Ethanol, E85, Flex Fuel…What Does It All Mean?

How much do you know about E85? Check out these alternative fuel vehicle pictures to learn more!
General Motors

Flex Fuel? Ethanol? E85? Been wondering what exactly all of this means?

You are probably not alone.

In an effort to reduce our fossil fuel consumption, automakers and fuel companies have been looking into the addition of a product in with the gasoline that would allow vehicles to perform just as well while lowering our dependence on the petroleum product. Ethanol emerged as a renewable source of high-octane, clean-burning fuel and is derived primarily from corn products here in the U.S.

Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are designed to run on a certain blend of the Ethanol in with unleaded gasoline with concentrations of the Ethanol as high as 85 percent, thus giving us the E85 derivative.

While most fuel contains some percentage of Ethanol these days only vehicles with the Flex Fuel designation can tolerate the E85 blend and no production vehicles run on pure Ethanol (grain alcohol).

Ethanol-based fuels are touted as being more environmentally friendly than gasoline only as carbon monoxide emissions are reduced and as it contains 35 percent oxygen it burns cleaner and more completely than gasoline.