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Flex Fuel vehicles, who has one and do you find E-85 ?


Bill Stoneberg

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Did something stupid and went to a dealer looking at cars. Was looking at the new Impalas and Monte Carlos as I have driven them both and thought they were good vehicles.

So the sales slug was pushing the advantages of having a flex fuel vehicle and how it will help save the environment while at the same time put money in my pocket. I asked where I could find it and of course he knew of a station in Austin.

Having looked elsewhere on my trips driving them in South Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama, I have not found it not awfully available, same while I had a trip to Upper Michigan. I looked for it too cause I wanted to try it.

I found it in Houston but I am wondering whee else it might be and what others experiances are in finding and driving on E-85. I imagine that it would be fairly easy to find up in Iowa and the corn belt states.

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Bill,

I had an '03 Yukon that was a flex fuel vehicle. In Minnesota, E85 was fairly easy to find due to the heavy subsidies the state provided to the farmers and distillers. Don't buy it thinking it is going to save you money on fuel. I got about 15 MPG in combination driving on gas and about 11 MPG on E85, which pretty much negated any difference in price at the pump. I could not tell any difference in the way it ran whether I was using E85 or gas.

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Well ya can kinda sorta run a non flex w E 85. Here in good old Illinois ya can find the stuff fairly easy. Running low one day figured I'd give it a try on my 2002 Explorer. Filled it up. You could literally watch the gas gage move as ya drove (I only have the 6 cyl). Also, during the winter, starting was an issue. It would start just wasn't happy about it. Can't blame the fuel for that as the car is not designed to run it. But the crappy gas mileage detered my further experiences.

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Guest 70 Electra

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: Bill Stoneberg</div><div class="ubbcode-body">...Was looking at the new Impalas and Monte Carlos... </div></div>

Bill,

Not sure where you're shopping, but the Monte Carlo hasn't been built since 2007! grin.gif

Seriously, though, I'm glad to hear you're checking out the new Impala. In this environment of doom and gloom for GM, the Impala is a quiet success story. All we read about are plant closures and layoffs, but did you know the Impala plant has been working 3 shifts a day, 6 days a week, for quite some time? The papers don't report that.

They also don't report that the 2009 Impala V6 BEATS Toyota Camry V6 on fuel economy,and ties the Honda Accord V6. So much for the popular myth that Jap cars get better mileage. In addition, the Camry is only classed as a "mid-sized" car by EPA, but Impala (and Accord) are enough bigger to be considered "large" cars.

To answer your original question, E85 is available all over the place here in metro Detroit. I probably pass 5 or 6 stations with it each day. Currently the pricing here is about 50 cents less per gallon. Unfortunately, that doesn't make it a more economical choice, because fuel consumption with E85 is about 25% more than on gas.

I driven thousands and thousands of miles in flex fuel vehicles using E85 (for company evaluation). Other than the increase in fuel consumption (and the associated loss of range) it is completely transparent to the driver.

PS- If I sound big on the Impala, I am. My 2009 Impala was built last Saturday and I hope to take delivery in the next week or so. This is one of the best values on the market!

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Greg,

I like the impala a lot, it is on my short list of cars to look at to replace my wifes truck. I have driven it twice now and been more comfortable in that then a Chrysler 300. Got almost 30 mpg on regular. Cant complain about that.

Cheaper then a Toyota, more room then a Toyota and the dealers aren't charging a 5K premium like some dealers who sell Toyotas.

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I STRONGLY concur that the current Chevy Impala is a GREAT VALUE--period. I've rented a good number of them and the 3.5L pushrod V-6 will get better than 30mpg on the road (by observation). I clocked one in a prior-than-current gen Malibu (not VVT back then) at 36mpg on the way from work to DFW to turn it back in to National.

