E85 ETHANOL: CHECK IF YOU ALREADY HAVE A FLEX FUEL CAR
Choosing E85 ethanol the next time you fill your vehicle's fuel tank would help reduce the smog in your city's skies – helping people breathe cleaner air – while improving the U.S. economy and lessening America's dependence on foreign oil imports, according to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition.
Many late-model cars are already "flex-fuel" vehicles, which means they can operate on either gasoline or E85 – a blend of fuel that contains 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Some vehicles manufactured as early as 1999 are flex-fuel. Ethanol is an alcohol fuel made from renewable corn and other plant-based materials, as opposed to gasoline, a petroleum-based fuel made from non-renewable fossil fuels.
E85 has the highest oxygen content of any fuel available today, allowing it to burn more completely than conventional gasoline. E85 contains 80 percent fewer smog-forming compounds than gasoline, reports the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, which can reduce respiratory illnesses and help everybody breathe more healthfully.
In addition, using E85 reduces carbon dioxide and other "greenhouse gases" by 40-50 percent, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Greenhouse gases are thought to contribute to global warming.
Fortunately, E85 is easy to use and can be pumped into vehicles in the same manner as conventional gasoline. You could even save money by fueling your car with E85 ethanol.
Because E85 is a relatively new product, it can be used only by flex-fuel vehicles — those manufactured to use either type of fuel. Take a moment to check if your vehicle can run on E85.
E85 is growing in popularity, but there are a limited number of service stations offering the alternative fuel. See if there is an E85 fuel station near you. The upper Midwest currently leads in the manufacture and sale of E85 with more than 430 stations.