Why Is E85 Bad

Are you considering using E85 fuel for your vehicle? While the idea of using a renewable, eco-friendly fuel may seem appealing, there are several reasons why E85 may not be the best choice for your vehicle.

In this article, we will explore the various factors that make E85 a less than ideal fuel option, including its lower energy density, potential engine damage, and limited availability and accessibility.

While E85 may seem like a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and save money on fuel, it’s important to understand the potential drawbacks before making the switch. By taking a closer look at the science behind E85 and its impact on your vehicle’s performance and efficiency, you can make an informed decision about whether or not this fuel is right for you.

So, let’s dive in and explore why E85 may not be the best choice for your car or truck.

The Basics of E85 Fuel

E85 fuel, a blend of ethanol and gasoline, is often seen as a promising alternative to traditional gasoline. Proponents of E85 argue that it has a higher octane rating, which can increase performance and improve fuel efficiency. Additionally, E85 has the potential to reduce emissions and minimize dependence on foreign oil.

However, the production process of E85 has a significant environmental impact. Ethanol, the main component of E85, is primarily made from corn and other crops. The production of these crops requires large amounts of water and energy, as well as the use of fertilizers and pesticides. This can lead to soil degradation, water pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats.

Furthermore, the production process can contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, which can offset any potential benefits of using E85 as a fuel source.

Lower Energy Density and Reduced Efficiency

When using ethanol-based fuel, you may notice a decrease in power and fuel efficiency compared to regular gasoline. This is because E85 has a lower energy density than gasoline.

Energy density refers to the amount of energy that can be extracted from a given volume or mass of fuel. Gasoline has a higher energy density than ethanol, which means that it contains more energy per unit of volume or mass.

As a result, when you use E85, you will need to burn more fuel to produce the same amount of energy output as gasoline. This means that your vehicle will have to work harder, and you will get fewer miles per gallon.

If you are concerned about fuel efficiency, then E85 may not be the best option for you, especially if you are driving long distances or using your vehicle for commercial purposes.

Engine Damage and Reduced Performance

When it comes to using ethanol as a fuel source, there are a few things you should be aware of that could potentially cause damage to your engine. First, ethanol has corrosive properties that can eat away at certain materials used in engine construction.

Additionally, not all engine designs are compatible with ethanol, which can lead to further damage and reduced performance. Finally, ethanol can negatively impact engine performance by reducing fuel efficiency and power output.

Ethanol’s corrosive properties

If you’re using ethanol as fuel, you’ll want to be aware of its corrosive properties and the potential damage it can cause to your engine. Ethanol has a higher affinity for moisture compared to gasoline, which means it can absorb water from the air, creating a corrosive mixture that can damage your engine’s metal components over time. This process is accelerated in older engines, which are more susceptible to corrosion due to their less resistant materials.

Corrosion prevention is key to avoiding engine damage caused by ethanol. Material compatibility is also a crucial factor to consider when using ethanol as fuel. Ethanol can cause damage to certain types of materials, such as rubber, plastic, and fiberglass, which are commonly used in fuel systems. It’s essential to ensure that all the components in your fuel system are compatible with ethanol to avoid damage and prevent leaks.

Regular maintenance, including fuel system flushing and the use of fuel stabilizers, can also help prevent ethanol-related engine damage.

Compatibility with engine designs

Ensuring compatibility with your engine’s design is crucial when using ethanol as fuel. Unlike conventional gasoline, ethanol has different chemical and physical properties that make it incompatible with certain engine components.

One major issue is that ethanol can corrode rubber and plastic parts found in fuel systems, such as fuel lines and seals. This can lead to leaks and potentially dangerous situations.

In addition, ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline, which means that more fuel is needed to achieve the same amount of power. This can put additional strain on an engine’s fuel system, particularly if it’s not designed to handle the higher flow rates required for ethanol.

Therefore, it’s important to check with your vehicle’s manufacturer or a qualified mechanic to ensure that your engine is compatible with ethanol, and that your fuel system can handle the limitations of this fuel.

Effects on engine performance

Now that we’ve discussed how E85’s compatibility with engine designs can pose a problem, let’s talk about how it affects engine performance.

When using E85, you may notice a decline in fuel economy compared to using regular gasoline. This is because E85 has a lower energy density, meaning it contains less energy per gallon than gasoline. As a result, you’ll need to use more E85 to travel the same distance as you would with gasoline, which can lead to decreased fuel efficiency.

Another factor to consider is the impact E85 can have on power output. While E85 has a higher octane rating than gasoline, which can lead to increased power output, it also has a lower energy content per unit of volume. This means that your vehicle may require more E85 to achieve the same power output as it would with gasoline.

Additionally, because E85 requires more fuel to achieve the same amount of power, it can lead to increased wear and tear on your engine, which can result in decreased engine lifespan.

