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Old 06-16-2014, 10:24 AM   #1
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Anyone towing while burning E85?

I have been doing some research and thinking of trying a tank of E85 on our next trip later this week. It sounds like you get an increase in HP while burning it, but you lose a bit of mileage at the same time. The Tahoe is flexfuel capable, I have just never ran any. Its about a buck cheaper per gallon than regular unleaded, so I think it will be worth it. OPINIONS?
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Old 06-16-2014, 10:26 AM   #2
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Sub'd.

I'd like to hear what the masses have to say on this...
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Old 06-16-2014, 11:15 AM   #3
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Check your owners manual. IIRC, earlier Flexfuel vehicles specified not to tow using E-85. My 2008 Sierra manual doesn't say anything about it. It'll probably work, but if your getting 10 mpg towing now, expect 8 mpg or so with E-85.
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Old 06-16-2014, 12:10 PM   #4
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I have never used E-85 in my TV. I keep saying I am going to. My thought has been the opposite while towing. When I travel out west it is easy to get gas with no corn juice added (ethanol). My thought has been with gas, I can increase my mileage to increase my range, and overall performance.

The manual for my Dakota states only to change out between E-85 and another fuel only with more than ¼ tank of fuel in it. I rarely let my TV drop below ¼ tank, I do not want issues with the computer struggling to find the right timing while towing.

If you try it, run a few tanks both ways and report back. I would like to hear the results.
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Old 06-16-2014, 12:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DocBrown View Post
Check your owners manual. IIRC, earlier Flexfuel vehicles specified not to tow using E-85. My 2008 Sierra manual doesn't say anything about it. It'll probably work, but if your getting 10 mpg towing now, expect 8 mpg or so with E-85.
You ruined all the fun ;-) I just checked an the owners manual online and sure enough it says "regular unleaded gasoline is recomended while towing a trailer". I may skip trying it, unless others here say they have had no issues while doing it...
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Old 06-16-2014, 12:51 PM   #6
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I did use it last year when I was traveling in the US and found it effected my mileage greatly....
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Old 06-16-2014, 01:22 PM   #7
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According to the fueleconomy.gov website your 03 chevy Tahoe gets 15 mpg on gas and 11 mpg on e85. So you loose 4 mpg going with e85 and that's not towing ratings either. I'm surprised e85 is less money I thought it was always more unless their having a hard time selling it now.
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Old 06-16-2014, 01:35 PM   #8
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I run this from time to time in my wife's car. While not towing I loose 2-3MPG and it's responsiveness is slower. You need to have less than half a tank of regular gas in order for the computer to acknowledge you are using it and it's best to just burn it all off then fill up with regular gas again. IMHO it's not worth it, but the summer blend is 10% ethanol so your mileage is going down anyway. I have not tried it in the summer as we are mostly camping and using my diesel to go places. For $.80+ it's a little cheaper when not towing. Towing is going to chew through it I believe and you will have double the fuel stops.
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Old 06-16-2014, 01:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbird View Post
According to the fueleconomy.gov website your 03 chevy Tahoe gets 15 mpg on gas and 11 mpg on e85. So you loose 4 mpg going with e85 and that's not towing ratings either. I'm surprised e85 is less money I thought it was always more unless their having a hard time selling it now.
I don't know if its only in my area, but there are radio ads talking about E85 and www.yellowhose.com . Its not a buck less at all the gas stations in my area, because I have seen it as high as $3.39 a gallon (still about $0.60 cheeper). Maybe its just a yellow hose campaign? I have a buddy who is a BIG car/truck/performance geek and he says it will be fine to run while towing as it burns cooler than regular gasoline and produces more HP. The best I have been able to get pulling the 314 on regular unleded is 9 mpg (with a tail wind), so even if I lost 2-3mpg, I think there still would be a savings. Not sure if I will try it now or not. I don't have much to lose...
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Old 06-16-2014, 02:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigbird View Post
According to the fueleconomy.gov website your 03 chevy Tahoe gets 15 mpg on gas and 11 mpg on e85. So you loose 4 mpg going with e85 and that's not towing ratings either. I'm surprised e85 is less money I thought it was always more unless their having a hard time selling it now.
It should always be less money than unleaded. At least that's what I understand about the subsidy. Supposedly the unsubsidized price is much higher, but EPA wants to encourage use, so it's subsidized to always keep the price $X less than unleaded...
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