Conserving Energy With E85 Fuel

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If you are in the market for a new or used car, then you might be interested in exploring your options beyond those vehicles that run on gasoline. With regular fuel costing at least $3.00 per gallon, alternatives should be explored. Besides, if you can reduce emissions in the process, wouldn’t that be something to consider too?

Diesels cars are much more efficient than gasoline powered vehicles, but only the newest models meet current pollution standards. Right now the pickings are slim, therefore what cars you can find will likely be luxury models. Not the type of vehicle most college students can afford to drive!

Hybrids have caught on, but good luck finding one that isn’t expensive. Even a used Prius will cost you a handsome chunk as depreciation rates are very low.

Another alternative are flex fuel vehicles, those cars, trucks, vans and SUVs which can run on either straight gasoline or on ethanol fuel. Ethanol is a renewal fuel, typically made from corn. Millions of these vehicles are already on American highways; read on to learn the pluses and minuses of operating a car that has flex fuel abilities:

Flex fuel vehicles are catching on in popularity. Many of the major automotive manufacturers offer vehicles that run on E85 fuel (85% ethanol, 15% straight gasoline) and they sell these vehicles for little or no mark up over gasoline versions.

Pumps are going up across the US. Granted, if you live in the upper Midwest, you’ll find that E85 pumps are widespread. Not so elsewhere. New Jersey, Mississippi, and Hawaii are a handful of states still without pumps, but that is a major improvement from just one year earlier when about half the states didn’t have pumps. Definitely, the movement is picking up steam.

Fuel economy is down, while octane is up. On the downside,  you can actually expect to see fuel economy decrease when using ethanol (on average 20%) but if you want raw power, than 105 octane E85 delivers.

Prices are good in some areas, not so in others. In another good news/bad news area, prices are more than 20% lower than gasoline in some states, but the difference isn’t all that significant elsewhere.  As mentioned earlier, ethanol is less efficient than straight gasoline, so you’ll need to see a price differential of at least 20% to make it worthwhile for you.

There is no federal tax credit for buying a flex fuel vehicle and, to my knowledge, no state credits exist either. Buying a flex fuel vehicle makes sense if you live near Chicago or Kansas City, but not if you live in New York City or New Orleans, as availability is difficult and prices aren’t all that great.

Still, if you want to do your part to clean up the environment, then a car that comes with E85 capabilities is something for you to consider.

If you are looking to finance an E85 car, use an auto loan calculator to determine how much car you can afford. Examine your loan options to learn about ways you can save money.

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Categories: Campus Cars