E-85 Not for Everyone

By: Tregg White
By: Tregg White

Monday the second E-85 fuel pump started flowing in Nebraska. Dozens of cars lined up at the Aurora Co-Op's plant in Grand Island hoping to fill up with 85 cent fuel on the pump's grand opening. However, two out of three vehicles were rejected because they didn't have a flex fuel system. E-85 is only for vehicles with a flexible fuel system. The fuel is a high octane fuel and burns at a much higher rate than unleaded. If the fuel is used in vehicles that are not flex fuel compatible the fuel could deteriorate the vehicles gaskets and seals.

Anderson Ford sells a handful of vehicles that are flex fuel compatible. Service Manager Steve Allen says, "The high content of alcohol could damage the fuel injectors of a non-flex fuel system."

As for vehicles that are compatible filling up E-85 will cost less. It's estimated the 85-percent ethanol blended fuel will cost 19 to 30 cents less than unleaded. The bad news is E-85 burns faster and a consumer will have to fill up more frequently. Advocates of E-85 say filling up more doesn't mean it's less cost effective. The cost of fuel and the consumption will compensate one another.

According to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition approximately two million flex fuel vehicles have been sold. In Nebraska about 19,000 flex fuel vehicles were sold in 2003.

To find out if your vehicle is flex fuel compatible log onto www.e85fuel.com for a complete listing of flex fuel vehicles.

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