Performance of Vehicles and Equipment Involved in the Use of Gasohol

Report No: 81-R22

Published in 1980

About the report:

A 1-year fleet test in which 130,000 gal. of gasohol were prepared and used was conducted in the Charlottesville- Culpeper area. The handling and storage of the fuel was monitored, and fuel consumption and maintenance records were maintained on 95 Department vehicles (primarily 1/2-ton pickup trucks and 3-ton dump trucks) that operated a total of 1.5 million miles on gasoline and gasohol. The study determined that gasohol can be satisfactorily used to reduce gasoline consumption by from 7% to 8%. Special attention must be directed, however, to filter plugging, water contamination, evaporative emissions, and equipment that may deteriorate prematurely due to the presence of alcohol in the fuel. In general, the drivers of the vehicles monitored in the study perceived gasohol to be comparable to gasoline, with the exception that gasohol reduced the engine ping often noted from engines operating on low octane, no-lead gasoline. Gasohol reduces exhaust emissions but increases evaporative emissions; therefore, no overall benefit in air quality is achieved from its use. At today's prices, the use of gasohol would increase fuel costs by from 11% to 12%, but it is anticipated that the cost of gasohol relative to that of gasoline will decrease as more alcohol becomes available and as the price of gasoline continues to increase.

Disclaimer Statement:The contents of this report reflect the views of the author(s), who is responsible for the facts and the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the Virginia Department of Transportation, the Commonwealth Transportation Board, or the Federal Highway Administration. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation. Any inclusion of manufacturer names, trade names, or trademarks is for identification purposes only and is not to be considered an endorsement.


Other Authors

Michael M. Sprinkel, P.E.

Last updated: January 22, 2024

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