Here at Fuel Freedom Foundation, we talk a lot about “fuel choice.” This is what we mean.
Fuel Freedom has something new this Fourth of July to help Americans declare their independence from oil and its monopoly on the U.S. transportation fuels market.
This week we launched Fuels 101, a set of tools you can use to learn about alternative fuels. The pages include:
- Check Your Car. An interactive feature that allows you to determine whether your car, truck or SUV is a flex-fuel vehicle, and thus can run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol, up to E85 (85 percent ethanol, 15 percent gasoline).
- Fuel Types. A guide to the different transportation fuels, including ethanol and methanol. All facts, no myths.
- Find a Fueling Station. We’re using the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s cool interactive map, which helps you find not only E85 stations, but CNG and others.
Consider Fuels 101 an introductory course in all the alternatives to fuel. Although they come from different sources (ethanol, for instance, can be made from a variety of starchy plants, not just corn) and are made in different ways, their commonality is that they burn cleaner than petroleum-based fuels, reducing toxic pollutants that befoul our air and water. Domestically produced fuels also create American jobs and strengthen our national security.
Give Fuels 101 a spin. Don’t worry, none of it will be on the final.
Fuels 101 is the kickstart to what we’re calling Fuel Freedom Month. Our goal is to raise awareness coast to coast about ways we can all help create a genuinely competitive fuels market for the first time in America.
To learn more about how you can help, visit our Take Action page. And while you’ve got some down time between barbecues and fireworks displays this weekend, watch our all-American documentary film, PUMP the Movie, starring Jason Bateman.
You can also get regular updates on social media by following Fuel Freedom’s Facebook page and Twitter feed. PUMP has cool content as well (it has an independent streak of its own), so check it out on Facebook and Twitter as well.
Happy Independence Day, America!
You’ve seen the badges on the rear ends of cars, trucks and SUVs, likely while you’re stuck in traffic. They say “FlexFuel” or, more descriptively, “FlexFuel … E85 Ethanol.” Almost 20 million vehicles in the United States come off the assembly line as flex-fuel, meaning they can run perfectly well on any mixture of gasoline and ethanol, up to E85 (which is actually 51 percent to 83 percent ethanol, the rest gasoline).
But not all of them have that shiny badge declaring them flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs). Sometimes a yellow gas cap is the dead giveaway, but those caps only started appearing on model-year 2008 vehicles (2006 for General Motors). Buried deep inside the owner’s manual, too, is a notice about which fuels are approved to run in your vehicle.
Now, there’s an easy tool that will tell you whether you’re one of those lucky 20 million whose vehicle can take E85. Fuel Freedom Foundation has just unveiled the Check Your Car tool. You can enter in your vehicle’s make, model, year and engine size, and it’ll tell you whether you’re driving an FFV.
This tool is long overdue, because ever since the first FFV rolled out of the factory — the 1996 Ford Taurus, which actually could run on gasoline, ethanol and methanol — FFV owners have consistently not taken advantage of all these engines can do. Less than 10 percent of such drivers use E85. Part of the reason likely is that only a small percentage of the nation’s fueling stations offer it. But that proportion is rising: E15, which has twice as much ethanol as regular gasoline (which contains up to 10 percent ethanol already), is spreading around the country, and more stations are offering E85 as well.
Using higher ethanol blends, and less gasoline, has multiple benefits:
- It’s cheaper for consumers. The Renewable Fuels Association says blending ethanol into the nation’s gasoline supply saves the average American family about $1,200 a year.
- It’s a natural octane enhancer, which makes engines perform better.
- Since ethanol burns more efficiently, it results in fewer tailpipe emissions being released into the air, which is better for air quality.
- It’s an American-made fuel, requiring American-based jobs. The U.S. only produces less than 10 million barrels of crude a day but consumes some 19 million. The difference must be imported.
Check Your Car is part of our Fuels 101 initiative, which will soon include other features such as an education page about the various fuel types; how to find a station that sells alternative fuels (for the time being, use the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s locator); and how to find a kit that could convert your gasoline-only engine to run on ethanol.
So check back soon. In the meantime, kick the tires and take Check Your Car for a test drive.