Do you own a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV)?

by : Diane Nassy

Do you own a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV)?

What in the world is a Flexible Fuel Vehicle? It's a car ortruck that is capable of burning certain alternative fuels. Nowwe're not talking gasoline vs. diesel engines here, we'retalking about gasoline engines that can also burn ethanol,natural gas, propane, hydrogen, methanol, and p-series fuels.According to some chemist at the U.S. Department of Energy,p-series fuels are "a unique blend of natural gas liquids(pentanes plus), ethanol, and the biomass-derived co-solventmethyltetrahydrofuran" just in case you were wondering.

Anyway, if you own one of these flexible fuel vehicles, and youcould own one without realizing it, then you might be able tosave yourself a whopping amount of money now that gas is nearingthe price of gold.

Although some of the more exotic alternative fuels may not beflowing out of the pumps at your neighborhood service station,there is a good chance that ethanol is.

Ethanol is alcohol-based and it's made by fermenting anddistilling corn, barley, or wheat. It can also be made from"cellulosic biomass", which is just a fancy phrase for "chunksof trees and grass", except that this version is called"Bioethanol" instead of plain "Ethanol".

E85 is an Ethanol/Gasoline product that's being sold at a lot ofgas stations. It's a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. E95is a 95/5 blend of ethanol and gasoline. Both blends are capableof being burned by most Flexible Fuel Vehicles.

Some service stations are selling an E10 (10/90 ethanol/gasolineblend), that doesn't really qualify as an alternative fuel. Itsprimary purpose is to reduce carbon monoxide levels, and it canbe burned by most any engine that burns gasoline.

Unlike Hybrid Vehicles, flexible fuel vehicles are notnecessarily more expensive because of the alternative fueloption, and they aren't anywhere near as rare. In fact, there'sa chance that you're driving one right now. If the salespersondidn't tell you, and you're not the kind that reads owner'smanuals, and you're ignoring the sticker that's probably on theinside of your gas tank cover, you could be in for a cash-savingsurprise.

If you're not sure if you own an FFV, or you're planning onbuying a new car soon, then visit the U.S. Department ofEnergy's Flexible Fuel Vehicle( list.

If there isn't a FFV in your life, there's still hope. You canhave an aftermarket conversion done. When you do a conversion,your gasoline-only engine ends up being able to burn someparticular alternative fuel such as compressed natural gas (CNG)or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, or propane), or Ethanol. Youhave three conversion choices; "dedicated", "dual-fuel", and"bi-fuel". Dedicated means that your engine only burns one fuelafter the conversion. Dual-fuel engines can burn two differentfuels, and with a bi-fuel conversion, your engine burns twodifferent fuels at the same time. So, if you think that you haveno choice but to continue paying through the nose when you'repaying at the pump, look into getting a Flexible Fuel Vehicle oran aftermarket conversion