What Cars Can Use E85? (Detailed Explanation)

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You’ve read and heard the several benefits of E85 gas but you’re unsure if your vehicle can run the fuel? Well, E85 gas is meant for flex-fuel vehicles; it is not advisable to use the gas on vehicles that are compatible to run E85 fuel. So, what cars can use E85?

Once again, E85 gas is specifically meant for flex-fuel vehicles! E85 is a type of fuel, or rather gas, with a very high ethanol concentration.

The high ethanol content is what delivers the most benefits you’ve heard and read about this fuel type. If you put E85 into a non-flex-fuel vehicle, you could be risking a disastrous mistake.

E85 Gas Overview

E85 gas, also called “Flex-Fuel, but commonly shortened as E85, is a type of gas that contains 85% ethanol and 15% natural gas or any other hydrocarbon (depending on the need). For auto engines, the mixture is usually ethanol and natural unleaded gasoline; ethanol takes the highest concentration, up to 85%.

This is poised to deliver more benefits than typical unleaded gasoline used in internal combustion vehicles. However, there are unique differences and advantages to using either of these gases – e85 and 87/91 gas. E85 gas is meant to power flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) and should not be used in regular ICE vehicles.

Compared with regular gasoline, E85 has more electrical conductivity, higher oxygen content, and can absorb moisture. Other enticing advantages of E85 that make it seem catchy to auto owners include:

  • It is cleaner – releases fewer air pollutants
  • Provides higher resistance to engine knocking
  • Unlocks more horsepower due to the high oxygen content

Well, don’t get too excited, the “CONs” of E85 is pretty worth talking about. First, the gas is limited in supply, you may not find it in your region. Also, it is not as efficient as regular gasoline; it gives you less MPG (miles per gallon). Lastly, E85 is NOT meant for all cars; it is only for specific cars.

What Cars Can Use E85?

The answer is “Flex Fuel vehicles.” Yes, only flex-fuel vehicles can run E85 gas. So, if your vehicle is not a flex-fuel vehicle, you obviously cannot run E85 in the engine – doing so might cause catastrophic damage to the engine, to the point that you may need a complete engine rebuild or replacement.

Flex-Fuel Vehicles, shortened as FFVs, are designed with unique software that adjusts the air-fuel ratio used by the engine; well, regular ICE vehicles have a computer that does a similar job, but that doesn’t make the both of them compatible with each other.

If your vehicle is meant to use E85, it’d be clearly indicated in the owner’s manual, and in most cases, you’d get to know at the point of buying the car. However, if you’re unsure what type of fuel to put into your car’s engine, there are a few ways to identify FFVs that are meant to run e85 gas.

How To Identify Cars That Can Use E85 Gas

If you’re not sure if your car is an FFV, one of the quickest ways to find out is to look at the gas cap. Typically, FFVs come with a yellow gas cap with imprints indicating the type of fuel to be filled into the car. Another easy way is to look for the fuel type label/sticker usually placed on the inside of the gas tank door.

Of course, going through the owner’s manual is yet another surefire way to spot if your car is designed to run with E85 gas. But, apparently, if you’re sure you’ve got a flex-fuel vehicle, then you shouldn’t bother doing all these checks – fill in the E85 gas and drive.

Can E85 Cars Use Regular Gasoline?

Funny as it may seem, while regular ICE vehicles cannot run on E85 fuel, flex-fuel vehicles (E85 cars) can run with 100% natural gas. Yes, this means that you can drive into a gas station and fill 83 gas, 87 gas, or 91 gas into your flex-fuel vehicle that is meant to use E85 gas.

The reason for this is because E85 engines are flexible and designed to run on multiple fuel types. You can use pure alcohol (Ethanol) only fuel, gasoline online, or a blend of ethanol and gasoline (E85) on flex-fuel engines. Sounds interesting? Yeah, it should.

Well, E85 gas is usually scarce, you may not find it in some regions; so, for FFV owners in such regions, the bait is regular gasoline (preferably Premium Gas – 91). Premium gas has a high octane and offers almost the same benefits as Ethanol gas (E85). Now you get it?

What Happens When You Use E85 In Conventional ICEs?

Regular ICE vehicles are not designed to handle alcohol (Ethanol). So, putting ethanol-rich gas into the engine can cause it to corrode due to the high alcoholic concentration.

Also, the rubber parts of the engines could dry out, and the sensors (along with other sensitive components) may fail over time as you continue using the E85 gas. All these possible problems could collectively total your conventional gasoline engine; thus, sending you to the market for a new engine or rebuild.

Well, the fatality may not happen instantly as you put the E85 gas into your conventional gasoline vehicle, but one thing is certain, it’d happen sooner than you may have predicted it to occur. So, it’s simple; use E85 on flex-fuel vehicles only.

What More?

Talking about “what cars can use E85 gas,” the simple and only answer is “Flex-fuel Vehicles.” The invention of E85 gas is to create a renewable fuel that’s more environmentally friendly than regular gasoline and diesel.

However, E85 gas hasn’t been perfected yet, a lot of effort is still being put into the fuel production to make it match the efficiency and overall functionality of regular/premium unleaded gas.

If you’re unsure of what gas to put in your car, check the owner’s manual or inspect the gas tank closely, you should be able to find out if the car could run E85 gas or regular gasoline.

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