Should you put E85 in your non E85 car?

E85 gas pump
E85 gas pump

It's no surprise that drivers are looking for cheaper fuel alternatives, many people are converting their vehicles to run on vegetable oil or other fuels, but one man in Indiana had a different idea! Bill was fed up with the high gas prices, so when he was at the gas station two months ago he decided to top off his 2000 Monte Carlo with E85 flexfuel. E85 is a special blend of fuel made from alcohol which burns at a different temperature and is only approved for certain vehicles, the 2000 Monte Carlo not being one of them.

Wow! I don't know that I'd opt to save a $1 per gallon when the downside is a ruined engine- pistons and catalytic convertors, for a start. In addition, E85 contains only 72% of the energy of gasoline, which means a car will travel only 72% as far on a gallon, pretty much wiping out any cost advantage.

There are sites which offer E85 conversion kits, but Bill hasn't put one in his car, and despite the fact that it is still running strong after 2 months, I wouldn't suggest you head out and start searching for the E85 pump at your local station. This whole situation reminds me of the many gas efficiency product scams, which if worth their salt, would be implemented by the car manufacturers' themselves.

What do you think? Is E85 just another conspiracy allowing companies to sell more cars, as Bill's mechanic claims or should I dump a tank of E85 in my Cavalier?

Originally published