U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
Driving "Back to the Future": Flex-Fuel Vehicle Awareness
March 23, 2011
The 1908 Model-T Ford was the first vehicle designed to run on ethanol, which Henry Ford termed "the fuel of the future." Today, about 8 million flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs) on our roads are capable of running on either gasoline or gasoline blended with up to 85% ethanol (E85). By using E85, these flex fuel vehicles help to decrease our reliance on imported oil and reduce carbon pollution. The "Big Three" U.S. auto makers (Ford, General Motors, and Chrysler) recently announced that half of the vehicles in their entire 2012 vehicle line will be FFVs, including the hybrid-electric plug-in Chevrolet Volt.
Today's ethanol, essentially a non-drinkable grain alcohol, is made from corn or sugar cane. Researchers have been developing processes to convert the cellulose in agricultural wastes like corn stalks, waste woods, and other non-food biomass into ethanol. This biofuel, known as "cellulosic ethanol," will further reduce carbon pollution and is expected to enter the U.S. market in significant amounts in the near future. See the Energy Blog post.