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Buy an FFV

Where did FFVs come from, who makes them, why did they make them, why should I buy one, and where do I get one

The Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988 provided incentives for all automakers to build Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs). FFVs were designed to run on any combination of ethanol or gasoline without added cost or adjustments by the driver. Since that time automakers have produced and sold millions of these vehicles and they are operating in all parts of the country. Today FFV makers (Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Isuzu, Mazda, Mercedes, Mercury, Nissan) offer over 30 makes and models of FFVs. Chrysler, Ford and General Motors are the leaders in FFV production and have spent billions of dollars in research and development and are now helping to build E85 refueling infrastructure. GM is now investing in the development of cellulosic ethanol technologies which will use feedstocks like switchgrass, waste products and other feedstock alternatives compared to just using just feed grains.

Many automakers did not advertise the FFV options to consumers because E85 refueling stations were not available and some believe dealers thought it may have been a deterrent to selling the cars in the face of E85 availability. Only in the past couple of years have we seen E85 refueling stations start to spread across the United States. There are now 1,600 E85 stations, compared to 170,000 gasoline stations. But policy makers and FFV makers had the foresight to make sure that would be a growing amount of FFVs in the marketplace to one day help drive the demand for renewable transportation fuels as the ethanol continued to develop and be proven in the market place. They were right.

If you were a gasoline retailer would you put in E85 pumps before the FFVs were built It is an old debate, which should come first the chicken (alternative fuel vehicle) or the egg (the alternative fuel). The fossil fuel age old debate is over and the story has transformed from the chicken and the egg to the golden goose and the golden eggs. There are seven million FFVs (golden geese) that can hatch the golden eggs (gallons of E85) across the United States. FFV makers have pledged to make 50% of their vehicles FFVs by 2012 consumers need to back them up.

There are a significant amount of FFVs in the marketplace today to make a difference. In fact, Chrysler estimates that if all of the FFVs on the road today used E85, they alone could use all of the ethanol produced in the Unites States. While that may not be practical at this time, it is a great start and comforting to know we have a technological deterrent and insurance policy to protect us against growing oil imports and the price of dependence we are paying at the pump and on April 15th.

Buying a Used FFV

Please consider an FFV as your second or third family car. Most used car websites have the vehicle identification number (VIN) right on the vehicle link or you can call them up and get the VIN number. You would also need to get the VIN number to get a Car Fax report.