Will My Car Run on E85?

History

Ethanol fuel blends have been used for more than a century, with Henry Ford calling ethyl alcohol the fuel of the future in 1925. Alcohol blends have been used since the 1830s as a cheaper replacement for pricey whale oil.

Significance

E85 cars are designed to accept either an ethanol blend or straight gasoline. According to Southern Illinois University, an "...on-board computer monitors the fuel mixtures and automatically adjusts the spark timing and fuel flow to the engine."

Flex Fuel Capable

Your owner's manual will tell you if your car can run on E85 fuel. In addition, some manufacturers include stickers and special badging on cars to denote flex fuel capability.

Warning

Running your car on ethanol can damage your car, as E85 is a corrosive agent. Rings, seals and the gas tank can corrode if your car is not designed to run on this type of fuel. Be careful: E85 and gas pump nozzles are the same size at fueling stations.

Retrofit

Most any vehicle can be retrofitted to run on E85. Aftermarket kits are available to help consumers make the switch. Today's cars may be able to run on a variety of fuels, including ethanol also known as E85. Consisting of 85 percent denatured alcohol and 15 percent straight gasoline, only select passenger vehicles are designed to use this fuel.