What Happens If I Put E85 Gas In My Car

You’re at the gas station, and you notice E85 fuel is available. You’ve heard mixed things about it, but you’re curious about trying it out. Before you do, it’s important to understand the potential consequences of putting E85 gas in your car.

This fuel is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, and it has different properties than regular gasoline. In this article, we’ll explore what happens if you put E85 in your non-flex fuel or flex fuel vehicle, and the pros and cons of using this alternative fuel source.

First, let’s talk about what E85 fuel actually is. Ethanol, which is produced from corn or other crops, is added to gasoline to create E85. The amount of ethanol in E85 can vary slightly, but it always contains between 51% and 83% ethanol.

This blend has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline, which means it can provide a boost in performance for some vehicles. However, it also has lower energy content, which can result in decreased fuel efficiency.

It’s important to understand the specific properties of E85 and how they may affect your vehicle before deciding to fill up with this alternative fuel.

What is E85 Fuel?

If you put E85 gas in your car, you’re using a fuel blend that’s made up of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from corn, sugar cane, or other plant materials. The production of ethanol involves a process called fermentation, where yeast is used to convert the sugars present in these plant materials into alcohol. The alcohol is then distilled to remove water and impurities, resulting in pure ethanol.

One of the main benefits of using E85 fuel is that it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions compared to regular gasoline. This is because ethanol is a renewable fuel, and its production process requires less energy compared to the production of gasoline.

Additionally, E85 fuel can provide higher octane ratings, which can improve engine performance and efficiency. However, it’s important to note that not all vehicles are compatible with E85 fuel, and using it in a vehicle that’s not designed for it can cause damage to the engine.

Non-Flex Fuel Vehicles and E85

Non-Flex Fuel Vehicles may experience engine damage if filled with E85 fuel, which contains a higher percentage of ethanol than regular gasoline. This is because the engines of non-flex fuel vehicles aren’t designed to run on such high levels of ethanol.

The ethanol content in E85 can cause the fuel to burn hotter and leaner, leading to engine damage in the long run. Furthermore, using E85 fuel in non-flex fuel vehicles may also negatively affect fuel efficiency.

This is because ethanol contains less energy than gasoline, which means less power is generated during combustion. As a result, the vehicle may consume more fuel to compensate for the lack of power.

It’s important to check your vehicle’s owner manual and ensure that you’re using the appropriate fuel type to avoid any potential engine damage and maximize fuel efficiency.

Flex Fuel Vehicles and E85

You can easily switch between E85 and regular gasoline on your Flex Fuel Vehicle, thanks to its ability to run on both types of fuel. This flexibility can be especially beneficial when E85 is priced lower than regular gasoline, potentially saving you money on fuel costs.

Moreover, using E85 on your Flex Fuel Vehicle can also have environmental benefits. Flex fuel vehicles emit fewer pollutants when running on E85, making them a more eco-friendly alternative to regular gasoline.

If your vehicle is not a Flex Fuel Vehicle, you can still convert it to run on E85 with the help of E85 conversion kits, which can be easily installed by a professional mechanic.

Overall, the benefits of using E85 on your Flex Fuel Vehicle are numerous, from cost savings to environmental consciousness.

Pros and Cons of Using E85

If you’re considering using E85 as an alternative fuel for your car, there are several factors you’ll want to take into account.

First, there’s the environmental impact of using this biofuel, which can vary depending on how it’s produced and transported.

You’ll also want to consider the cost and availability of E85 in your area, as well as whether your vehicle is compatible with this type of fuel.

Finally, your personal fuel preferences and needs will play a role in determining whether E85 is the right choice for you.

Environmental Impact

Using E85 gas in your car can have a significant environmental impact due to its higher ethanol content compared to regular gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable energy source that’s produced from crops such as corn, sugarcane, and other agricultural products. The production of ethanol results in lower carbon emissions compared to traditional gasoline, making it a popular alternative fuel option among environmentalists.

However, the carbon footprint analysis of ethanol production is still a matter of debate. The production process of ethanol requires a significant amount of energy, and the use of fertilizers and pesticides in crop production can result in environmental damage. Additionally, the land used for crop production could have been used for food production, which raises concerns about the sustainability of ethanol as a fuel source.

While using E85 in your car can reduce your carbon footprint, it’s important to consider the overall impact of ethanol production on the environment.

Cost and Availability

It’s important to note that the cost and availability of E85 fuel may vary depending on your location and the type of vehicle you have. E85 is typically cheaper than regular gasoline, but the trade-off is that it has lower fuel efficiency. This means that you’ll need to refill your tank more often, which can end up costing you more in the long run.

Additionally, not all gas stations carry E85, so you may need to do some research to find a station near you that does.

When it comes to engine performance, E85 can actually improve it in some cases. E85 has a higher octane rating than regular gasoline, which means it can withstand higher compression ratios without detonating. This allows for more power to be generated from the engine, resulting in better acceleration and overall performance.

However, not all vehicles are designed to run on E85, and using it in a non-flex fuel vehicle can cause damage to the engine. It’s important to check your vehicle’s owner manual to see if it’s compatible with E85 before making the switch.

Compatibility with Your Vehicle

Now that you know the cost and availability of E85 gas, let’s talk about the compatibility of your vehicle.

Not all cars are designed to run on E85 fuel, and using it on the wrong vehicle can lead to engine problems. It’s important to check your car’s owner’s manual or contact the manufacturer to see if your vehicle is compatible with E85 gas.

If your car is compatible with E85 gas, you may experience a drop in fuel efficiency. E85 contains less energy than gasoline, which means you may need to fill up more often. However, E85 is typically cheaper than gasoline, so it may still be a cost-effective option for some drivers.

Just remember to check your vehicle’s compatibility before making the switch to E85 gas.

Personal Fuel Preferences and Needs

When choosing your fuel, it’s important to take your personal preferences and needs into consideration.

Some drivers prefer to use E85 gas because it’s cheaper than regular gasoline, while others choose it because it’s a more environmentally friendly option. However, it’s important to understand that using E85 may come with some fuel efficiency trade offs.

E85 has a lower energy density than gasoline, which means you’ll need to use more of it to travel the same distance. This can result in lower fuel efficiency and ultimately, higher costs in the long run.

Additionally, using E85 may also have long term effects on your vehicle. E85 is a blend of ethanol and gasoline, and it can be corrosive to certain types of engine parts if they’re not designed to handle it. This means that if your car isn’t specifically designed to run on E85, using it may cause damage to your engine over time.

It’s important to consult your owner’s manual or speak to a trusted mechanic before using E85 in your vehicle to ensure that it’s compatible and safe for you to use.


In conclusion, if you put E85 gas in your non-flex fuel vehicle, you may face significant engine damage and performance issues. The high ethanol content in E85 can corrode metal and rubber components in your car’s fuel system. Additionally, E85 gas contains fewer BTUs per gallon compared to regular gasoline, which may result in lower fuel efficiency and power.

On the other hand, if you have a flex fuel vehicle, using E85 may be a viable option. Flex fuel vehicles are designed to run on either regular gasoline or E85, and using E85 can result in lower emissions and potentially lower fuel costs. However, it’s essential to note that E85 may still result in lower fuel efficiency and power compared to regular gasoline.

Overall, before deciding to use E85 gas, it’s crucial to check your vehicle’s specifications and determine if it’s a flex fuel vehicle or not. If it’s not, it’s best to avoid using E85 and stick to regular gasoline to prevent any potential damage to your car’s engine and fuel system.