There are 250 million vehicles on the road in the United States, and some 19 million of them are flex-fuel. For those of you thinking “Ugh, math,” that’s 1 out of every 13 vehicles!
Of course, you probably see flex-fuel vehicles every day, on the freeways and back roads and parking lots: A large proportion of American-made pickups and SUVs are FFVs, meaning they’re built to run on any mixture of gasoline and ethanol, all the way up to E85 blend.
Sadly, the vast majority of people driving these vehicles have no idea what flex-fuel even means. I know I didn’t, before I started working here. I thought it was a special kind of fuel only for the super-elite. Quite the contrary! To help people understand the pure awesomeness of FFVs and E85, we created the Fuels 101 section of fuelfreedom.org more than a year ago: It includes:
- An explainer on the various fuel types
- A locator for the 2,600 stations that sell E85
- Profiles of retailers that sell higher ethanol blends
But the centerpiece is the Check Your Car feature, in which you can enter your vehicle’s make, model, year and engine type to determine whether you, in fact, drive an FFV. Because the traditional indicators — yellow gas cap, badging on the rear — aren’t always present. Sometimes you have to go looking to find out whether a vehicle is flex-fuel compatible.
Right now car dealerships are in the middle of the summer sale season, as they try to get customers into new vehicles so they can clear the lot of 2016 models. New cars being sold means a lot of used cars going on the market. And if you’re shopping for a used vehicle, consider an FFV.
There’s a wide variety of models available, from SUVs (Chevy Tahoe, Dodge Durango), pickups (the hugely popular Ford F-150 and Chevy Silverado), minivans (Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan) and sedans (Chevy Malibu, Pontiac G6, and the scorching Dodge Charger).
As you can tell, a lot of Dodges are flex-fuel, including the 2017 Journey. Look for “FFV” in the engine specs.
Using E85 is a great way to save money on fuel expenditures; reduce our dependence on foreign oil; make your engine purr; reduce smog-forming tailpipe pollutants; and cut the level of greenhouse-gas emissions.
If you need a new or used car, consider an FFV. And if you already have one, look into what it can do.