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Anyone thought about converting to E85?


Mar 2, 2002
Dark Blue 1982 Trans Am(s): Polo Green 1995 MN6
Has anyone thought about using / converting to E85?

I'm not interested in taking on this conversion- but we have a couple gas stations that sell it around the Louisville area. It is significantly cheaper than 87, 89, and 93 octane unleaded. From what I understand, E85 has a lot higher octane rating.

The downside is cost. It would be hard to rationalize almost a thousand dollars for conversion parts resulting in a savings of only $.60 a gallon. By a conservative estimate- the savings may be only about $400 a year.

Gallons x Cost Per x Weeks = Total Cost
7 x $3.70 x 52 = $1,346.80
7 x $2.60 x 52 = $946.40

I've seen Barry Grant has some carbs that run E-85... not sure about EFI conversions for Vettes though. Swapping out some aluminum parts, a new electric fuel pump, lots of neoprene, and new ECM programing seems like a lot of work to get a Rochester EFI system to tolerate E85.


Use in flexible-fuel vehicles
E-85 ethanol is used in engines modified to accept higher concentrations of ethanol. Such flexible-fuel vehicles (FFV) are designed to run on any mixture of gasoline or ethanol with up to 85% ethanol by volume. There are a few major differences between FFVs and non-FFVs. One is the elimination of bare magnesium, aluminum, and rubber parts in the fuel system. Another is that fuel pumps must be capable of operating with electrically conductive ethanol instead of non-conducting dielectric gasoline fuel. Fuel injection control systems have a wider range of pulse widths to inject approximately 40% more fuel. Stainless steel fuel lines, sometimes lined with plastic, and stainless steel fuel tanks in place of terne fuel tanks are used. In some cases, FFVs use acid-neutralizing motor oil. For vehicles with fuel-tank mounted fuel pumps, additional differences to prevent arcing, as well as flame arrestors positioned in the tank's fill pipe, are also sometimes used.

Hib Halverson

Technical Writer for Internet & Print Media
Jan 10, 2001
CenCoast CA
71 04 12 19
E85 is a wet-dream of the environmentalists and agribusiness.

Yeah, E85 can be up to 105 octane but, because it's 85% alcohol, you deal with alcohol's shortcomings as a motorfuel: 1) much lower AFR means you burn a lot more of it, 2) lower energy value, ie: less BTU's per gallon.

For E85 to be a "good deal" for the consumer it needs to be priced at 25% or more below the prevailing prices of gasoline and you still don't save any money until you recover the cost of the conversion.

If octane is what you need, you're much better off using racing gasoline. It would be far less complex and much less costly then converting an old car to run on E85.

Worse–it's a net energy-loser. Ethanol contains about 76,000 BTUs of energy per gallon, but producing it from corn takes about 98,000 BTUs. A gallon of gas has about 116,000 BTUs, but making that gallon of gas requires only around 22,000 BTUs.

It's amazing how some environmentalists and politicians have bought into the E85 fairy tail. Well...maybe it's not.

Don Strausburg

E85 Rip Off

I tried E85 in my SUV. I guarantee you one thing. Your MPG will DRAMATICALLY go down. You will lose about 50 mpg on a full tank of gas . Unless E85 goes down to at least 2.00 a gallon, the differance is really not worth it.

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