E85 and fuel conversion


#1

I’ve got a 2005 Scion xB an currently get 30-35mpg. It’s got 80,000 miles on it (working musician- I drive A LOT!)- e85 gas is currently selling for 30c. - .40c per gal CHEAPER than unleaded. I can’t get Toyota to give me a straight answer as to whether I can use e85 in this car! Even the “customer service” line gives me a run-around! My mechanic said he’s not familiar enough with e85. I also wonder what’s involved with a)converting this car to run on either reg. gas or LNG and b)If I buy a diesel vehicle what’s involved in getting it to run (and CAN it run) on either diesel OR bio-diesel?


#2

No Toyota of any kind can run E85. Not until 2009.


#3

There is a list of vehicles that can be operated on E85 at www.e85fuel.com

If your vehicle is not on the list, you can’t use E85.

Since E85 delivers significantly lower fuel mileage, and does not sell for significantly less than regular gasoline, I’m not even tempted to use it.

As far as I know, ANY diesel can be operated on bio-diesel fuel. Please be aware that bio-diesel fuel and used French fry grease are NOT the same thing.


#4

Your Scion won’t run on E-85.

Before you get too excited about E-85, you should be aware that it contains only 75% as much energy than straight gasoline. A flex fuel car that gets 32 mpg on gasoline will only get 24 mpg on E-85. To make sense financially, the price for E-85 needs to be no more than 75% of the price of straight gasoline. At this time, the price of straight gasoline is at least $3.00 per gallon. Therefore, E-85 needs to be at least 75 cents cheaper, not just 30 or 40 cents cheaper.

At 88k miles, unless you have abused or neglected it, your Scion has a long life ahead of it. We have a 1998 Subaru with 168k miles and a 1984 Mazda RX-7 with 184k miles. Both are still running well. Your Scion is already so economical that the cheapest thing you can do is drive it until it is completely worn out. You will never save enough on fuel to offset the cost of trading it prematurely for a diesel or a gasoline hybrid.

To learn whether a diesel engine will tolerate biodiesel, you need to talk to the manufacturer. The problem is that biodiesel is very hard on the rubber components of fuel systems. Fuel dealers who handle biodiesel have to buy expensive special hoses for it. Ordinary diesel hoses disintegrate in just a few months. The best use for biodiesel is to supplement conventional diesel. At low concentrations, it does not cause problems. As long as biodiesel is more expensive than conventional diesel, it will be cheaper to use pure conventional diesel than any mixture of the two.


#5

Thanks for the info…


#6

I appreciate the info and insight! Especially RE: biodiesel. Within the next year or so I’ll be looking into a tour vehicle (e.g. bus) and there’s a HUGE likelihood that it’ll be a diesel vehicle. Not only from the economic angle but also from a ecological angle I’d like to have the option of running bio-diesel and reg diesel when bio is unavailable…

ATB
Dave


#7

Before you get too excited about E-85, you should be aware that it contains only 75% as much energy than straight gasoline. A flex fuel car that gets 32 mpg on gasoline will only get 24 mpg on E-85. To make sense financially, the price for E-85 needs to be no more than 75% of the price of straight gasoline. At this time, the price of straight gasoline is at least $3.00 per gallon. Therefore, E-85 needs to be at least 75 cents cheaper, not just 30 or 40 cents cheaper.

And this folks is just one more example of why ethanol is a colossal ripoff. Don’t be fooled.


#8

To reiterate what others have said, my Caravan can actually use E85 and I am not prticularly enjoying the gas prices either, but the gas mileage drops by %20-25 per what others have told me and the availability is not great either. So I just pay straight for gas and stare at the E85 sticker.


#9

99% of the “Flex Fuel” vehicles on the road are fueled with regular gasoline. “Flex Fuel” is a smoke-screen used to cover up vehicles that get terrible mileage no matter what fuel they burn. They allow GM to sell two big gas hogs for every flex-fuel vehicle they build. (some kind of CAFE exemption).


#10

Someone at work was telling me today that Indy cars were gonna try and convert their cars to run on e85. I dunno how true that is, but can someone direct me to a place I can buy stock in corn crops? Regardless of it being true or not, I know this ethanol boom is driving corn prices higher and higher and I’d like to cash in on that. :stuck_out_tongue:


#11

Any stock broker will buy corn futures for you. But you are way too late. The smart money got in 2 years ago…Be warned, Brazil and other sugar growing countries are lobbying HARD to drop the .53 cent tarrif on imported ethanol. If they succeed, you will lose your shirt…They can produce ethanol much cheaper from sugar than we can from corn.


#12

And to think, putting sugar in one’s gas tank used to be harmful years and years ago.


#13

quote: bscar

And to think, putting sugar in one’s gas tank used to be harmful years and years ago.
Ethanol corn (No. 2 Yellow Corn on the Chicago Board of Trade) contains starch, not sugar, at harvest. Only sweet corn contains sugar at harvest (due to a recessive gene in sweet corn); the sugar in sweet corn soon transforms into starch a few weeks after harvesting.


#14

Here in Minnesota state laws encourage E85 - a sop to farmers, shrouded under the cloak of environmentalism, wrapped in the enigma of energy independence, and obfuscated within the puzzle of state taxes and subsidies.

I have used it a few times in my Plymouth Voyager van. It is cheaper at the pump than gasoline. My results so far are pretty close to the research Consumer Reports has done: about a 15% reduction in MPG. So far I have not seen E85 priced at less than 15% under the price of regular unleaded gasoline (which itself must by state law contain at least 10% ethanol.)

I will continue to use it sometimes and monitor its price:MPG ratio. I encourage anyone else who is curious to try it. Hope for, but don’t expect any economic advantage for yourself.

Do keep track of what is happening to the price of corn and everything made from corn. (Up significantly.) What effects accrue to everyone who has to eat? Is it fair for consumers of ethanol and E85 to put this cost on everybody else?