Overall, while the use of E85 may seem like a more environmentally friendly option, its negative effects on fuel economy and power output should be taken into consideration before making the switch.

Availability and Accessibility

Unfortunately, you might have a hard time finding E85 fuel stations near you, and even if you do, they might not be easily accessible. This is especially true for those living in rural areas where there are fewer fueling stations. The lack of infrastructure for E85 fueling poses a significant challenge for drivers who want to switch to this alternative fuel.

Additionally, E85 fuel stations are not as prevalent as gasoline stations, which means you may have to travel farther to fill up your tank, leading to increased costs and inconvenience. Another challenge related to E85 fuel’s availability and accessibility is the environmental impact of its production process.

The production of E85 requires a significant amount of energy and resources, which can contribute to environmental degradation. The process of converting corn or other crops into ethanol, the primary component of E85, requires intensive farming practices that can lead to soil degradation and water pollution. This, coupled with the lack of fueling infrastructure, makes it difficult to justify the use of E85 fuel as an environmentally sustainable alternative.

Therefore, while E85 fuel may seem like a viable alternative to gasoline, the challenges related to its availability and accessibility, coupled with its potentially negative environmental impact, make it a less than ideal option for many drivers.

Alternative Fuel Options

As you consider alternative fuel options, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option before making an informed choice.

There are other renewable fuel alternatives besides e85, such as biodiesel, hydrogen fuel cells, and electric vehicles.

By researching and comparing these options, you can make a decision that aligns with your values and meets your transportation needs.

Other renewable fuel alternatives

If you’re looking for renewable fuel alternatives, you might want to consider biodiesel, which is made from vegetable oils or animal fats. Biodiesel emits less harmful pollutants than traditional diesel and can be used in existing diesel engines with little to no modifications. Biodiesel can also be blended with traditional diesel to create a cleaner-burning fuel.

Another renewable fuel alternative is hydrogen fuel, which produces zero emissions and can be made from a variety of sources such as natural gas, biomass, or electrolysis of water. However, the production and storage of hydrogen fuel can be expensive and requires specialized equipment.

Additionally, the infrastructure for hydrogen fuel is not as widely available as traditional fuel sources, making it less practical for widespread use at the moment. Nonetheless, advancements in technology and infrastructure may make hydrogen fuel a promising alternative in the future.

Pros and cons of each option

When deciding between biodiesel and hydrogen fuel as renewable fuel alternatives, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons of each option.

Biodiesel is a renewable fuel made from plant-based oils or animal fats, and it’s less expensive than gasoline. It produces fewer emissions than gasoline and can be used in most diesel engines with little to no modification. However, the production of biodiesel requires a significant amount of water and energy, and the cultivation of crops for biodiesel can lead to deforestation and other environmental concerns.

On the other hand, hydrogen fuel produces zero emissions when burned and can be produced from renewable sources like wind or solar power. It’s also highly efficient and can be used in fuel cell vehicles. However, the cost of producing and storing hydrogen is currently much higher than other fuels, and the infrastructure for hydrogen fueling stations is still underdeveloped. Additionally, the production of hydrogen fuel can still result in greenhouse gas emissions if not produced from renewable sources.

Ultimately, the decision between biodiesel and hydrogen fuel as renewable fuel alternatives depends on a cost comparison and consideration of their environmental impact.

Making an informed choice

To make an informed choice between biodiesel and hydrogen fuel as renewable fuel alternatives, it’s important to consider their environmental impact and cost effectiveness.

When it comes to environmental impact, biodiesel emits fewer greenhouse gases compared to hydrogen fuel. Biodiesel is produced from renewable sources such as vegetable oils, whereas hydrogen fuel is produced from fossil fuels through a process called steam reforming. This process involves high temperatures and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change.

On the other hand, hydrogen fuel has a higher energy density compared to biodiesel, which means it can provide more energy per unit of volume. This results in a longer driving range and less frequent refueling. However, the cost of producing hydrogen fuel is still high, making it less cost-effective compared to biodiesel.

Biodiesel can be produced domestically, reducing dependence on foreign oil and providing economic benefits to local farmers. Overall, when choosing between biodiesel and hydrogen fuel, it’s important to weigh their environmental impact and cost analysis to make an informed decision.


In conclusion, while E85 fuel may have some benefits, there are several reasons why it may not be the best option for your vehicle. The lower energy density and reduced efficiency of E85 can result in decreased fuel economy and increased costs over time. Additionally, the potential for engine damage and reduced performance may outweigh any potential savings.

Furthermore, the availability and accessibility of E85 may be limited, making it difficult to find a fueling station near you. For these reasons, it may be worth considering alternative fuel options such as electric or hybrid vehicles, or even gasoline or diesel if they provide better efficiency and accessibility for your needs.

Ultimately, the decision to use E85 should be made after careful consideration of your vehicle’s compatibility and your individual driving needs.