IdentificationBecause of the spike in the interest of alternative fuels and alternative fuel vehicles, many car manufacturers have begun making and selling E85 or Flex-Fuel compatible cars. Chrysler offers at least 15 different models which are considered flex fuel vehicles. They include Jeeps, mini-vans, passenger cars and a couple of truck models.
Ford offers 16 different models which are flex fuel compatible, some of which are 2-wheel drive, and others which are 4-wheel drive. They also offer some SUVs in a flex fuel model.
General Motors leads the domestic pack with 30 different flex-fuel models to choose from. They offer everything from passenger cars to SUVs, trucks and even Hummers.
Import auto makers; Isuzu, Toyota, Mercedes, Nissan and Mazda also offer flex fuel models of some of their vehicles.
BenefitsThere are some benefits to purchasing a flex-fuel vehicle. The laws and incentives vary depending on state, however, purchasing a flex fuel vehicle can sometimes result in different tax breaks when you file your federal taxes. Other times, your state can receive money from the federal government, when people in your state buy flex fuel vehicles. The federal government often offers states money for additional renewable energy sources, or money that can be used in making the state greener.
MisconceptionsThough a flex-fuel vehicle runs like any other vehicle, maintenance can sometimes be a little different. Ford used to require that synthetic oil be used in its flex-fuel Taurus model, however, they have since changed that.
Chrysler FFV models require a special blend of FFV oil in their vehicle models. It is believed that during cold starts, uncombusted ethanol might migrate past the piston ring. If this happens, it could result in something called cylinder wall washing. Cylinder wall washing reduces the lubrication on the cylinder wall and could dilute the oil if it runs into the crankcase.
GM allows regular oil to be used in their FFV models, while Ford does the same.