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History of Flexible Fuel Vehicles in the United States

 


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The story of flexible-fuel (otherwise recognised as flex-fuel) vehicles in the United State is a tenacious one, but with a large gap. Back in the early years of the last century, the Model T was capable of functioning on either gasoline or ethanol.

Nevertheless, the “oil kings" decided that they had better ensure the fuel used in the United States, so did everything they could to cut out the rival, including ditching inexpensive oil on the market, which undercut the cost of alternative fuels; demonize hemp, which was then a common biofuel; buy up trolley systems, which ran on electricity, and replace them with diesel exhaust-spewing buses; and win over the government to build publicly-funded roads and highways for their gasoline-driven cars.

Due to the oil embargoes of the 70s, ever-increasing use of foreign oil, and environmental concerns, just about all cars assembled in America since the 1980s have been capable of run on a 90%-10% combination of gas and ethanol, only that ratio isn't adequate enough to call them flexible-fuel vehicles. (On the other hand, Brazil has been expending flex-fuel cars since the 1970s. )

Nonetheless, the first genuine flex-fuel car made up in the US in over 70 years was the 1993 Ford Taurus. . . only 15 years ago.

A flex-fuel car works on more than one source of fuel. The fuels can be blended in the same tank (such as a vehicle operating on gas with 5% ethanol). This system is known as dual-fuel. A good example would be an automobile that runs on gas and 85% ethanol.

On the other hand, a flexible-fuel vehicle could have separate fuel tanks that can be alternated. Such systems are called bi-fuel, and include cars that run on gas and natural gas.

Throughout the history of the automobile in the United States, auto manufacturers and oil companies have campaigned against improving mileage standard. Car makers complain it would be too expensive to arrange And oil companies, naturally, do not want anything that cuts into their net profit, which now set profit records in the billions quarterly.

But car makers have set about to recognize that rocketing gas prices, a exacerbating economy, and consumer requirement for more fuel effective, “green" cars is the wave of the future, and are now beginning to work to meet that consumer demand.

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