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Flexible Fuel Vehicle Basics

August 20, 2013 - 9:05am

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Photo of a gray van with 'E85 Ethanol' written on the side.Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) have an internal combustion engine and are capable of operating on gasoline, E85 (a high-level blend of gasoline and ethanol), or a mixture of both. There are more than 10.6 million flexible fuel vehicles on U.S. roads today. However, many flexible fuel vehicle owners don't realize their car is an FFV and that they have a choice of fuels.

Flexible fuel vehicles are similar to conventional gasoline vehicles. Like gasoline vehicles, they contain one fueling system; however, FFVs have ethanol-compatible components and are made to accommodate the higher oxygen content of E85. For this reason, E85 should only be used in ethanol-capable FFVs.

An FFV's power, acceleration, payload, and cruise speed are comparable whether running on ethanol or gasoline. The only noticeable difference is that the fuel economy is lower when FFVs run on ethanol.

Visit the Alternative Fuels Data Center to learn more about flexible fuel vehicles.

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