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Don't try this! We mean it. DO NOT TRY THIS! The American Coalition for Ethanol ran a 2000 Chevy Tahoe, not a flex-fuel vehicle, exclusively on E85 for 100,000 miles. Then they stripped down the engine and took a look. Everything looked fine. Fuel lines, fuel pumps, etc. In fact, they say a few things looked better than normal. The video includes a look at the parts of the engine from that Tahoe.

Again, DO NOT TRY THIS but car companies know they must comply with small percentage blends of ethanol. So most cars made since the early '90s can handle ethanol. The only problem is that non flex-fuel vehicles don't have the sensors necessary to detect ethanol content. They also don't have the control software to manage the air fuel mixture properly. So your car might run on E85, it just won't run well. It could also cause major damage and using E85 usually voids your warranty. So that's why you should not try it.

This leads to an interesting potential. What if a private or public group went to car manufacturers or did tests on their own to find out which cars could withstand E85? Then this was made available to the public. This would be great for the ethanol market. Many people think ethanol is bad because it's more polluting and less efficient. The creation of a mild or soft flex fuel standard won't make them happy.

(fellow AutoblogGreen blogger Sam Abuelsamid contributed to this article)

[Source: Youtube]


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  • 66 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      I've been experimenting with a 1995 ford escort and E85. It runs just fine and I've been doing it for about a year now. If I run a mix of at least two gallons of regular gas to 10 gallons of E85 no probs. However, when I try to run pure E85, the engine light comes on once in a while when I come to stop, but it goes off when I return to cruizing. No ill effects on the performance either way. I've been saving about $6 per fill up, and that is significant when it takes about $40 to fill up today.
        Cindy Weidhas
        • 2 Days Ago

        The check engine light is very likely due to the sensor for your exhaust noticing that the reduction in carbon emissions.

      • 4 Years Ago
      I've been using E85 in all my vehicles for three years.....I purchased three electronic control from Change2E85.com. A 1999 Chevy Tahoe, 2005 Subaru Baja, and a 1999 Nissan Frontier.....I also run my John Deere riding lawn mover and push mower....Extra octane equals more power, especially towing with the Tahoe...
      The best part.....it's made in America and I don't feel like I contributed to the Gulf oil disaster since I'm not addicted to petroleum fuels....
      Also run all of my diesel vehicles on B99......
      Bio-fuels are here now, made in America, renewable and will work in the majority of vehicles....
      • 7 Years Ago
      the point of ethanol and alternative fuels, people, is not for better gas mileage; the point is to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and fossil fuels entirely. and with gas approaching an incomprehensible FIVE dollars a gallon, how expensive will ethanol be by comparison? get real and get smart.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ethanol (E85) isn't all it's crack up to be....

      It's not as powerful as gasoline. So it gives you worse gas mileage than normal gas. It's not cheaper then gas. 30 cents isn't getting it to the gas quality. It needs to be about a dollar cheaper than gas for it to be "worth" buying. It has 33% less power. Plus it's heavily subsidies...But what isn't nowadays? Until, they fix these minor problems with ethanol, tell me. I'm not going to put E85 in my flex-fuel 03' Tahoe till those are resolved.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Alcohol fuel has a higher octane rating and gives you more horsepower.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Before people get too excited about ethanol, what about the ethics of siphoning grains away from uses for food and toward uses for our energy habit? This was a topic considered and debated in an editorial on CarDevotion.com, and it's an important point."


      Or, we could legalize hemp and use that to make ethanol and other bio-fuels. Too bad big companies like DuPont and other interests don't want to compete against hemp so they make sure it stays illegal to grow.

      How sick is that? Rather than get behind a superior product, they worked to ban it so they could control a market.

      How dastardly, how despicable, how greedy can someone be?

      Even though I say these things, the real fault is at the feet of we the people. These crooks paid off our politicians to let them rip us off, which is bad enough, but our politicians actually took the money and did it, and we let them. We listen to them about the dangers of marijuana, and other silly lies, and we just accept it, though it's completely false.

      We'll never have energy independence under this system, because that would mean there was an abundance of cheap energy, which means lower prices and less profits for the energy companies. Yeah, we the people would win, but that's not what the owners want, so that's not what we'll get.
      • 7 Years Ago
      bolhuijo - In my experiments with higher concentrations of fuel ethanol in non-flex fuel vehicles, there was no observable effect. The engine starts and runs smoothly with no lack of power. This is of course the classic case of "your mileage may vary". It will all depend on the programming for your particular vehicle. Based on my observations and direct reports of others, every modern fuel injected vehicle should run on E30 with no impact to performance or emissions.

      This video helps to disprove the FUD around ethanol usage.. much of which is traceable to the petroleum industry.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Tam, in my state ethanol comes from switchgrass & willow branches. I don't think that's going to effect food crops much.
      • 7 Years Ago
      We're eventually not going to have enough farmland to feed Earth's population, anyway. E85 just speeds up the process :)
      • 7 Years Ago
      The big failing of most E85 engines is when they are forced to perform in a flexible fuel mode. Premium pump gasoline's anti-knock characteristics are far inferior to E85, and require engines to be designed to deal with that. Putting E85 in an engine designed for gasoline is a waste in my opinion... too much spark advance is required for a clean burn, not to mention poor fuel economy, and lower power output. Using a fuel with higher anti-knock capabilites like E85 allows the designer to improve the volumetric efficiency of the engine by using higher compression ratios, which provides better power and driveability in a smaller engine. SAAB is building a Euro only E85 car that approaches this somewhat by increasing turbo boost.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I've been running E85 for the last six months in a '90 Volvo 740 with no problems (after I changed the external filter after the fourth tank). Only slightly less milage, but not enough to sucker me out of saving $10 every time I fill up.
      • 7 Years Ago
      E85 is like having to empty a bathtub with a soup can instead of a shot glass. E85 is NOT the answer. Hybrids are NOT the answer. We need to be weaned COMPLETELY off gasoline. That means pure ethanol, electricity, hydrogen or any other renewable source.
      Charlie Peters
      • 7 Months Ago
      The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) collects $billions$ using “Wallet Flushing” car tax. Is it time for CA AG Kamala Harris EPA GMO ethanol fuel waiver conversation?
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