Flex Fuel vehicles are designed to run on petrol alone or blends of petrol and higher ethanol concentrations.
They are common in Europe and the United States, but only a few Flex Fuel models are sold here.
- E85 offers a genuine alternative to petroleum based fuels for vehicles that are designed to use it.
- E85 has not been widely accepted in Australia due to limited availability and the significant increase in fuel consumption it produces.
- Fuel containing 85 percent ethanol has about 26 percent less energy content than petrol so compared to petrol, more fuel will be used to travel the same distance.
- The increase in consumption is dependent on the amount of ethanol in the mix but expect Increases in the order of 30 percent.
- To ensure correct engine performance for all seasons the ethanol content varies between 70 percent and 85 percent.
- The octane rating of E85 is around 105 RON (Research Octane Number), but will vary slightly depending on the season.
- E85 is typically about 20 cents / litre cheaper than ULP but the lower price is unlikely to off-set the increase in fuel consumption.
- Compared with normal petroleum products, E85 can provide environmental benefits by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Fuel containing high concentrations of ethanol is only suitable for vehicles that have been specifically designed for it. The use of it in vehicles not designed for it will cause drivability problems and damage to non-compatible fuel system components.
To find out if your car can use E85 check your vehicle’s handbook or contact its manufacturer.