In one of my quarterly trips to Buffalo, TX, I rented a then-new Impala 1LT. I cleared the trip computer before I left and when I hit the off ramp at Buffalo, it was a solid 30mpg average. By the time I got back to DFW to turn it in that night, it was at 31mpg average . . . starting with about 800 miles on it. Watching the "instant mpg" readouts saw many 35mpg stretches on I-45 on the way back. Heck, if it's averaging 30-31mpg, then it's got to be doing better than that on "the flatland" sections. On that trip, using cruise control in I-45 was not a real option, due to traffic patterns and such, although I used it when I could.

The "kicker" for an Impala is the SS. The 5.3L V-8 and the variable displacement situation makes that into an incognito gas mileage machine, at least as good as the Chevy 3.9L V-6 . . . out on the road. With the V-8, it'll stay in 4 cyl mode longer going up hills where the V-6 will kick out of 3 cyl mode just going over a normal Interstate overpass. I logged two sections at 31mpg average on two different SSs. Not to bad, all things considered.

Also, Bill, if you get the Impala with the upscale fold-down backseat, it'll haul 6 foot lumber securely with no problem. I've got the pictures on my cell phone to prove it, from a night at Home Depot with one of the Impala SSs I rented.

As for the "FlexFuel" issue . . . there aren't many stations in TX that have it. I believe some Kroger stores' gas stations might have it, but no main name brand stations that I know of. Using E85 in a non-flexfuel vehicle is not recommended as it takes a different or more adaptable powertrain program to run it. The MAIN issue is that E85 is made from a "renewable" resource rather than "use it and it's gone" resource. Consumers Reports had a comparison blurb about mpg comparisons. Some flexfuel vehicles had more variation in mpg than others on E85, but it was usually lower with E85.

Just some thoughts and observations,

NTX5467

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">The MAIN issue is that E85 is made from a "renewable" resource rather than "use it and it's gone" resource.</div></div>

To the extent that producing ethanol is a net generation process (<span style="font-style: italic">and it's generally agreed to be between a 20% and 30% net energy gain with <span style="text-decoration: underline">today's</span> average efficiency</span>), there is also the added benefit of it being carbon neutral by roughly the same percentage.

A lot of people are <span style="text-decoration: underline">very</span> happy to a little pay more for their transportation needs to be able to say with confidence they're doing something for global warming, resource conservation, and energy independence. cool.gif

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Guest Skyking

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: 70 Electra</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Seriously, though, I'm glad to hear you're checking out the new Impala. In this environment of doom and gloom for GM, the Impala is a quiet success story. All we read about are plant closures and layoffs, but did you know the Impala plant has been working 3 shifts a day, 6 days a week, for quite some time? The papers don't report that.

They also don't report that the 2009 Impala V6 BEATS Toyota Camry V6 on fuel economy,and ties the Honda Accord V6. So much for the popular myth that Jap cars get better mileage. In addition, the Camry is only classed as a "mid-sized" car by EPA, but Impala (and Accord) are enough bigger to be considered "large" cars.

</div></div>

I'll agree, while renting an Impala on a recent trip to Florida I found the gas milege & confort outstanding.

It was interesting to read an article in this morning's paper comparing the new Matrix & Vibe from Toyota & Pontiac. Even though they are both Toyotas there is more action in the Toyota dealer's than in the Pontiacs'. Although, they did mention the Pontiac's interior is better. It's all due to perception............!!! I swear, if you put a Toyota emblem on a dumpster, there will be people in line to buy one. laugh.gif

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<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">I swear, if you put a Toyota emblem on a <span style="text-decoration: underline"><span style="font-style: italic"><span style="font-weight: bold">dumpster</span></span></span>..... </div></div>

Sky, is this some kind of "new car smell" mission you're promoting here? crazy.giflaugh.gif

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Wayne

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Guest Skyking

<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Originally Posted By: R W Burgess</div><div class="ubbcode-body">

Sky, is this some kind of "new car smell" mission you're promoting here? crazy.giflaugh.gif

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Wayne </div></div>

Sorta', you buying......... grin.gif

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BILL

Even in Iowa you just don't pull into one.

