Category Archives: Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFV)

Ford cuts back on hybrid sale

Earlier this year or was it last year, I forget, Ford said it would sell 250,000 hybrids by 2010, this week Bill Ford said that the Ford Motor company would concentrate on the FFV program. Currently, there are 12 E85 fueling locations in Michigan. Ford and the other Detroit Automakers plan on producing two million FFV by 2010. Seems that these guys have some “corny” plan in mind. To read the full article click here.


New gimmick by GM

GM is offering $1,000 fuel card when a customer buys any new 2006 or 07 Chevy or GMC FFV in the Chicago-Rockford (there are only two Ethanol gas stations here) and Minneapolis-St. Paul markets between 2 May and 31 July 2006. But here comes the best part, based on fuel price of $ 2.91 per gallon of gasoline and $2.41 per gallon of E85 (current estimates from the DOE), the $1,000 card would provide about 5,400 miles of driving on E85 in a Tahoe, and about 5,800 miles of driving on gasoline. (The Tahoe is rated at 13 mpg on E85, 17 mpg on gasoline.) Some of these monsters come with 31 gallon tanks (such as the Yukon XL) and with gas currently retailing anywhere between 2.75 – 2.99, that could cost about $85 (@ 2.75) everytime you topped it off with regular gas. That free fuel card could vanish in about 11 refills, with E85 2 additional refills at the best, then what.
Who are these guys at GM trying to hoodwink? So the clones at GM think that if people do not go for the $1K rebate idea, then just by changing the wording such as rebate into fuel card, customers will fall for it. DO NOT FALL FOR THIS MARKETING STUNT FOLKS. A $1000 worth of free gas on one of these gas guzzling giants will end up costing you more over the years, probably to the point where you have spent more money on gas than on the car payments. Kudos to the marketing strategist who came up with this brilliant idea (for those people at GM who did not get it, I am being sarcastic).

Biodiesel (B50) for Cincinnati Metro Transit Agency

Beginning this month, Cincinnati (Ohio) Metro is fueling all of its buses with a B50 biodiesel blend (50% biodiesel). Metro intends to use the 50% blend in months when the average temperature is higher than 40º F (April to October) and switch back to a B20 blend in colder months.

According to this article Ohio is the sixth largest producer of soybeans in the nation. I wish metro transit systems in Detroit and its surrounding towns could take up like Cincinnati.
Read the full story

Chrysler E85 Options

Chrysler plans on selling FFV models of the Jeep Cherokee and Jeep Commander in 2007. Both models will come with E85 engines. However, with an EPA estimate of 17 mpg combined on both these vehicle, I do not see them being of any good use, I know that some people will say its better to have the FFV option but would it not be better to have this option on smaller chrysler vehicles.

Source: GreenCarCongress

Another GM corny stunt

GM has littered the New York International Auto Show with Flex Fuel vehicles and to make sure attendees do not miss them, all of them are in bright yellow and green, hence touting the “live green, go yellow” GM motto. We have already been through this people, just by putting out an Avalanche or any other gas guzzling SUV under the FFV/Ethanol banner, it does not make up for the fact that it still is a gas guzzler. The fact that GM is offering free one-year membership subscriptions to the National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition (NEVC), just goes to prove the point on how committed GM is to this corny oil idea. You can visit the site and register for the free newsletter. And you can also locate and find, that is if there are any E85 gas stations around your state and if it is worth the drive to go and gas up. Now you wonder why GM is not doing so well. Check out the article on how GM has been revving up its Ethanol campaign in New York.


E85 Gas Stations

The other day Krissy and I were somehow got talking about buying a second car (like that is going to happen anytime soon), she was interested in a FFV, so I told her one of the major problems would be finding a gas station near us that supplies E85. Currently, there are only six E85 gas stations either coming up or open in Michigan. The closest one for us would entail a 40 minute drive each way. Krissy did not like that, she felt that GM was doing this big ad push for “live green, go yellow” and all we have is five or six E85 gas depots in Michigan, even Ohio has more. She being a native of Michigan, she can definitely voice that sentiment very well. So a note to the Powers that Be at the Big 3, better start opening more E85 gas stations.

BMW plans on launching Bi-Fuel Car soon

BMW Group has plans of introducing bi-fuel (Gasoline-Hydrogen) 7 series this year. With the 170-liter liquid hydrogen tank storing about 8 kg of hydrogen, the car has a hydrogen-fueled range of 200 to 300 kilometers (125 to 185 miles). On gasoline, the car has a range up to 500 kilometers (310 miles). Now from past experience with hydrogen (e.g. The Hindenberg), BMW admits that the biggest obstacle is the safe storage of hydrogen. Hydrogen has to be stored at what -253C at high pressure. And another thing, how much does BMW 7 series cost???


Another costly alternative, Veggie oil aka Biodiesel

So wonder what happens to the oil your fries where fried in, well Biodiesel comes from here (new and/or used veggie oil and animal fat). Again the same pattern emerges, an alternative that is actually more costly that E85 and gasoline. Buyers could end up paying anywhere between .20 to .40 cents per gallon for B20 (20%biodiesel 80% diesel). For more information click on What is Biodiesel?

But do the benefits for using biodiesel out weigh the cost. According to the National Biodiesel Board, using a B20 biodiesel fuel blend can reduce vehicle emissions:

Only 10 million miles have been driven on pure Biodiesel, this is just a fraction of the mileage we drive in the US. In 1994, U.S. residential vehicles traveled 1,793 billion miles (Figure 3.1), a distance equal to more than 70 million trips around the world.

The only way to get around the high cost is that if I set up my own biodiesel production unit, it may take me several yrs before I can break even but hey, my car exhaust will smell like the fries.