In recent years, the number of flex-fuel vehicles on offer has increased. However, there has been some confusion about what fuels can and cannot be used with these cars. Can regular gasoline be used in a flex fuel vehicle or is it dangerous?
In this guide, we cover the types of gasoline that a flex-fuel vehicle can use. We also look at the pros and cons of owning a flex-fuel vehicle.
What happens if you use regular gasoline in a flex fuel vehicle?
Regular gasoline can be used in your flex-fuel vehicle. The flex fuel Engine is designed to run on gasoline and other types of fuel. Gas mixed with methanol or ethanol can be used. Whatever fuel is used, it will be put in the same tank, because there is only one.
You don’t want to put diesel fuel in the FFV tank. Additionally, you should never use leaded gasoline, which is not available these days. With the flex fuel designation, you want to stick with regular unleaded gasoline or E85 gas.
meaning of flexible fuel
The flex-fuel or flex-fuel vehicle is an alternative option that uses a combination of gasoline and ethanol or methanol. Flexible fuel vehicles contain an internal combustion engine, except that they run on more than one type of fuel.
Although it is almost identical to the typical gasoline engine, there are some changes to the fuel system and engine.
According to the Department of Energy, there are more than 21 million flex-fuel vehicles currently on the roads of the United States. However, the technology is not new. It was first created in the 1990s, although it was not popular back then.
RELATED: Ethanol (E85) vs Gasoline: Differences (Pros and Cons)
Benefits of flexible fuel vehicles
1. Better for the environment
Ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline. With flexible fuel, fewer toxic gases are released into the environment.
Using flex fuel can also produce fewer greenhouse gases. For these reasons, it is a more environmentally friendly option.
2. Burning flexibility
There is much more flexibility with the flex fuel vehicle. It can burn normal gasoline or in a different proportion.
Due to its advanced design, it can use E85 or unleaded fuel, allowing you to stop anywhere for gas. Electronic sensors installed in the engine help ensure the correct ratio at all times.
3. More durable
Ethanol is a fuel produced from sustainable ingredients. It is usually made from corn and cane sugar.
For this reason, it is much more sustainable to produce ethanol, especially in the Midwest part of the country. It is a better option than continuing to buy oil abroad.
4. High-tech design
Flex fuel vehicles are equipped with some of the latest technologies, including high-tech sensors that change the ratios. Thanks to these advances, the car automatically adjusts its operation according to the fuel used.
The flex-fuel car can run on gasoline containing as little as 10% ethanol in the blend. At the other end of the spectrum, you could use gas containing up to 85% ethanol.
RELATED: The Pros and Cons of Ethanol Fuel
5. Tax exemptions
If you drive a flex-fuel vehicle, you may qualify for tax relief. Everyone can enjoy a small discount on annual taxes, so it’s a welcome savings.
Of course, flex fuel tax breaks pale in comparison to EV credits. However, every dollar counts.
6. Improved performance
Reports on the performance of flex-fuel vehicles are mixed. However, we must focus on what is done well.
When filling the tank with E85 fuel, there will be no loss of power compared to regular unleaded gasoline. On the contrary, some people report an increase in power and torque.
Disadvantages of flexible fuel vehicles
1. Limited production methods
No one can argue with the benefits of creating fuel from corn and sugar cane. However, this type of production has a negative side. If the crop is grown solely for fuel production, it reduces how it can be used for other purposes.
The result is an increase in the price of animal feed. Additionally, corn can be subject to disease damage and is subject to weather conditions. In the event of a drought or flood, crops can be destroyed. During periods of poor harvests, the supply of corn is reduced, which harms, among other things, the fuel industry.
2. Poor fuel consumption
While you may see an increase in performance with the use of ethanol, the fuel economy is not as significant. When using E85, you can expect to see a slight drop in gas mileage.
Some publications claim that it is comparable. However, we encourage you to do more research on the topic as many owners claim otherwise.
What is the reason for the lower fuel consumption? Ethanol raises the octane level of the fuel, which is where the extra performance comes from. However, ethanol contains less energy. For this reason, 1.5 times more ethanol is needed to provide the same level of energy as regular unleaded gasoline. This translates into fewer miles per gallon.
However, E85 costs less than regular gasoline. Because of this, you could still spend less overall.
3. Less reliable engines
It’s great that the flex fuel engine offers more flexibility. It’s also notable how advanced the technology is. However, none of this increases the reliability of the engine.
Ethanol absorbs more dirt than regular unleaded gasoline. Because of this, the engine can corrode and be damaged much more easily. These engines may not last as long, especially if the E85 is used more frequently.
4. Shortage of gas stations
Flex fuel is not as desirable as regular gasoline. For that reason alone, not all gas stations offer it. Unless you’re driving in the Midwest, you could drive a long time before you find E85. Although every day more gas stations continue to carry it.
As the flex fuel vehicle becomes more popular, you will have more options. Until then, for now you can always rely on regular, unleaded gasoline.
What happens if I put E85 in my regular tank?
If you have a regular engine in your car, you don’t want to use E85 fuel. If you install it by accident, it is likely that the check Engine Light will come on. However, you can top it off with regular fuel and try to scare it away. To help solve this problem, continue filling the tank with regular gasoline as it runs out.
Mixing E85 gas once shouldn’t cause any long-term harm, but you don’t want to make it a practice.