Do you know that at least 11 million cars in the United States can be classified as flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs)? Perhaps you do not know much about it since it is also not usually talked about. However, when you are shopping for vehicles at an auction, it pays to be more attentive as to whether it is an FFV or not since it can affect your decision.
What Is an FFV?
An FFV is a vehicle that comes with a tank that can accommodate gasoline and an alternative fuel, in which case it is a blend of ethanol and gasoline. In the United States, around a million FFVs in 2011 had E85, which means it contains 85 percent ethanol.
FFVs come into being for a number of reasons. First, it can help reduce dependency on gasoline, although prices of such have been falling over the last few years. Second, ethanol is a cleaner source of energy, and it promotes lower CO2 emissions by releasing fewer pollutants into the air.
FFVs are not entirely economical since they require more refueling due to their lower miles per gallon (MPG), but this may be offset as alternative fuel prices go down. Moreover, FFVs tend to have better-maintained engines, so maintenance can be cheap and the vehicle is driven for a much longer time.
Although FFVs, particularly the production of ethanol, have met criticisms and controversies, they have been touted by others to be good boosters of economy since the major ingredient used such as corn are sourced out in the country.
How It Affects an Auction
Considering the type of fuel that is used in an FFV, it is safe to assume that these types of vehicles are in fairly good condition – particularly the engine. You also have many car models, makes, and years to choose from. There are already more than 15 million light-duty vehicles running as FFVs in the United States between 1998 and 2012, according to National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
However, there are also a few challenges including the limited number of stations where alternative refueling can be done. Keep in mind that only a million of these FFVs run in E85.
How to Find Them
Needless to say, if you are interested to buy FFVs, then you are lucky because they are basically everywhere. There are certain auctions that concentrate on bidding only FFVs, but more often than not, they are mixed with regular vehicles. After all, other than the kind of fuel they can use, they look no different from other types of cars.
What you need to know is how to find out if it’s FFV. For this, look for a label that says E85, FFV, or Flex-Fuel in the following places:
- Badge stuck on the vehicle
- Owner’s manual
- Fuel door
General Motors FFVs produced from 2006 and above already have yellow gas caps, as well as other vehicles from 2008 up to present. If there are no indications, you can request for more information from the auctioneer or use tools such as https://www.fuelfreedom.org/our-work/fuels-101/check-car/.