You’ve heard the term E85 fuel and may understand that it represents a mix of ethanol and straight gasoline. Specifically, this ethanol blend consists of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent straight gasoline, a combination that provides slightly improved performance, but worse fuel mileage.
Unknown to some people is whether their vehicles can take E85 fuel. Not all vehicles can as the fuel is highly corrosive and special fuel lines must be installed. If your car does take E85 fuel there are some hints that it does: a special placard on the fuel door, badging on the vehicle or a notice in your owner’s manual can tell you if that is so. Let’s take a look at a list of flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) that have hit the market:
FFVs have been around for nearly two decades. GM, Chrysler and Ford have made dozens of models and these automakers are among the manufacturers that have built such vehicles early on.
If you go back as far as the 2000 model year, select versions of the following models were FFVs: Ford Taurus, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Caravan, Plymouth Voyager, Mazda B3000 and Ford Ranger.
Older vehicles that are also FFV include many 1995 to 1998 Ford Taurus models, particularly those equipped with a 3.0-liter V-6 engine.
By 2005, the list of FFVs had expanded to include many more models such as the Chevrolet Silverado, Chrysler Sebring, GMC Yukon, Ford Explorer and Dodge Stratus. Also, the Dodge Caravan, GMC Sierra, Mercedes-Benz C320, Nissan Titan, Mercury Mountaineer and Mercedes-Benz C240 made the list.
Today, many more models are FFVs and the list includes such manufacturers as Audi, Volkswagen and Toyota.
The Audi A5, Audi A4 Quattro and Audi Q5 are among the vehicles listed. Also, the Bentley Continental GTC, Dodge Charger, Ford F-150. GMC Sierra, Dodge Journey, Ford E-150, Volkswagen Routan, Toyota Tundra, Nissan Titan, Ram C/V, Nissan Armada, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Lincoln Navigator are listed.
If you’re still not sure whether your car is flex fuel capable, contact your dealer’s service department and ask. Supply your vehicle identification number and the service department will be able to tell you if E85 is a fueling option.
Even if your car is flex-fuel capable, you may find it difficult to fuel up with E85. That’s because the fuel is available mostly in corn growing regions of the country such as in Minnesota and Iowa. Also keep in mind that your fuel economy will plunge when using E85 fuel. Your numbers may come in as much as 30 percent lower, a difference that must be made up in price if E85 is to be a viable option.