Vehicles Running on E85 Available in the United States

by : Lauren Woods

Due to the increased threat of global warming and the Bush administration's goal to reduce gasoline consumption, the alternative fuel industry has been booming. There are already pumps in the United States which supplies alternative fuels like biodiesel and bio-ethanol for owners of vehicles which run on such fuels. These alternative fuels are serving a host of flex fuel vehicles already being sold in the U.S.

Vehicles which run on E85, a combination of bio-ethanol and conventional gasoline, are already making their appearances in showrooms and roads across the United States. These vehicles burn cleaner fuel and therefore produce less greenhouse gases which contribute to the protection of the environment.

Vehicles running on E85 are increasing in number. Bio-ethanol powered vehicles which are available in the United States include the Buick Terraza; the Chevrolet Avalanche, Express, Impala, Monte Carlo, Silverado, Suburban, Tahoe, and Uplander; the Chrysler Aspen, Sebring, and Town & Country; for Dodge, the Caravan/ Grand Caravan, Durango, Dakota, and the Ram. Two Ford vehicles are also available in E85 fuel configuration - the Ford Crown Victoria and the Ford F-150 Pickup Truck. GMC offers four flex fuel vehicles - the GMC Savana, Sierra, Yukon, and Yukon XL. Other flex fuel vehicles are the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Commander, Lincoln Town Car, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Mercury Grand Marquis, Nissan Armada and the Nissan Titan and the latter two can be fitted with a system for a better performance.

The use of bio-ethanol on engines is unlike biodiesel which does not need modification. Since ethanol is corrosive in nature, different parts of the engine and other auto parts needs to be fortified to withstand the corrosive nature of the fuel. The price of bio-ethanol is lower than that of gasoline but it contains less energy per gallon which means that consumers will consume more fuel to travel a given distance compared when using gasoline.

But the positive thing about the use of bio-ethanol is that it produces 80 percent less greenhouse gas when burned compared to petroleum gasoline. This means that vehicles running on E85 contribute less to global warming. Another advantage that bio-ethanol has over gasoline is that it comes from a renewable source. Bio-ethanol is produced from starch or sugar which is present on a wide variety of crops.

Currently, bio-ethanol as fuel is just entering its development phase and although E85 is already available and vehicles are already being manufactured to run on the fuel, there is still a lot of development that the fuel needs to go through. President Bush recently urged the U.S. Congress to approve the requested fund for the development of ethanol as fuel.

Today, the main source of ethanol is corn although there are also other sources of the said alternative fuel like wood chips. Further development of ethanol will bring the cost of the fuel even lower to make it really practical for consumers.