The Truth About Flex-Fuel Vehicles

Have you thought about buying a flex-fuel vehicle? Or do you want to learn more about flex-fuel vehicles? Either way, this post has all the information you need about flex-fuel vehicles.

What Is A Flex-Fuel Vehicle?

Toyota flex fuel badge

A flex-fuel vehicle is like any other vehicle. The only difference is flex-fuel vehicles can use two different types of fuel:

  1. Straight gasoline
  2. A blend of gas and ethanol (an alcohol-based fuel made from crops such as corn)

The ethanol-based fuel is known as E85. Flex-fuel vehicles usually have a yellow gas cap as well as body badges to let people know it can run on E85. If you own a flex-fuel vehicle, you can choose between straight gasoline or E85 while filling it up.

Toyota Has Two Flex-Fuel Models

We originally wrote about flex-fuel vehicles in 2014. At the time, we stated that there were roughly 7 million fuel-flex vehicles on the road. When 2017 rolled around, that number had tripled to 22 million. Today, we’re seeing more and more flex-fuel vehicles hit the roads.

President Biden’s quest to reduce net greenhouse gas pollution by 2030, his plan for re-entering the Paris climate agreement includes an important detail. It's a plan to make low-carbon renewable fuels more common in the transportation sector. Flex-fuel vehicles fall into that category. So we’re confident that flex-fuel vehicles will become more popular in the future. The government will likely maintain or boost tax incentives for buying flex-fuel vehicles.

Toyota is aware of how popular flex-fuel vehicles are. That’s why they came out with a flex-fuel version of two popular models:

  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Toyota Tundra

Should you purchase a flex-fuel vehicle? It depends on what you want. To help you decide, here are some things you need to consider. Let's go over the pros and cons of owning a flex-fuel vehicle:

The Pros Of Owning A Flex-Fuel Vehicle

Flex fuel gas

The biggest pros of owning a flex-fuel vehicle are:

E85 increases our country’s energy independence. You use less imported fuel with flex-fuel. It’s a renewable fuel that is grown here in the United States. We get E85 from local farmers and producers who turn corn and/or soybeans into ethanol. The existence of locally sourced E85 lessens our need to fight other countries over oil.

E85 is much cleaner for the environment than regular gasoline. If you’re environmentally conscious, this is a huge plus.

E85 is cheaper than regular gasoline. E85 is usually about 40-50 cents cheaper per gallon. Another great thing about E85 is the fact that it’s immune to the volatility of oil prices. So when oil prices spike, you’ll save even more money with E85.

Flex-fuel vehicles are almost identical to standard vehicles. There are typically only a few modifications in the fuel system. If you own a Toyota flex-fuel vehicle, you’ll still be able to easily find and purchase genuine Toyota parts.

The Cons Of Owning A Flex-Fuel Vehicle

Owning a flex-fuel vehicle comes with a couple of drawbacks:

Flex-fuel vehicles get 25 to 30 percent fewer miles per gallon on E85. That’s according to the U.S. Department of Energy. E85 is cheaper than regular gasoline, but depending on local pricing, your savings per mile may vary.

It can be hard to find a gas station that offers E85. The good news is this is becoming less of a problem. E85 is becoming more common these days. It's common to search far and wide for E85 gas stations in rural areas.

We think that flex-fuel vehicles are a great addition to our roads. We hope that Toyota will add more flex-fuel vehicles to its line up sometime soon.