E85 gas (also known as flex fuel) is a high-level combination of ethanol and gasoline that consists of 51 percent to 83 percent ethanol blended with gasoline. The percentage of ethanol depends on the geographical location and time of the year. It can be used in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which are available from domestic and foreign automakers.
E85 is the most common form of flex fuel available on the market. Because ethanol is corn-based, ethanol has a lower heating value than gasoline, so it makes it harder to start a car’s engine in areas with a cold climate. This difficulty in cold cranking is why ethanol blends contain a fraction of gasoline. E85 gas is suitable for use in any vehicle designated as a flex-fuel vehicle by the manufacturer.
When fueling their flex-fuel vehicles with E85 instead of regular gasoline, drivers won’t notice many differences other than a decrease in miles per gallon. Compared to gasoline, ethanol provides less energy per gallon, meaning that the higher the percentage of ethanol, the more significant the impact on fuel economy.
Depending on the driver’s location and the ups and downs of the energy markets, the cost of E85 can vary greatly, especially when compared to regular gasoline and E10. While E85 gas costs less than regular gasoline at the pump, the decrease in miles per gallon makes it more expensive when driving. Despite the lower miles per gallon, flex-fuel vehicles often put out more torque and more horsepower when running on E85 instead of regular gasoline.
Everything has its pros and cons, even this does.
Critics of E85 and ethanol, in general, argue that its lower heating value outweighs any benefits. Supporters counter that argument by pointing out that heating value does not factor into overall efficiency. Adding a fraction of gasoline to ethanol blends can counteract the low heating value. E85 also has higher octane content, which can provide more engine power.
And on the other hand, supporters of E85 usage argue that if automotive manufacturers would recognize and take advantage of ethanol-based fuel’s superior traits, they could make an ethanol engine that was as efficient as one powered by gasoline. According to these proponents, an ethanol engine that can reach up to 22 percent more miles per gallon than a gasoline engine already exists. It’s wrong, they say, to base ethanol engine design on that of a gas engine when ethanol is closer to diesel fuel.
Though right now, it is not available in all countries and places. Places where it is available, it is being used and fallen back on, quite a lot as compared to gasoline. This tells us that ethanol-based products, like E 85 are here to stay in the market.