The E85 cars or flex-fuel vehicles are optimized to run on different mixtures that can be 100% gasoline or a blend of 85% ethanol in gasoline.
Can E85 Cars Take Regular Gas? E85 cars can take regular gas because their engine is capable of working on different concentrations of fuels efficiently. Moreover, its system is compatible with regular gasoline as it can sense the changes in the quantity of ethanol and allows the injection of fuel into the combustion chamber accordingly. In addition, standard gas is a good alternative to E85 because it improves the vehicle’s mileage and avoids dependency on the crops.
However, the response of vehicles varies according to the fuel, which raises concerns among people to think before filling the tanks.
What are E85 cars?
These flex-fuel vehicles contain E85, in which 85% of ethanol is mixed with 15% of gasoline. E stands for ethanol, and 85 indicates the percentage of ethanol or methanol.
Many automobiles have been designed with a specific engine that can consume this type of mixed fuel. As a result, there are almost 20 to 23 million cars that are considered suitable to run on E85.
It offers many benefits over gasoline by providing better resistance to engine knocking and reducing the emission of harmful gases.
So, the automobile industry has focused on mixed fuels having a larger volume of ethanol, considered a renewable energy source.
Why do E85 cars take regular gas?
There are many benefits to E85 cars, including the lesser dependency on imported gasoline and compatibility with the environment.
However, many people prefer to switch to different fuels to overcome their few side effects.
Compatible engine and fuel system
The E85 cars are flexible because their engine works on both fuel types, like regular gasoline or one containing 50% to 95% ethanol.
Moreover, the fuel injectors are controlled by a computer system, and the sensors can detect changes in its concentration.
They can modulate its entry into the combustion chamber according to its type, like it burns more fuel when there is a large quantity of ethanol.
In addition, the storage tank for both is the same; whether you use E85 or any other product, they have to remain inside the same tank.
Ethanol is an excellent cleaner that can clean the fuel lines, engine, injectors, and many other internal components.
However, it is essential to know about its side effects over time, as many automobiles in the US are running on ethanol-blended fuel.
Continuous use of E85 having a high percentage of ethanol can lead to corrosion of the internal systems if they are not made to suit blended fuel as in older cars.
It can affect the durability of internal components of smaller engines having aluminum parts and rubber seals in the long run.
Moreover, it can void the engine’s warranty, which raises concern among people, so they occasionally replace it with regular gas.
You have to fix the issues by replacing the damaged engine, which can cost you almost $200 to $2500.
Avoid dependency on crops
You probably know that ethanol is produced from crops like corn, which shows its dependency on the sole crop.
Almost 2/3 of the corn is used in ethanol production when it enters a production plant, while the remaining 1/3 extract is used for feeding livestock.
It can lead to a shortage of corn for other purposes as you have to keep it bound for ethanol production. In addition, you have to face its shortage if there is a pest attack on the crop.
So, the use of regular gasoline in flex-fuel vehicles minimizes dependency on the crop when it is not available for use.
Improve gas mileage
Ethanol has a higher octane number than others but contains less energy. As a result, the engine consumes more fuel blended with a higher percentage of ethanol.
Almost 15% to 30% reduction in mileage has been observed when you add E85 to the storage tank. This is because the engines can burn ethanol faster than gas due to its fast vaporization.
Therefore, you can get better mileage by replacing it with standard gasoline that contains only 10% of ethanol and reduces mileage to only 3% to 5%.
Easier access to fuel
A few stations provide E85 for cars because of their cheap rates as it does not allow them to enjoy better profit margins.
Most commonly, the stations are limited to those states which are producing corn on a large scale. Only 3200 to 3800 stations in the US are selling mixed gasoline, which is a limited supply.
While, some states of the US, including Minnesota and Illinois, have almost 380 to 450 and 250 to 300 service stations providing blended fuel.
So, you have to shift toward standard gas to overcome their needs and drive their vehicles if you live in a state with a small number of E85 fuel stations.
