I've got a '95 Chrysler Concorde, 3.5L 6 Cylinder 214 hp, that I have been running a 50/50 mix in off and on for the last year with no issues.
I started out adding a gallon of E85 more at each fill up till I hit the 50/50 mix. Only thing I've done is change the fuel filter, but even that was in regular maintenance schedule. System is running cooler according to the gages and mileage dropped 2 mpg on the highway but it went up 2-3 MPG in town. My average overall stayed aprox the same and I love the added oomph when I hit the "gas" to pass.
Why am I telling you all this? Because of what happened at my last fill up and a question I was asked by the station attendant at the local ststion where I buy my E85.
Keep in mind that I have been buying E85 at this station for nearly a year or better with no problem. I did my normal “fill”, (half a tank) at the regular pumps then pulled over to the E85 pump to put in the other half. The pump wouldn’t come on…flipped and pulled the levers on the pump and still wouldn’t pump. A tinny voice comes over the speaker telling me I can’t use that pump and could I please come into the station.
When I got in there the attendant asked if I knew it was illegal to put E85 in a non flex-fuel vehicle? She said the EPA are the ones that "enforce" this rule and that she had been told to not let people to mix E85 with the unleaded.
I asked to speak with the manager and asked to see documented proof. I also made it VERY clear that I would loudly discuss this till I was able to fill my tank. Finally I proceeded to let them know that it's not true. There are stories of the oil companies spreading this story to discourage people from using E85. Also that some gas attendants believe this and won't let patrons put E85 into non flex-fuel vehicles. This is all just a dirty trick by the oil companies.
People will believe the lie probably based on the days when it was illegal to put leaded fuel into cars made for unleaded fuel because one tank of leaded fuel will ruin a catalytic converter. E85 will not ruin any vehicle made in the last 25 years.
If this ever happens to you ask for documentation!
I'll bet a dollar to a doughnut they have none. That'll stop their Fear Mongering in its tracks. If we are being asked to accept Fear of Reprisal without documentation, why can't we accept Personal Freedom and Self-Responsibility without documentation? (Ignoring, of course, the US Constitution, as does our Gov't.)
David Blume discussed this during his most recent Coast To Coast AM interview ("C2C" last month). I can only relate what David said, and cannot supply documentation of my own. Naturally I'll toss in my own 2-cents along the way -- most likely more than once! hehehe....
The short answer is, yes, it is B.S. And I don't mean a Bachelor of Science degree! heheh....
Basically so many people started using alcohol fuel following Blume's original C2C interview (around June 2008) that usage of ethanol shot way up, and the Big Oil companies got scared. So they sent out a letter to all their gasoline stations saying unspecified 'bad things' may happen, from destruction of vehicles, to station owners maybe being sued over some unspecified reason.
Scare tactics in other words. It appears to be a counter-punch thrown by Big Oil to scare people away from using ethanol. Then followed by $50/barrel oil again, but maybe that is only a coincidence, and oil is *not* a manipulated market.
In any event, this is why I caution people to only do ethanol on a cash basis. No debt at all. This way you can survive the artificially lowered fuel prices when that is used as a weapon against ethanol producers. If you do a news search I think you'll find a number of ethanol plants (biodiesel too) are in financial trouble, and will remain so long as oil is low in price. Once they are mostly out of business prices will go up again.
So work in your (detached) garage, talk to farmers, and if you want to go big but don't have the cash, form a co-op with others who think as do you. But do *not* go into debt: "the borrower is slave to the lender." And debt = large risk. We are going to have enough troubles getting American to run on ethanol. Having ethanol production plants go belly-up due to large debt isn't going to help any of us.
Anyway, enough of that rant....
Consider this... Most gasoline vehicles on the road today can take 10% ethanol all day long, year after year. This was a design requirement because the car manufacturers cannot know where their vehicles will end up, and some places (many in fact) require 10% and more ethanol to be blended into their gasoline. (Now Missouri, for example, will mandate this only when ethanol costs less than gasoline, so relative prices do enter into this subject.) Some states are talking about making this as high as 20% ethanol.
So "damage" to vehicles is BS. They are in fact designed *not* to be damaged by ethanol. Older cars can run on ethanol too. Very old fuel pumps --like from the 1970's, old-- may have problems with their seals. But late model parts seem to be just fine. This goes back to 1985, anything made after than should be perfectly fine with regard to negative effects from using ethanol.
David Blume's "big black book" ("Alcohol Can Be A Gas") has a lot of information on these topics. You may also look at his web site of the same name. He may have some of the supporting documentation there. I would hope so anyway.
Now, bare in mind that Big Oil *may* attempt to have laws like that passed. Our gov't --like all gov't's-- are bought and paid for, and you and I don't have nearly enough money to buy them! So it may become illegal in the future. But I sincerely doubt it is today. Also bare in mind, "regulations" are not laws. Large gov't organizations may do whatever they want at any time. *IF* at a later date a judge rules against them things may change, but little people are ground up under the wheels of Big Gov't in the meantime. This is part of the reason our Founding Fathers warned so direly against a strong central gov't.
Vote with this in mind, and with every dollar you spend, cast your economic vote too. This may yet change for the better, but it is going to be an uphill battle. Do what you can to spend your money locally and help support your local economy. Do what you can to stop sending money overseas or to Big Business or Big Gov't. None of these are the friend of the Little Guy.