On the surface, Flex Fuel sounds like a great idea. This allows certain vehicles to run on different blends of petrol and ethanol, a type of alcohol derived from grains such as corn or sugarcane. Ethanol fuel came in response to oil shortages in the 1970s, but the technology did not mature until the 1990s when some automakers, mostly from the Big Three, began to introduce flex fuel vehicles.
How much ethanol is there in flax fuel?
Specially equipped vehicles designated as Flex Fuel can operate on the E85, a blend that contains 85% ethanol and only 15% gasoline. However, to a lesser extent, almost all cars are already using a gasoline-ethanol blend. Most gasoline sold at the pump in the United States may technically be E10, a 10% ethanol blend, although this is not always the case.
The EPA has also approved E15, a 15% ethanol blend. However, in 2012 an alliance of automakers backtracked on a proposal to increase ethanol content by 50%. The EPA 2001 and new cars consider E15 to be safe to use, but there have been controversial studies on whether it is harmful. Many automakers then said that if owners used the E15 they would not honor the warranty.
Read more: What is E15 gas? Some FAQs have been answered
How To Identify A Flex Fuel Car
Flex fuel vehicles are designated by a yellow fuel filler cap or a yellow ring on the capless fuel tank. They may have special fuel fuel badges on the inside label of the fuel filler door or on the car. The US Department of Energy is currently offering a list of Flex Fuel vehicles for sale. Most are workhorse such as Chevy Silverrado / GMC Sierra, Ford Transit Connect, Transit, F-150 and F-250. The Ford Explorer is currently the only standard family car on the list, although you can find some older, off-the-shelf Flex Fuel cars in used markets such as the Chevy Impala and the Ford Terrace.
Advantages of Flex Fuel
By expanding the amount of actual gasoline used, flax fuel seems to be the perfect solution to expand a limited resource and reduce dependence on foreign oils. And since ethanol was derived from renewable organic matter, it was also originally seen as a green solution.
Also, the octane rating of the E85 is about 110, higher than the 93 octane of premium fuel. This means that the fuel can better resist the expected-expected combustion due to compression and thus burn more completely, and cleaner burning means less emissions in the tailpipe. Although performance engines typically have high compression ratios, the current crop of E85-compatible vehicles is not exactly a sporting machine that can take advantage of high octane.
Read more: Today’s latest gas price news
Because flax fuels use less petroleum, they are cheaper. At the time of writing, the E85 is about 80 cents lower than the national average of E10, the most common type of fuel. Prices vary by region, so check your local listing.
Flex Fuel Cons
If you have a flex fuel car at high gas prices, using the E85 may seem like a no-brainer. However, it should be noted that ethanol reduces fuel economy (gallons per mile) by 25% to 30%. Depending on the car’s mpg rating and the local price of the E85, drivers will have to decide for themselves whether the low fuel economy denies any potential savings at the pump.
Perhaps a bigger problem is that the E85 may not be as great for the environment as fans claim. Most of the ethanol in the United States is derived from corn, and the corn industry has a huge strong lobby. Filling stations in states like Iowa, where corn is a major industry, have much higher E85 available, often speaking of stickers claiming environmental benefits.
Read more: Ethanol Latest News
Over the years, powerful corn lobbyists have won large government subsidies, which has led many growers to grow crops, although, according to a Stanford University study, corn-based ethanol is five to six times less effective than sugarcane. – Based ethanol.
Another study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that the environment would be better if cars burned gasoline directly, considering the increased clearance of land for maize cultivation for ethanol production. And then there’s the fact that we’re better off using the resources that corn takes to grow crops that feed real people. Ethanol would be most beneficial if it could be made economically from biomass which would otherwise be discarded like corn stalks and other cellulosic sources.
Should I use Flex Fuel?
If your car is not made as a flex fuel car, do not use E85. High ethanol content will damage important parts of the engine and the fuel system. As we mentioned above, if you have an old car or are not sure if it is compatible with your car then it is probably best not to take the risk of using E15.
Read more: The latest news on biofuels
Does ethanol damage cars?
Many sources, including the Royal Automobile Club of the United Kingdom, say that even the E10 can be harmful to cars older than the 2002 model year. Ethanol is corrosive, and its use can damage fuel systems that are not designed for anything other than pure unleaded gasoline. Fuel tanks, gaskets and seals and other rubber or plastic components may be subject to damage.
This is not a guarantee of damage, and how sensitive your car is will probably depend on age and model. If this is a concern for classic car owners, they can either use an ethanol conditioner and stabilizer or find one of the few remaining gas stations that provide ethanol-free fuel.