Is E85 fuel better than regular gas?
E85 fuel offers many benefits over regular gas, making it a choice for people concerned about the cost and environmental pollution.
Less harmful emissions
It produces toxic gases like benzene that can pollute the environment over time.
In addition, it evaporates quickly in the air due to higher volatility and releases a higher percentage of CO2.
Moreover, it releases acetaldehyde, which is highly carcinogenic and affects human health.
So, they have helped to overcome its side effects by producing less harmful emissions as ethanol has low volatility.
Furthermore, it is clean burning fuel that reduces the emission of harmful gases to almost half of those produced by gasoline and helps slow down climate changes.
Cleaning of engine
Ethanol is known for its cleaning properties and removes all the stains and microbes from a surface. In addition, E85 contains almost 80% to 83% of ethanol, which helps remove carbon deposits from the engine.
It can efficiently clean valves, pistons, rings, and combustion chambers by removing all types of deposits. Moreover, it helps keep the engine in perfect shape and reduces maintenance efforts.
Furthermore, it increases the engine’s longevity and its internal components as there is a formation of rust and dirt that can block the passage of fuel injectors.
It is produced from crops like corn, a renewable energy source, while gasoline is produced from fossil fuels that are depleting.
Moreover, it reduces the emission of greenhouse gases to almost 30% to 34% and keeps the environment clean. The amount of carbon dioxide from cars is absorbed by the grains when they are grown in fields.
So, it is considered a sustainable energy source, having no negative impact on the environment, making it eco-friendly. It is a greener choice and easier to produce.
Many laboratories have tested the eco-friendly nature of E85 and confirmed that it does not produce greenhouse gases more than gasoline.
Better engine performance
These cars perform better as it helps avoid knocking due to higher octane numbers.
It ensures quick ignition and allows the flame to propagate in a short time, which leads to improved performance of the engine. In addition, higher octane fuels improve the power of the engine and the speed of the car.
Moreover, high cylinder pressure and quick flow of exhaust gases allow the engine to produce almost 15% to 20% more power and increase the engine torque.
Lower maintenance cost
The E85 cars require lower maintenance as it has cleaning properties that reduce the buildup of carbon deposits on the engine compartments.
It cleans the exhaust system and fuel injectors that keep an engine running at cool temperatures. So, you do not have to take your vehicle for regular maintenance to the mechanic.
In addition, it costs lesser than others, making it a better choice. You can fill up your tank with E85 at a rate of $2.80 to $2.95 as its price varies in different regions.
While regular gas can cost you about $4.18 to $4.30, that is more expensive than blended fuel.
So, the selection of blended fuel is an inexpensive choice that requires a lesser amount for purchasing and maintenance.
What type of fuels are not good for E85 cars?
The design of flex-fuel cars and their internal systems are suitable for regular gas and a blended type of fuel like E85, which is a blend of ethanol and gasoline.
However, you cannot use gas with lead or other metallic additives because it only suits unleaded fuel.
The injectors of E85 cars are based on advanced technology, and the sensors can detect their purity and the amount of ethanol in them.
In addition, you cannot use diesel in these automobiles because their engines are not made to consume it or cause wearing of the motor and knocking.
Specific diesel engines can burn diesel to produce power and improve the vehicle’s performance.
So, it is better to avoid using leaded gasoline or diesel in flex-fuel cars, which can only run on unleaded and mixed gasoline.
Is ethanol present in regular gasoline?
Regular gasoline contains a small quantity of ethanol to oxygenate the fuel. Almost 95% to 98% of the gas used in the US contains 10% ethanol.
It is not recommended to use 100% pure gas in modern vehicles to cut off the cost of fuel and to increase the durability of the engine.
Moreover, it produces less harmful emissions; mixing a small quantity of ethanol in a ratio of 9:1 works well.
Many modern automobiles are consuming E10, E15, and E85 containing 10%, 15%, and 85% of ethanol in gasoline, which helps improve their performance.