 octane.

What Are the E85 Characteristics and Specifications?

The E85 fuel characteristics and specifications include it being a flex fuel, which is basically a blend of ethanol and gasoline. It is designed for flex-fuel vehicles and serves as renewable energy for these vehicles, which makes it a popular fuel to use.

Key Features of E85

E85 fuel is currently the most popular option for flex fuel cars, especially those with an internal combustion engine. Flex-fuel vehicles have been around since the 1990s. According to the US Energy Information Administration, pure ethanol used in E85 allows it to have a lower heating value than 87.

In addition, E85 is a great way to increase the performance of a vehicle, and this is achieved by creating more torque for the vehicle.

– Benefits of Using E85

Here are the benefits of using E85 fuel:

  • E85 is a cheaper fuel, and this is because it’s made from renewable resources like soybeans and corn.
  • The performance of E85 is better than 87, and this is because of its higher octane rating and ability to withstand high compression ratios.
  • E85 does not produce many emissions.
  • The high octane rating allows the fuel to produce more horsepower.

Despite these benefits, E85 has a lower gas mileage and a higher potential to cause damage to engines. Also, it is not as available as other fuel types.

– Switching to E85

You can definitely switch to E85 fuel, especially in the case where it offers better environmental benefits. Also, E85 is generally a more affordable option than other fuel types. However, E85 also has its own disadvantages, and it’s important to keep them in mind.

Another thing to note is that E85 gas is hygroscopic, and this can reduce the lifespan of your tank and storage. Therefore, before switching from 87 to E85, always check the humidity levels of your vehicle and where you live.

What Are the 87 Gas Characteristics and Specifications?

The 87 gas characteristics and specifications include being a regular gas, and this is the type that most vehicles use. Unlike E85, it is readily available and the type you find in most fuel stations. People also call this fuel type regular unleaded gas.

Key Properties of 87 Car Fuel

Regular unleaded gas is highly flammable, and it’s a by-product of gasoline. The number 87 represents the octane rating of the fuel, and this stands for the number of octanes that the fuel contains. Also, the level of ethanol in this fuel is only 10 percent, which is lower than that of E85, which has 85 percent ethanol.

One of the advantages of regular gasoline with an 87 octane rating is that most vehicles can use it without any issues. This is because most manufacturers program engines to work this type of fuel. Therefore, you can comfortably use this fuel on older vehicles and even vehicles with regular engines.

– Benefits of Using 87

Here are the benefits of using 87 fuel:

  • The 87 fuel offers better fuel economy and performance in cold areas.
  • The mileage offered by 87 is also better than E85.

However, it’s important to note that 87 fuel is not as cheaper as E85. Also, it’s not an environmentally friendly option.

Frequently Asked Question

1. Can You Mix 87 Octane Fuel With E85?

Yes, you can theoretically mix 87 octane fuel with E85. However, most manufacturers don’t advise customers to do this for many reasons. In fact, this should only be done in cases where the vehicle is approved to run on E85 gasoline.

Mixing both fuel types in a car that is not approved to run on E85 will cause permanent damage to the engine. In a situation where your vehicle is approved to run on E85, the mixture should be done accurately. For example, when you mix 5 gallons 105 octane rating of E85 with 5 gallons of 87 octane, the resulting mixture will be 10 gallons of 96 octanes.

The best thing is to avoid taking this risk on your fuel system. You’ll only end up with a faulty vehicle if anything should go wrong. Also, no warranty covers damage that occurs from mixing 87 octane with E85.

How Does the Difference Between E85 and 87 Fuel Compare to the Difference Between Pending Codes and Trouble Codes in OBD2 Systems?

The code comparison in OBD2 systems can be likened to the difference between E85 and 87 fuel. Just as E85 and 87 have distinct qualities, pending codes and trouble codes serve different purposes in OBD2 systems. Pending codes flag potential issues that require further monitoring, while trouble codes indicate confirmed problems that trigger the check engine light. Both fuel types and code types have their unique distinctions within their respective systems.


E85 is rapidly becoming the preferred option for many, and its use is increasing for many reasons. One of these is because it is environmentally friendly and a sustainable option. Also, E85 offers up to 30 percent more horsepower, emits about 40 percent fewer emissions, and is about 30 percent cheaper than 87. On the other hand, 87 costs more and has up to 30 percent lower MPG.

Both fuel types have their own advantages and disadvantages, and if you’re wondering whether there’s a big difference between the two, we have highlighted all the differences you should know above. Also, the best option between the two depends on the type of car you have and your needs. The availability of the fuel types in fuel stations close to you is also a factor to consider.

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