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Saturday, July 02, 2005 

Pride: FFV

One of the reasons I bought my car was the Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV) feature. I didn’t have access to any of the "Flexible Fuels" at the time, but my state offered a small rebate to anyone buying a FFV. Unlike some features of the car, FFV is a great plus. It is an even bigger plus now that E85 is starting to become available.

E85 is a fuel that is made up of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. For those not following is topic, ethanol is currently made from corn, something that is abundantly produced in the Midwest. Because Midwest Agriculture would be helped by the use of ethanol, some Midwestern State Governments are providing seed money for new E85 stations and advertising to promote its use. E85 is really catching on in some places. I was very interested in the story, but I had never paid much attention because there was little hope that I would have access to it. Stations were in places where there were more people, or were politically favored. It was interesting for a while, but then other things displaced the E85 thoughts in my brain.

As regular readers already know, I recently moved. On one of our exploration tours, I pulled into a new gas station and saw a pump labeled E85. E85 is getting around and getting easier to find. I must have moved to one of the politically favored areas, because I find that there are at least 3 stations near me that offer E85.

The current price is $1.69 when the 10% ethanol blend is going for $2.19. At that price it makes sense to use even if the mileage is lower compared with gasoline. I am currently on my first tank of E85 and I have not really felt any difference in mileage, though I am getting much better acceleration and the engine is quieter. I am planning on using E85 as my primary fuel, even if prices for 10% blend drop again. I will continue to report my experiences here.

My #1 reason is National Security. Buying E85 is a small thing for me to do to help us become more energy independent. The fact is that the Middle East would quickly become irrelevant to National Security concerns if we didn’t depend on that region for oil. I am not a "No war for Oil" moonbat, but it is clear to see that if we didn’t need stability in the oil market, we wouldn’t be interested in sending troops there. Think Sudan, Rwanda, Somalia etc. Another benefit is that the Middle East would no longer be awash in cash. Choking off the money spigot would hurt the cause of global terror more than any amount of troops on the ground. This is why Saudi Arabia is usually willing to increase production in order to reduce prices. If we could magically convert all vehicles to use E85, our safety would be greatly enhanced and our military would be under less pressure. A less stressed military provides better security and supports diplomacy better.

My #2 reason is the economy, national, regional and personal. A new market for corn products means more economic activity right here in the good ’ol USA. Living in the Midwest, I am well aware that agriculture is big business. Anything that shifts money from overseas to the heartland of the US is a good thing. On the personal level, E85 is currently about 77% of price of the 10% ethanol blend. Even if the horror stories of a 20% drop in mileage are true, I am still ahead of the game. I would still buy E85 without the lower price because of the National security and homegrown benefits, but I am always happy to save a buck.

My #3 reason is that despite being a earth-hatin', air pollutin' right wing reactionary, a cleaner burning fuel is good for everybody. E85 is a cleaner fuel than gasoline. Besides, it should keep the hippies off my back a little…(I know, I don’t really believe that).

So, to sum up. I have very excited to find E85 near my new home and I plan on using it. It is a small thing to do to help us win the Global War on Terror and it also helps out my pocketbook. If you have a FFV (find out here), please consider using E85 instead of gasoline. Click here to find E85 in your area.

UPDATE:It is sometimes hard to determine if your Ford vehicle is a FFV. The Taurus model (like mine) can be identified by the 8th character of the VIN. If it is a "2", you are E85 happy. You can find the VIN by looking through the driver's side windshield, near the bottom.

UPDATE II:Cox & Forkum weigh in on Gas Prices.

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