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What's In Your Gas Tank?
MONTGOMERY COUNTY -- Have you ever wondered what's really in your gas tank? Well, besides gasoline you are pumping in ethanol which is typically a corn-based fuel additive.
Ethanol helps reduce our dependence on foreign oil and it's better for the environment, but your gas mileage suffers more with ethanol, and over the long-term too much ethanol can damage your gas tank.
University of Dayton Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering Robert Wilkens says it's impossible to know how much ethanol each gas station pumps into our cars throughout the year.
Under federal law, gasoline can contain up to 15 percent ethanol. That's up from just 10 percent after the government raised the limit last month.
So what does that change mean to you? Possibly not getting what you paid for.
If you are filling up with the maximum 15 percent added ethanol you will get five percent fewer miles per gallon. So if your car gets 30 miles per gallon you will only get 28.5 miles per gallon.
At $3.50 cents a gallon, you're only getting $3.32 worth of real gas; essentially you're overpaying by 18 cents per gallon.
And here's the kicker, under Ohio law, gas stations do not have to tell you how much ethanol you're putting in your tank.
We did our own experiment by going to 10 different gas stations across the Miami Valley. We collected gas from Shell, BP, Speedway, Marathon and UDF and at the time the legal maximum of ethanol was 10 percent.
We tested the amount of ethanol at each station and our results ranged from 4 to 9 percent.
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