Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Flex Fuel Vehicles are FLEXIBLE! Duh!

CNN/Money ran a story on alternative fuel vehicles today. That's good. What's not so good is they spun the article and focused on every negative point they could find. Either the reporter works for a big oil company or walks to work, who knows. Some thoughts in BOLD:

"Flex-fuel vehicles can run on either gasoline or E85, a fuel that's 85 percent ethanol, an alcohol made from fermented plant material (in the U.S., it's usually corn) with 15 percent gasoline. To accept E85, some parts of the engine have to made from materials resistant to the corrosion ethanol can cause."
FFV's have had slight modifications to ensure that E85 ethanol can be used in them. When done at the factory, these changes are minor. And with an FFV, drivers have a CHOICE: use E85, use regular gasoline or USE BOTH. It's not an either OR issue. Drivers with Flexible fuel vehicles have choices, including (as I and other FFV drivers do), fill up at mid-tank with whichever fuel is available or cheaper that day. Can anyone say E50?

E85 contains less energy per gallon than gasoline so when sensors in the engine detect that ethanol is being burned they adjust by, among other things, pumping more fuel into the engine. Because of this, vehicles will get about 15 percent lower fuel mileage when burning E85 rather than gasoline.

Like with most of their financial analysis, CNN/Money should have added "your results may vary". Lots of driving factors can affect your mileage. Many people report no difference in mileage when using E85. Maybe the reporter should knock off with those jackrabbit starts at lights!

For now, at least, E85 is almost impossible to find at gas stations outside the central Midwest. Until E85 becomes more widely available, most flex-fuel vehicles will just burn gasoline.

E85 stations are popping up around the country. And remember, when e85 isn't available, gasoline blended with 10% ethanol is usually available. And all cars can easily run on the E10 blend. Drivers can check HERE.

balanced food and fuel ethanol energy security
Source: CNN/Money

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