Recently I was asked by a customer about the use of “Flex Fuel” . She was confused about the reasons/benefits of using it and if she should be using it. For over a year she has stared at the “Flex Fuel” sticker on her car she bought used at a dealer on the Eastgate Auto Mall. She didn’t buy it for that reason, and the topic never came up in the conversation while buying the car. I know many of you have cars with the little “Flex Fuel” logo on the back and never realized what it meant. Currently there are over 8 million cars on the road can use Flex Fuel and it’s about 10 to 15 percent less than the cost of regular gasoline. To steal a line from the TV infomercials, BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE!
Flex Fuel is about 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, with no loss of performance and less emissions. The problem is that ethanol provides less energy and therefore your car will get between 25 and 30 percent less miles per gallon. Do the math, if the product is 15% less in cost, but you lose 25% of your mileage, it will cost an average of 10% more to run Flex Fuel. If you’re willing to spend that to help lower overall emissions, you should know that a properly maintained exhaust is designed to burn off the harmful chemicals anyway. My recommendation, just use the gas!
The U.S. Department of Energy has put together a pretty cool “Cost Calculator” that includes the use of alternative fuels like E85, http://www.afdc.energy.gov/calc/