But you can find them fairly easy throughout the cornbelt.

I just ran 40 gallons of E15 through my 63 Leasbre last week. It seems to run a bit cooler AND 16 mpg.

There are lots of politics here, but one thing I don't get.

There are people who would prefer to buy fuel from the "Middle East", rather than renewable fuel from American Farmers.

Every time I fill with Ethanol blends it's like sticking the nozzle.......well you know!

RY

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They are adding E85 almost every week somewhere in Iowa. These things take time. I suspect the allocation of E85 vehicles is highest in states moving into E85 pumps. Why in the heck would a gas retailer in Houston (or anywhere in Texas) add an E85 pump? The entire country is suffering from the Recession but I see stories every week about how Houston is boomtown now.

The sad argument that it takes fossil fuel to farm corn that makes ethanol is wrong wrong wrong. Short sided thinking. The idea that corn and commodities prices will rise (simple supply and demand) is correct and fine. It's what we as Americans want (not just Iowans)

Only through Capitalism will someone build a better mousetrap. In this case, supply will increase from increased acres planted. has anyone ever seen South Dakota, Nebraska, North Dakota, etc.? There are millions of acres, that, though a little arrid, could support increased corn and soy production.

Slowly, tractors and farm equipment will run on Soy Diesel not imported oil and the pendulum will swing. Word is the available supply of oil is maxed out in about 2015. I'm no sky is falling guy either, it justs makes good sense to try and conserve fossil fuels while at the same time promoting renewable energy.

Not so much in Iowa and Illinois.

I would get an E85 vehicle for no other reason then you don't have to use E85 if you don't want to or can not locate a pump BUT if you pick a car NOT set up for E85 then that choice is made for you.

That way if you hold onto a car E85 capable for say 6 years, by then you will see more E85 stations.

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Well put BJM.

1948LINCOLN;

I wouldn't use E85 in those not designed for it.

Yet I guess I could try it in my 63. What the heck.

Lot's of wives's tales about Ethanol, most not true.

75 RivGS;

LP is quite high here as it is tied with Anhydrous Amonia production which is used for Nitrogen in Corn production (and Meth).

RY

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@ DRAGNRIK:

Thanks. Was just curious.

I converted both Rivs to run on LPG and regular gas. The Wagon however will be converted to only use LPG (so I can use the space of the gastank for a LPG-tank and another advantage is the increasing performance). I estimate that 75% of all the gas stations here in The Netherlands sell LPG.

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Wes,

The gasahol would not be good for the old cars. I believe it would be highly corrosive to the rubber lines. If you replaced rubber lines, and had a carb set up to accept it then I would do this: Run about 3 gallons of E85 for every 7 gallons of "regular" 87 octane. You would get an increase in Octane which all old cars love, you would get a cleaner combustion chamber, better for the environment, use of 'some' renewable fuels. that way you can 'go green' or as my hero Harley earl told his designers: "Go all the way! Then back off..."

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INTERESTING.

In the 1960's many Farm Tractors had a option to be L.P.G.

But the diesel took over when horsepower requirements got bigger.

By the way, We do busines with a gentleman in the Netherlands at the John Deere Dealership where I work.

He ships Antique tractors and parts over there to restore and sell.

So if you ever need anything from this side of the pond let me know.

Typicaly twice a year in one of those large containers.

I shipped a 401 Engine to finland via him a few years ago.

RY

P.S. A L.P. RIV!!! Now I've heard of everthing!!!!!

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@ Dragnik:

Ry you will be amazed about the performance you can get with a LPG conversion.

Still the only reason for me is that regular gas here cost about $10.50 p/gln. and LPG about $3.00 p/gln. With the conversion costs of about $1800 I will gain after 2 years.

Thanks for your offer for transportation. I will get back to you on that through PM later

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