BioPower vs Gasoline real world mileage test

Here’s something some might be interested in.

It’s always difficult to get definite figures on BioPower mileage as there are factors involved like the mix of fuel etc. So what we end up with is the 30% rule of thumb (i.e. 30% reduced fuel economy).

Vector220 drives a lot of rentals for his work (and he’s provided some comparos for us in the past on them, too), so with this in mind he decided to try comparing a 2008 Saab 9-3 BioPower with a regular gasoline-powered Saab 9-3 from 2007 in order to gauge the fuel consumption difference between the two.

He had the same trip to do one week after another, so he hired the cars and drove the exact same route in them – a 385km round trip. His brief notes are as follows:

The 2008 Saab 9-3 BioPower

Nice ride, a bit flat in the seat compared with my 220hp Vector, but no problem to drive 2 hours one way (190 km). The car felt like it needed more revs to get going and was a bit week on low revs… But hey, there was only 180 bhp….

The lighting was the best I’ve ever seen. And this with a non xenon car! The 08 9-3 provides very good visibility both to the left and right of the road (and of course ON the road).

The 2007 Saab 9-3 (gasoline)

I did the exact same trip. Same interior, same comfort, but not the same power. I needed to use the gear shift more to just keep up the flow and to overtake. Also the lights provided same lighting ON the road, But on the sides my visibility was not as good as the 08 model 9-3. The lighting was about par with my 2004 9-5.


So – the consumption figures…..

On a trip of 385 km the 08 car consumed 8.9 litres / 100 km
On a trip of 385 km the 07 car consumed 7.8 litres / 100 km

When calculating this using the price of both the fuels here in Sweden the E85 was 48 SEK cheaper to drive those 385 km. And it’s more fun in the E85 car. A good result, I think.

Note: Here in Sweden the E85 becomes E75 during the winters because the “E” cars are more reluctant to start when it is really cold. So we may have some more testing to do during a summer to see the real difference in fuel consumption.


And if you’re wondering why the lighting was of particular importance to Vector220, he had a deer jump up on his car at 100 km/h on a recent drive. That was in a Volvo S40 rental and he’s OK, though the car wasn’t and it was replaced by an Audi.

His words: boy am I glad I didn’t hit a moose!


Thanks Vector220 – and I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say I’m glad you’re OK and wish you “safe driving” in the future.

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  1. Yes, I noticed that we have starting problems in winter here(Chicago) also(on mornings) with the Taurus E-85(company cars). mpg is also lower.

  2. “His words: boy am I glad I didn’t hit a moose!”

    … or a wild boar, as they are rather common in the southern part of Sweden. It’s like hitting a 300 pound rock, and they get mad as hell afterwards…

  3. First: I’m guessing that the mileage should read “litres / 100 km”. No biggie. – Right you are, Fixed it, I have – SW

    Second: Deer are lethal. If I think about it the next time I’m over at my Dad’s place, I’ll take a picture of his pickup — it’s a mess from hitting a deer.

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