My Car Won’t Run E85, Maybe Yours?

Yesterday, I noticed the signage at the gas station up the street was showing prices for unleaded gasoline and E85, the fuel made of 85% ethanol and just 15% petroleum. E85 can be made from sugar cane, corn, wheat, just about any starch. Here in the midwest the obvious choice is corn.

As a quick aside, on our last cross-country road trip Jen and I noticed Nebraskan gas stations were promoting the higher percentage of ethanol in the fuels they sold. Next door in Wyoming, the signs proclaimed “There’s No Corn in our Gas!”. With Wyoming not known for their corn production prowess it seemed like a fairly empty statement.

Back to E85, if you’re driving a Flexible Fuel Vehicle like a Ford Explorer or Chrysler minivan, E85 is 30 to 50 cents cheaper per gallon than regular unleaded. Frankly, I’m pretty surprised at the list of Flexible Fuel Vehicles, all trucks and SUVs. Considering how poor their mileage is to begin with, definitely a good thing. Still, I was disappointed not to see the Neon or PT Cruiser on the list.

Minnesota Public Radio’s story on E85.