Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs):
Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are designed to run on gasoline or E85. E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. FFVs have been produced since 1998, and more and more manufacturers enter the market all of the time. You may own a FFV and not even know it. To determine if your vehicle is an FFV, check the inside of your car's fuel filler door for an identification sticker, yellow gas cap, or consult your owner's manual. You can also look at our FFV Consumer Brochure that has a flex-fuel identifier that lists all available makes and models by model year.
There are more than 13 million FFVs on American roads that are designed and warranted to run on ethanol blends higher than 10%. This represents almost 4% of the national vehicle fleet, totaling 240 million automobiles. Automakers such as General Motors, Saab, Volkswagen, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Mercedes Benz, Isuzu, Mazda, Chrysler, Toyota, Bentley, and Nissan all offer various models equipped with flex-fuel technology. As the production of FFVs continues to increase and the infrastructure investments are made in higher level ethanol blends, fuels like E20, E30 and E85 will gain a bigger share of the gasoline marketplace.
The Big Three American automakers – General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler – have pledged to make half of all their new vehicles 2012 and beyond FFVs. Based upon RFA analysis, they did meet these targets in 2012. This production in 2012 put more than one million new FFVs into the market.
Looking for an E85 station? With approximately 3,000 fuel retail stations in the U.S. selling E85, we have several tools that will help you find the closest station, no matter where you are in the country.
Garmin or TomTom GPS Device: Follow these simple instructions on how to download Points of Interests for either brand of GPS device to find E85 stations wherever you travel.
Computer: Access the same system on your computer with even more functions to find E85 stations anywhere in the U.S.
Mobile Phone Applications:
iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch: If you have an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch device, you can use the Flex-Fuel Station Locator app. This app provides the customer with a list of FFVs, locations, driving directions, phone numbers to all E85 stations in their area, as well as the option to search for stations in other cities. It is also free and easy to download from the iTunes App Store. Get instructions and learn more about the Flex-Fuel Locator app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.
Android System: If you have a phone that uses the Android system, you can download the Flex-Fuel Station Locator app for free from Google Play or Amazon. Like the Apple App, this app provides the customer with a list of FFVs, locations, driving directions, phone numbers to all E85 stations in their area, as well as the option to search for stations in other cities. It is also free and easy to download! Get instructions and learn more about the Flex-Fuel Locator app for Android.
Blackberry and all others: If you have internet on your phone, simply open your mobile browser and go to www.afdc.energy.gov/locator/stations. There you will select your alternative fuel and enter your location. It will give you the local stations, help you with directions, provide you with hours of operation, and also provide you a simple click to call the station. If you have a BlackBerry, you can even download an application that will take you right to this spot with one simple click.
The RFA is proud to provide station data to the Alternative Fuels & Advanced Vehicles Data Center to support these efforts and many others.
Are there state incentives for purchasing a Flex-Fuel Vehicle (FFV)?
Yes, but there are just a few select states. To review your state, visit the AFDC's Federal and State Laws and Incentives page.
Does an E85 vehicle obtain more or less miles per gallon?
Ethanol has less energy content than gasoline. However, E85 also has a much higher octane (typically in the 96-98 range) than gasoline. FFVs are not optimized for E85 and therefore experience a 15-20% drop in fuel economy. The actual amount varies tremendously between vehicle models and drivers.
What happens if I fill my vehicle accidentally with E85?
No problems should occur from one mis-fuel, despite your vehicle not being designed for E85, unless your fuel tank was completely empty. It is likely that your "check engine" light will illuminate, and it is recommended that you top off your tank with unleaded fuel as soon as space allows to dilute the ethanol concentration in your tank. Extended use of E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle could cause damage to the fuel system and other components of your vehicle. Ultimately, it is a driver's choice, but it is recommended that ONLY FFVs use E85 (or any other blend above 10% ethanol) and to state that we are not responsible for damages.
Can a legacy vehicle legally be converted to operate on E85?
The short answer is yes, but in reality, it is very complicated. Nearly all vehicles that can operate on E85 were built by an OEM, like General Motors or Ford. The complicated process of receiving EPA certification is difficult. The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 gave the EPA the authority to implement regulations that require the exhaust emissions from vehicles converted to run on alternative fuels be "as clean as the exhaust emissions of the original gasoline equipment." That makes the requirement for an individual wanting to convert a vehicle the same as that of an OEM, like Chrysler. Perhaps more importantly, these individuals or companies are also required to warranty the exhaust emissions from these vehicles for 10 years or 100,000 miles.