E85 Fuel: Good Or Bad?

I currently drive a 2013 Ford Focus and it is flex fuel capable (if that’s how you’d say that). My question is, I’ve heard some things about higher percentages of ethanol in fuel can actually damage your engine. Now even though my car is flex fuel capable, in the long run could filling with E85 actually put unnecessary wear and tear on my car? I know all the political arguments that follow behind these fuels for and against it but for this thread, I’m strictly focusing on how it can affect my car. Thanks and I’d appreciate any knowledge yall could share as this is my first post on this forum.

I see no problem running a car on e85 designed for it. Many cars other then the Focus can already too, but are not certified to. The Focus is. The problem arises in my experience, if the fuel is left in the car unused for extended periods. If I owned your car, I would not run it exclusively and run low ethanol content as much as practical if the car had to sit for extended periods.

Ethanol in fuel,good idea gone bad and the taxpayers are footing the bill.My experience with straight gas has been much better,save the corn for food,but Ford probably has more experience with fuels of this nature then anyone.Now an engine that ran off of straight ethyl alcohol would probably be better for the environment in some ways.
Being a believer in the science behind peak oil.I think we should try to develop alternative fuels-Kevin

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E85 won’t hurt a car designed for the fuel, but E85 will hurt your wallet. Your mpg will drop by ~30%, which will increase the trip costs.

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It won’t hurt the car since it was designed for it. GM had the audacity to request (before the bankruptcy) from the EPA that by building flex fuel cars their CAFE requirements would be reduced by 85%! Never mind that this fuel was not available in most places and that there was no way to grow enough corn to power 85% of the vehicle fleet with E85.

As said, it’s a theoretically good idea gone bad.

I think it was a bad idea period. But it won’t hurt your car.

Ethanol is all about politics. And lobbyests. And corruption in Washington. When one considers the growing and harvesting of the corn product, it never will have a positive environmental impact, and it’s driven up the cost of food corn…a staple food for many low income communities. We’ve had long, long debates on this subject.

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I think it’s pointless for you to use E85. The stuff is cheaper than regular gasoline, but it also contains significantly less energy than gasoline.

Instead of figuring your fuel costs in miles per gallon, you need to convert that to Dollars per mile in actual fuel costs…Don’t assume your mileage will be reduced by 30%. Check it and see…The E85 may indeed deliver the lowest cost per mile…It will not shorten the life of your engine…

Appreciate the comments! I figure I might fill up the next few times with it just to test the mileage for fun but really have no plan to permanently switch to it now.

Good idea. Crunch the numbers and let us know. What is the cost/mile. Or what is your mpg with e85 and e10 and what is cost for both fuels

What is the price for regular and for E85?

IMOO I don’t think its worth it.
We had 3 loaner cars that were flex fuel compatible. One of them started to run horrible so I had the service dept check it out.
Too much alcohol was the verdict.

So it’s a money issue, a driveability issue and last, a societal issue. Is e85 driving up the price of corn making ALL users of corn pay higher prices? Is govt lobbying by a select few secretly controlling the behind the scenes actions and making some rich and all of us poorer?

" Is govt lobbying by a select few secretly controlling the behind the scenes actions and making some rich and all of us poorer? "

EVERYTHING works this way, not just corn farming and ethanol production…

Follow the money! WHO is making the most money on e85? Is the ethanol industry a $15B industry VS corn which is a $90B industry? Corn is global while ethanol is less so. We think it’s the BIG players but is it really a little side industry that wants to profit? I know there are many books on the subject of “hidden” players who profit. They use smoke and mirrors to point fingers at others while laying low and making money

@Stoveguy It all goes back to an environmental movement run amuck. The global warming scare had galvanised an entire industry based not on technical logic, financial reason or practicality , but solely on scaring the voters. Al Gore and others are profiting from this and the Democrats have bought into this. It is only logical that corn farmers and ethanol producers see an opportunity.

The “visible” culprits are Al Gore, the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Obama, US corn farmers, and the United Nations Committee on the Environment.

The same happened to the very expensive solar and wind industry, endorsed by the governments of California and countries such as Spain!, England, Germany, Australia, and others. Producing unreliable power at 5 to 20 times the cost of fossil fired power is technically possible but economically ludicrous! In Canada the province of Ontario is deeply in debt, but keeps defending its hugely expensive Feed-in tariffs (fits) for wind and solar. Spain, nearly bankrupt , is now phasing out these subsidies, followed by Australia, and Germany and England. You will soon see a lot of non-turning windmill in these countries.

If common sense prevailed in Washington, the more severe weather would have meant spending that extra $7 billion the Corps of Engineers requested (and refused by George Bush Jr.) to reinforce the Mississippi dikes, rather than fritter the money away in renewable subsidies to corn farmers.

Just came back from a holiday in Europe. The Dutch Ministry of Water (yes, that’s what it’s called) has now nearly completed a massive flood control and prevention program designed to cope with a “One in Ten Thousand Year” event, virtually guaranteeing that there never will be another disastrous flood. My niece lost her farm house and farm to accommodate a flood overflow basin for the Rhine river. The land can only be used for grazing cattle; the buildings have been torn down. A local engineer told me that the governor of Louisiana visited their department to learn more AFTER Katrina.

Whether you believe in Global Warming ore not, Climate Change in the form of more severe heat, cold, storms are now a fact of life. Insurance companies are already revising their rates which are based on probability of occurrence. So Mitigation and Adaptation are the new words. If every American stopped driving we will still have Katrinas and other disasters.

A researcher who studied biofuels in Europe put it best in his summary: “Biofuels are a crime against humanity.” The use of foods to fuel vehicles drives up corn and wheat prices, a huge impact on the world’s poor. Biodiesel resulted in the destruction of large areas of rainforests in SE Asia.

What a mess.

Don’t Ask Us. Read Your Owner’s Manual.

My wife has an E-85 capable Flex Fuel Impala. I have read the manual. The Owner’s Manual basically advises against using E-85. Besides the poor fuel mileage, they warn the owner that inadequate heater output and trouble starting in cold weather can result.

If that’s not enough to dissuade a car owner, they say NOT TO SWITCH from E-85 to regular gasoline on a short term basis, like when you want to try it for a few fill-ups. Poor operating performance can result.

As others have pointed out, E-85 and Flex Fuel is political, not something in the owner’s best interest. Forget about it.


Ethanol is a bad idea when talking about E10…E85 is a terrrible idea.

@texases Right on! When I lived in SE Asia, before leaving after a 5 year stint, I had an opportunity to manage a palm oil operation in Indonesia. These plantations start by BURNING the jungle as the fastest way to clear the land, and then plant oil palms. The seeds go into biodiesel for which there is a growing demand in Europe, driven by politicians and Green Parties.

The financier knew very little about environmental issues and burning a whole forest (in the name of saving the environment) was not an issue with him. All he knew that someone wanted palm oil to make biodiesel. Prior to this there were of course palm oil plantations and the product went into making soap (Palmolive), margarine, cosmetics and other products.