William D., Williamsville, N.Y.

No, as long as the vehicle is flex-fuel capable and engineered to operate on E85 (a mix of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline). All vehicles sold in the U.S. are equipped and guaranteed to run safely on gasoline blended with up to 10 percent ethanol, but your vehicle should be flex-fuel capable to use a higher percentage of ethanol.

E85pump

Flex-fuel vehicles can operate on pure gasoline or up to 85 percent ethanol — and switch between the two — with no loss of performance, according to the EPA. Engine computers on flex-fuel vehicles are programmed to adjust to the ethanol content; however, because ethanol has less energy content than gasoline, the EPA says vehicles running on E85 typically get 25 percent to 30 percent fewer mpg.

Using a blend that’s more than 10 percent ethanol in a non-flex-fuel vehicle could damage the engine and fuel system because ethanol is more corrosive. E85 vehicles have different components installed at the factory to prevent such damage.

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Answered by Rick Popely on August 19, 2010 in Green/Hybrid Cars | Permalink

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