What Are The Disadvantages Of Using E85

If you’re considering using E85 fuel for your vehicle, it’s important to be aware of the potential disadvantages that come with it. While E85 is a renewable fuel source that’s derived from corn, it’s not without its drawbacks.

In this article, we’ll explore the various disadvantages of using E85 fuel, including lower fuel efficiency, compatibility issues, availability constraints, ethanol content, and environmental concerns.

One of the most significant disadvantages of using E85 fuel is lower fuel efficiency. E85 has a lower energy density than gasoline, which means that it takes more fuel to produce the same amount of power. This results in lower miles per gallon and can lead to increased fuel costs over time. Additionally, not all vehicles are optimized for E85 fuel, which can further reduce fuel efficiency and performance.

Understanding the potential drawbacks of E85 fuel can help you make an informed decision about whether or not it’s the right choice for your vehicle and your needs.

Lower Fuel Efficiency

Using e85 can lead to lower fuel efficiency, which means you may have to fill up more often and spend more money in the long run. This is because e85 contains less energy per gallon compared to regular gasoline, which translates to fewer miles per gallon. On average, using e85 can reduce fuel efficiency by 25-30%, which is a significant drop in performance.

Additionally, using e85 can potentially cause engine damage and increased maintenance. E85 contains higher levels of ethanol, which can corrode certain engine components such as fuel lines, injectors, and gaskets. This corrosion can lead to leaks and other mechanical problems, ultimately resulting in costly repairs. Furthermore, because e85 is a more corrosive fuel, it can cause a buildup of deposits in the engine over time, leading to reduced performance and increased maintenance needs.

Compatibility Issues

If you’re thinking about switching to E85 fuel, it’s important to consider whether your car is compatible.

Not all cars can run on E85, and those that can may require expensive modifications to the fuel system.

Before making the switch, it’s crucial to do your research and consult with a knowledgeable mechanic to ensure compatibility and avoid costly damage to your vehicle.

Not all Cars are Compatible with E85

Unfortunately, your car may not be able to handle E85 fuel due to its compatibility limitations. Not all cars are designed to run on E85, which can cause serious engine damage if used inappropriately. E85 has a higher percentage of ethanol than gasoline, which can corrode rubber and plastic components in the fuel system.

In addition, E85 requires a different fuel system and engine management system than gasoline, which can be expensive to retrofit. If your car is not designed to handle E85, you may experience a decrease in fuel efficiency and power. This is because E85 has a lower energy content than gasoline, which means you need to burn more of it to produce the same amount of power.

In addition, E85 can be more difficult to find than gasoline, which can be inconvenient if you live in an area with limited availability. Ultimately, it’s important to check your car’s compatibility limitations before switching to E85 to avoid engine damage and performance issues.

Need for Expensive Modifications

Modifying your car to handle E85 can be a costly affair. The cost implications arise from the need for expensive engine management and fuel system upgrades.

E85 has a higher ethanol content than regular gasoline, and this means that the fuel requires a higher flow rate than gasoline. Therefore, a car’s fuel system may need to be upgraded to handle the higher flow rate.

In addition, the engine management system may need to be reprogrammed or replaced to ensure that the engine runs smoothly on E85. This is because E85 has a different combustion characteristic than gasoline, and the engine management system needs to be adjusted to accommodate this difference.

Overall, the cost of upgrading a car to run on E85 can be significant, and it may not be worth it for some car owners, especially if the performance drawbacks outweigh the benefits.

Availability Constraints

You might struggle to find a gas station that offers E85, making it inconvenient for you to use this fuel option. Availability constraints are one of the most significant disadvantages of using E85.

Regional restrictions limit the distribution of E85, making it difficult to find in some areas. Some states have stricter regulations on the use of ethanol, which can limit the availability of E85 in those areas. Furthermore, gas stations that offer E85 often have limited supplies and may run out of stock during peak usage times. This can make it challenging for drivers to plan their refueling stops, especially during long trips.

Another issue with E85 availability is price fluctuations. Because E85 is not as widely available as traditional gasoline, the price of E85 can vary significantly from one location to another. In some areas, E85 may be cheaper than regular gasoline, while in others, it may be more expensive.

This inconsistency in pricing can make it difficult for drivers to budget for their fuel expenses, especially if they rely on E85 as their primary fuel source. In conclusion, the limited availability of E85 and the inconsistent pricing can be a significant disadvantage for those who choose to use this fuel option.

Ethanol Content

Now that we’ve discussed the availability constraints that come with using E85, let’s take a closer look at the ethanol content of this fuel.

E85 is made up of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ethanol, in turn, is made from corn, sugarcane, or other crops. The production of ethanol requires a significant amount of resources, including land, water, and energy.

As a result, the agricultural impact of ethanol production is a topic of debate. Some argue that using crops to produce ethanol takes away valuable resources that could be used to feed a growing population. Others argue that the use of ethanol can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it’s important to consider the potential drawbacks of using E85. The agricultural impact of ethanol production is just one factor to consider when making a decision about whether to use this fuel.

Environmental Concerns

Environmental concerns surrounding E85 include its potential impact on greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. While E85 is often marketed as a renewable resource, the production process still relies heavily on fossil fuels.

The process of growing and harvesting corn, which is used to produce ethanol, requires significant amounts of fossil fuels, including diesel for tractors and natural gas for fertilizer production. Additionally, the transportation and distribution of E85 also require fossil fuels, further contributing to greenhouse gas emissions.

Furthermore, the production process of E85 can have negative impacts on the environment. The production of ethanol requires large amounts of water, which can lead to water scarcity in areas where water resources are already limited. Additionally, the production process can also lead to soil erosion and pollution from fertilizer runoff.

While E85 may offer some environmental benefits compared to traditional gasoline, it’s important to consider the potential negative impacts of its production process.


In conclusion, you now understand the various drawbacks of using E85 fuel. While it may seem like an attractive alternative to gasoline, there are several factors that make it a less desirable option for some drivers.

Firstly, E85 has lower fuel efficiency compared to gasoline, which means you may need to refuel more frequently.

Secondly, there are compatibility issues with some engines that can cause damage and costly repairs. Additionally, the availability of E85 fuel is limited in certain areas, making it difficult to find and refuel when needed.

It’s also important to note that the ethanol content in E85 can vary, which can impact its effectiveness as a fuel source.

Finally, there are environmental concerns surrounding the production and use of ethanol, including its impact on land use and water quality.

Overall, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of using E85 before making a decision. While it may be a viable option for some drivers, others may find that the disadvantages outweigh the benefits. By considering these factors and doing your research, you can make an informed decision about whether E85 is the right choice for your vehicle and driving habits.