Flexible Fuel Vehicles: Providing a Renewable Fuel Choice Page: 2 of 2
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conversions need to be done by authorized companies and
require certification by the EPA or the California Air Resources
Board. In addition, converting a vehicle to E85 may affect its
For more information on the vehicle conversion process, refer
to the EPA's Updated Certification Guidance for Alternative
Fuel Converters on its Web site at www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/
Does E85 affect vehicle performance?
FFVs operating on E85 generally handle and perform just as
well as when fueled with gasoline. Sensors in the FFV system
automatically prompt adjustments for fuel composition, so
emissions and standard performance areas such as power
and acceleration are not significantly affected by E85.
One difference between E85 and gasoline, however, is fuel
economy. Ethanol contains less energy per gallon, which
translates into a reduction in fuel economy compared to
gasoline. No matter what type of fuel is used, however, fuel
mileage is affected by driving habits, weather, ethanol blend
in the tank, and other factors.
Standard testing results for fuel economy of FFVs and their
gasoline counterparts are posted on the combined EPA and
U.S. Department of Energy Web site at www.fueleconomy.gov.
What are the costs and benefits of using E85?
Special features enabling vehicles to run on E85 can add a
minimal cost to their purchase price. Often these features are
standard or even offered as a no-cost option. Because they
have a solid performance history, manufacturers provide
standard warranties for FFVs equal to those for gasoline
vehicles at no additional charge.
Fuel, however, may be a cost factor. E85's reduced fuel
economy compared to gasoline, as explained in the previous
section, can increase fuel costs. But this cost differential is
highly variable because it is based on ethanol and gasoline
price differences. Like gasoline, ethanol prices fluctuate and
are set based on market supply and demand. This variability
means that a driver may or may not experience a difference
in overall fuel costs, depending on local pump prices. To
compare the price of fueling with E85 versus gasoline, use
the AFDC's Flexible Fuel Vehicle Cost Calculator at www.eere.
energy.gov/fleetguide/costanal.php?0/E85 *Flex *Fuel.
Even though FFV fuel economy when operating on E85 is less
than conventional fuel, E85 provides reductions in life-cycle
greenhouse gas emissions because of its renewable source
component.' Recent, limited tests indicate that E85 use
results in reduced CO2 emissions, evaporative emissions, and
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Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program
For more information contact: EERE Information Center
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Energy efficiency and clean, renewable energy will mean a stronger economy,
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DOE/GO-102007-2431 " Mav 2007
specific harmful toxics such as benzene and 1,3 butadiene.
However, E85 may increase aldehyde emissions, which are
toxic pollutants.2 The EPA, National Renewable Energy
Laboratory, and Coordinating Research Council (CRC) are
analyzing E85 emissions to expand the understanding of their
How are FFVs identified?
A look inside the fuel door quickly identifies FFVs. Since
September 2006, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 requires
auto manufacturers to place a label inside the FFV fuel
compartment that states the vehicle can run on either E85
or gasoline. Flexible-fuel capability also is outlined in the
owner's manual and encoded in the vehicle identification
number, or VIN. To help determine if an older vehicle is E85
compatible, visit the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition Web
page on flexible fuel vehicles at www.e85fuel.com/e85101/
Where are E85 stations located?
Stations offering E85 continue to increase across the nation.
At the end of 2006, more than 1,000 stations in at least
45 states sold E85. To find E85 stations throughout the
country, check out the Alternative Fuel Station Locator at
www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/infrastructure/locator.html, a database
maintained by the AFDC. This easy-to-use database allows
users to plot routes either across town or across the nation,
showing E85 stations along the way.
1 Wang, Michael. Ethanol: The Complete Energy Lifecycle Picture, Argonne National
Laboratory, March 2007.
2 Whitney, Kevin (Southwest Research Institute); Fernandez, Tony (U. S. Environmental
Protection Agency). "Characterization of Cold Temperature VOC and PM Emissions from Flex
Fuel Vehicles Operating on Ethanol Blends." Presented at the 17th CRC On-Road Vehicle
Emissions Workshop, March 26-28, 2007.
Alternative Fuels Data Center: www.eere.energy.gov/afdc/altfuel/ethanol html
American Coalition for Ethanol: www.ethanoLtorg
Clean Cities: wwweere.energy.gov/cleancities
Clean Fleet Guide: www.eere.energy.gov/fleetguide
E85 Fleet Toolkit: wwweere.energy.gov/afdc/e85toolkit
Environmental Protection Agency: wwwepa.gov/otaq/consumer/fuels/
Fuel Economy: www.fueleconomy.gov
National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition: wwwe85fuel.com
Renewable Fuels Association: wwwethanolrfa.org
Prepared by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
NREL is a U.S. Department of Energy National Laboratory
Operated by Midwest Research Institute " Battelle
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Flexible Fuel Vehicles: Providing a Renewable Fuel Choice, report, May 1, 2007; Golden, Colorado. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc881613/m1/2/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.