Flex Fuel Vehicles Gaining Wider Acceptance and Availability

If you missed out on the recent government CARS incentive program, you may be able to take advantage of some state programs that are popping up to reimburse taxpayers for their purchases of eco-friendly vehicles.

In Kansas, if you buy a flex fuel vehicle (FFV), you can receive a $750 tax credit from the state government for buying 500 gallons of E85 fuel within the first two years of ownership. Flex fuel vehicles are becoming more and more popular in Kansas and E85 is also becoming easier to find. Many locations have installed blender pumps which are needed in order to offer the E85 fuel mix. As a result, owning an FFV has become more convenient for consumers.

Corn producing states, including Kansas, are teaming up with the American Coalition for Ethanol and the Renewable Fuels Association in order to install blender pumps in what are considered “key” locations throughout the United States. These pumps supply E20 and E40 along with the E85. In Kansas, there are now eleven plants producing ethanol fuel.

E85 is becoming more popular because of its ability to reduce U.S. dependence on oil imports. Corn is, of course, a highly renewable and earth-friendly source of fuel, and government testing has confirmed that E85 (85% ethanol fuel) flex fuel vehicles reduce the hydrocarbon and benzene and carbon dioxide emissions normally produced by conventional gasoline and diesel powered engines.

Although carbon dioxide is produced when ethanol fuel is burned, proponents are quick to point out that the gas is “recaptured as a nutrient” to the crops that produce it. It also is more water soluble, making it safer for the environment.

E85, which is composed of 15% gasoline and 85% ethanol, has a much higher octane than traditional gasoline, and is relatively inexpensive. According to drivingethanol.org, ethanol is present in virtually all grades of gasoline, only at much lower ratios.

Flex fuel vehicles are considered by many to be preferable to hybrid, gas-electric vehicles and all-electric vehicles which use large amounts of rare earth metals in the production of their batteries and engine magnets. In addition to environmental concerns associated with mining, manufacturing and disposing of hybrid batteries and engine components, some experts predict a worldwide shortage of rare earth materials as early as 2012.

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