Flex-fuel vehicles

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Bioenergy > Technologies > Transportation/Vehicles > Flex-fuel vehicles (Flexible Fuel Vehicles), (FFVs)

Typical Brazilian flex-fuel autos

Flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs) are vehicles that can run on different types of fuel or on variable blends of two fuels. In the United States and Europe, the term commonly refers to vehicles that can operate using a blend of up to 85% ethanol and gasoline (E85). In Brazil it refers to vehicles that can run on any blend of gasoline (E20-E25 is the mandatory blend in Brazil) and hydrous ethanol (E100).

Production flex-fuel cars

Production flex-fuel vehicles are available from several predominately US-based automotive manufacturers [1], with an estimated 8 million FFVs in the US roads by early 2009, though many owners are not aware their vehicle is an E85 FFV[2]. Brazil also has a large base of flexible-fuel vehicles and manufacturers as well. Cumulative production of Brazilian E100 FFVs since 2003 reached 7 million in February 2009[3].

Aftermarket & flex-fuel conversions

Most modern fuel-injected vehicles should at least run with E85, since the engine control computer will increase the fuel/air ratio based on the oxygen sensor signal. This is not optimal, and could damage various fuel system components due to swelling of rubber seals, or corrosion of parts which have not been qualified to run with that high a concentration of ethanol. However, if you understand what you are doing, and are willing to either fix your car yourself or pay a mechanic to fix your failed experiment, you can run a non-flex fuel vehicle, such as a Toyota Prius on E85. One such example is documented on User:hozer.


  • It’s Time We Break Down the Blend Wall – For Good, 15 April 2011 by Biofuels Digest: "There is no greater hurdle to the expansion of the American biofuels industry than the artificial barriers to the market. Through flawed policy and outdated regulation, these barriers serve as a mandate for the American people that 90 percent of our fuel must be gasoline."
    • "And without a market, we will continue to see private capital sidelines instead of being invested into commercializing the great innovations of our industry."
    • "Last year, Growth Energy proposed the Fueling Freedom Plan. This proposal seeks to reform tax policy in order to encourage the installation of as many as 200,000 Flex Fuel pumps, and see every auto sold in the U.S. be a Flex Fuel vehicles."
    • "In March, Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Tim Johnson, D-S.D., introduced legislation they called 'Securing America’s Future with Energy and Sustainable Technologies,' or SAFEST. Their bill would not only establish a tax-credit for ethanol and biodiesel, but it would use tax incentives to encourage greater production of flex-fuel vehicles and the build-out of infrastructure to deliver ethanol."[4]
  • Decree that increases ethanol use causes controversy (Spanish original), 25 April 2009 by El País (Cali). The mandatory introduction of E85 flex-fuel vehicles has caused controversy among carmakers, car dealers, and gasoline station owners. On March 2009 the Colombian government enacted a mandate to introduce E85 flexible-fuel cars. The executive decree applies to all gasoline-powered vehicles with engines smaller than 2.0 liters manufactured, imported, and commercialized in the country beginning in 2012, mandating that 60% of such vehicles must have flex-fuel engines capable of running with gasoline or E85, or any blend of both. By 2014 the mandatory quota is 80% and it will reach 100 percent by 2016. All vehicles with engines bigger than 2.0 liters must be E85 capable starting in 2013. The decree also mandates that by 2011 all gasoline stations must provide infrastructure to guarantee availability of E85 throughout the country.[6]
  • Thailand introduces first E85 vehicle, November 27 2008 by DomesticFuel.com. The first E85 flexible fuel vehicles were introduced in November 2008. There are two models available in the Thai market, the Volvo S80 and the Volvo C30. By the time of the introduction of flex vehicles there were already two gas stations with E85 fuel available. During 2009 it is expected that 15 fueling stations in Bangkok will be selling E85 fuel.

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