e85 gains strength as gas prices soar

Most consumers will know E85 is a blend of gas and ethanol. It consists of 15 percent gasoline and 85 percent ethanol, hence the name, e85. Today, most of the ethanol used in the United States is produced by America’s corn farmers. How many automobiles on the roads can use E85? Perhaps the number is more than you may think.

Eric Escudero a spokesperson of Colorado’s AAA, “6 million vehicles on the road are flex fuel vehicles. Especially General Motors and Ford manufactured vehicles.” GM estimates that they have approximately 2 million flex fuel vehicles driving on U.S. roads and there are another 4 million flex fuel cars on the roads by other manufacturers.

“All you have to do is check on the gas cap on the owners manual, you might have the option of using E85,” Escudero proclaims. Ethanol has less energy than pure gasoline. Because of this, there is about a 10-15 percent drop in fuel economy of the vehicle. AAA says that the percentage may be even higher. “It’s about 30 percent less efficient, so you’re not getting as good gas mileage.” If the price of ethanol is lower it absolutely makes sense.

The American ethanol industry is expected to produce about 6 billion gallons of E85 fuel, this year. Currently, American consumers use almost 390 million gallons every single day. Ethanol, however, is still just a small drop in the barrel of oil. As gas prices go through the ceiling and more ethanol is produced, it has the chance to become more popular.

Follow this link for this year’s list of flex-fuel cars

E85, Automakers and Bush

The United States automaker chief executives met with and further pushed President George Bush to back incentives bringing e85 ethanol and biodiesel to more gas stations across the country. The automotive companies examined their output of the newest flex-fuel vehicles.

In five years, half the cars made by General Motors, Chrysler and Ford Motor company, would be capable to run on biodiesel or E85, the automotive executives explained.

The meeting with President Bush in Washington DC was for the second time in about 16 weeks that Rick Wagoner of GM, Alan R. Mulally of Ford and Thomas W. LaSorda of Chrysler urged President Bush to expand access to more and more biofuels. The automaker executives wanted that over the proposed stricter fuel economy as a way to cut America’s oil use.

“If the goal is to reduce oil imports and improve the environment, the opportunity is first of all in ethanol, biodiesel,” Wagoner explained to reporters after the summit. They spent almost no time at all conversing about mileage, he said.

The United States of America has over six million flex-fuel vehicles on the roads, but of the country’s 170,000 gas stations we only have 2,000 E85 or biodiesel pumps, they added.

“We are willing to lead the way,” the automakers’ stated. “We need government and fuel providers to increase infrastructure before we can make a meaningful impact.”

President Bush did not comment publicly to biofuel incentives. America’s ethanol producers, made mainly from corn, receive a tax credits of 51 cents per gallon. They also receive a 54 cent tariff on every gallon of ethanol that is imported. Flex-fuel vehicle automakers get a credit that lets them increase their automobile’s fuel economy.

Putting E85 stations within five miles of American motorists would require at a minimum of 20,000 pumps, Phil Lampert says, the director of the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition based in Jefferson City, Missouri.

President Bush is calling for a 20% cut in American’s oil consumption within a decade, 75% of that figure factors using alternative fuels, and the rest of the 25% will be attributed to better vehicle fuel economy.

E85 Ethanol and Vintage Cars

A question was recently asked if someone should, or could, use E85 fuel in a 1972 gasoline collector’s car.

The short answer is, no. E85 ethanol is a very poor idea to use in vintage cars.

A mixture of 85% ethanol and 15% gas, E85 ethanol, should not be consumed by any vehicle unless it is designated at the manufacturer as a “flex-fuel” vehicle. If you use E85 in a strictly gasoline car, not just a vintage collectible car, it may damage it beyond repair. E85 ethanol in a vehicle that is not made for e85 can cause major corrosion through out the entire fuel system, crack seals and hoses and it can remove lubrication off the engine’s cylinders. Also, both the E85 ethanol and widely available E10 ethanol will move old sludge buildup, varnish and other dirts from the fuel tank. As soon as these are within the fuel, it will cause fuel line and filter clogging as well as prohibit fuel injectors and carburetor jets from spraying correctly.

Despite its higher octane number, e85 ethanol has less energy then gasoline per gallon. In the industry, it has become a well-known fact that E85 in a “flex-fuel” vehicle capable of using gasoline. E85, will provide less miles per gallon compared to gasoline (Ethanol industry generally estimates it to be about a 30% drop).