Iowa gas stations can get up to 25-thousand dollars for offering E-85, a fuel blend heavy on ethanol. Jennifer Moehlman at the DNR says it’s not really a “new” development. E-85 is a mix of 85-percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, created in the 1970s during the energy crisis then to wean the U-S off dependence on foreign oil. Since then, however, even though many government vehicle fleets have run on the mixture, retailers have been slow to offer it to the general public. Moehlman explains Iowa’s DNR didn’t originate this program.NEVC, the national Ethanol Vehicle Coalition, got money from the federal Energy Department to increase the number of stations that offer E-85 fuel, so Iowa’s DNR is just helping get out word of the program and help stations apply for that money. As far as finding a “flexible-fuel” vehicle to buy that would use the fuel…you may already be driving one. She says there are more than 15 models on the market today, including Ford Explorer, Ranger and Taurus, Chrysler Siebring and several minivans, and says there are 22-thousand such vehicles on the road in Iowa today in the hands of private individuals, so likely thousands are already driving them without knowing it. Once you fill the tank with E-85, it isn’t necessary to stick with the high-ethanol blend forever. That’s why they’re called “flexible fuel” vehicles, as Moehlman explains you can put in E-85, ten-percent ethanol blend, regular or a combination of whatever’s in the tank when you fill it, because a chip in the car’s computer will automatically adjust the engine to run on it. Wonder if your car could burn high-ethanol E-85?Moehlman says it’ll tell you in the owner’s manual, and on Ford vehicles there’s a road-and-leaf logo on the side of the vehicle and inside the door to the gas-cap, that indicates you can use either regular or e-85 fuel. The DNR’s website also offers a list of new and current vehicles on the market that are flexible-fuel.
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