Thursday, October 08, 2009

Advantages & Disadvantages of E85

E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, can be used in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which are specially designed to run on gasoline, E85, or any mixture of the two. FFVs are offered by several vehicle manufacturers. To determine if your vehicle can use E85, consult your owner’s manual or check the inside of your car's fuel filler door for an identification sticker.

Cost. Cost varies regionally. It is cheaper than gasoline in some areas, such as the Midwest, and more expensive in others.

Availability. Several hundred filling stations in the U.S. sell E85, and that number is increasing rapidly. Visit the Alternative Fuel Station Locator for locations of service stations selling E85.

Performance. No noticeable difference in vehicle performance when E85 is used.

MPG. FFVs operating on E85 usually experience a 20-30% drop in miles per gallon due to ethanol’s lower energy content.

Advantages & Disadvantages of E85
  • Domestically produced, reducing use of imported petroleum
  • Lower emissions of air pollutants
  • More resistant to engine knock
  • Added vehicle cost is very small
  • Can only be used in flex-fuel vehicles
  • Lower energy content, resulting in fewer miles per gallon
  • Limited availability
  • Currently expensive to produce

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