Brown Motors Car Care 101: Gasoline Facts


Gas pumps haven’t changed much over the years; you still have the same looking nozzle to pump gas into your tank. But gas isn’t just gas any more! You really need to be aware of what is available at the pump.

Last month the high tech world of gasoline came to Petoskey, Mi.  Meijer offers Regular, Mid-grade and Premium Unleaded fuel, plus Diesel and Bio-diesel, plus E85 fuel. Brown Motors became aware of the dangers facing motorists when a customer pumped E85 fuel into their vehicle because it was cheaper; they thought — Why not?! Wrong! Their vehicle is not a Flex Fuel vehicle and now they face a large repair bill!!

Brown Motors wants you to know gasoline facts to keep your vehicle running at its best!

Only Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are designed to use any gas blend over 10%ethanol

Flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) are designed to run on gasoline or a blend of up to 85% ethanol (E85).

FFVs have been produced since the 1980s, and dozens of models are currently available. Since FFVs look just like gasoline-only models, you may have an FFV and not even know it. To determine if your vehicle is an FFV, check the inside of your car’s fuel filler door for an identification sticker, consult your owner’s manual, or check the charts below to interpret your VIN!

FFVs experience no loss in performance when operating on E85. However, since a gallon of ethanol contains less energy than a gallon of gasoline, FFVs typically get about 20-30% fewer miles per gallon when fueled with E85.

How do I tell if my vehicle is a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) or E85 compatible?

By the Vehicle Idenfication Number or VIN!  The 8th character of your VIN will tell you if your vehicle is E85 compatible!

The charts below show what the 8th character is for E85 compatible Ford and Chrysler vehicles.

If the 8th character of your VIN matches the charts below, your vehicle is an FFV or is

E85 compatible.

(eg. 1FMZU73E04ZA69101 — look at the 8th character in your VIN –find your make & model on the chart & see if your character matches — if it matches you have a FlexFuel vehicle!)

Regular vehicles can use E10 or a blend of 10% ethanol & regular gas

Gasoline-ethanol blends containing up to 10% volume ethanol may be used in any vehicle. The addition of ethanol boosts octane and, because it is an oxygenate, ethanol contributes to a more complete fuel combustion resulting in reduced emissions of carbon monoxide and other ozone-forming emissions. All major auto manufacturers approve the use of up to 10% volume ethanol.

What happens to my engine if I use E85 in my normal gas vehicle? Is E10 really OK for my engine!?

Brown Motors wants you to learn the facts about ethanol use in gasoline engines!

E85, which is a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, should not be used in any vehicle unless it is specifically designated at manufacture as a “flex-fuel” vehicle. If you do use E85 in any gasoline car it may be severely damaged. E85 in a car not designed for it can cause corrosion in the fuel system, damage seals and hoses and wash lubrication off the engine’s cylinder walls. In addition, both E85 and widely available E10 will loosen old sludge, varnish and dirt from the inside of the fuel tank, and once these are suspended in the fuel, it will cause clogged fuel lines and fuel filters as well as block carburetor jets or fuel injectors.

It’s a well-known fact that the use of E85 in a “flex-fuel” vehicle capable of using gasoline, E10 or E85, will provide far fewer miles per gallon when using E85 compared to gasoline (officially and generally stated by the Ethanol industry as a 30% drop). This is because ethanol has far less energy per gallon than does gasoline despite a higher natural octane number.

In an old John Wayne movie called “The Quiet Man” there is a scene in which the old gentleman matchmaker is asked if he would like a shot of whiskey. And would he care for water in it? He responds “Straight! When I want to drink water, I drink water. When I want to drink whiskey, I drink whiskey!” You can look at it the same way for your automobiles. Gasoline automobiles were designed for gasoline, not ethanol alcohol, not methanol alcohol.

But it is your choice and now you are informed!!!

You can depend on Brown Motors in Petoskey, MI for all your automotive needs!

Check out our extensive line up of new and used Ford, Lincoln, Chrysler, Dodge,  Jeep & Ram vehicles.

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