What Exactly is E85?

Photo Courtesy of CarlsVanRentals.com

I was filling up my car the other day and I noticed an E85 pump. Being in the auto industry, I knew this was coming, but it still made me do a double take, so I wanted to write a post about what exactly E85 is and what happens if you put it your car and it’s not equipped to handle it.

What is E85?

Some cars being manufactured today are being equipped to run on a special ethanol-gasoline mix. E85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. With the United States trying to reduce its dependence on foreign oil, E85 is a way to reduce our intake.

Can I put E85 in my vehicle?

Unless your car is Flex Fuel equipped, more than likely, no. Your engine must be tuned and equipped to handle the the mix. If you accidentally put E85 in your car, you could damage your engine and be forced to make costly repairs. E85 is more abrasive and produces more oxygen than your typical gasolines. Some cars out on the road can handle E85 without any modifications, but always check with your manufacturer or dealer to verify.

Are there benefits to using E85?

Using E85 in a car that is built for it will spend less money on gasoline in the long run. E85 is anywhere between 15-25% cheaper than normal gasolines. However, flex fuel vehicles do get less gas mileage due to ethanol not being able to produces as much energy as higher grade gasoline.

Again, do not put E85 in your car without verifying that it is equipped to handle it. But next time you’re at the pump and you see a strange pump off by itself, you’ll know what it is!

Do you know of anyone who drives a Flex Fuel vehicle?