The Flex-Fuel Tundra is on sale in Select Regions.
The price of gasoline has been up and down, depending on the price of crude oil, geopolitical situations in the world and refining capacity. The price of E85 ethanol has also been hopping about, depending on the price of corn, the growing number of E85 pumps and more refining capacity coming online.
With the flex-fuel Tundra on sale in select regions for 2009 model year, many dealers will be following the price of E85 fuel in their areas and comparing those prices to regular unleaded gasoline. Since vehicles running on straight E85 consume more fuel, the price of E85 has to be lower than gasoline for truck owners to realize a cost benefit.
A new Web site called e85prices.com surveys stations around the country and compares E85 pump prices to gasoline prices in the same area. According to the site, the national average price for E85 in Mat was $1.88 per gallon while unleaded regular came in at $2.32. The spread reflected a 18.9% difference.
At the end of April, the Web site reported that some areas of the country had a 31% spread in the price while others were as low as 4%. The huge swing in price differences can be attributed to proximity of E85 refining plants and state and local incentives to promote low E85 prices. The Midwest with its abundance of corn and ethanol refineries has the lowest prices while some states in the Northeast have yet to offer E85 at the pump.
According to e85prices.com, there are more than 1,700 E85 stations in 1,249 cities across the country.
According to EPA mileage estimates*, a flex-fuel vehicle running on E85 gets about 20% to 30% lower fuel economy than on gasoline. Flex-fuel vehicles can run on any blend of E85 or gasoline. The truck’s engine-management computer senses the blend of fuel and makes adjustments to the fuel-delivery and ignition system to maintain performance levels. There is no loss of horsepower when running on straight E85 or any mix of E85 and gasoline.
The website e85prices.com has a calculator to help consumers determine which fuel is more cost efficient based on local prices and the fuel-consumption tendencies of their vehicles.
The Flex-Fuel Tundra features the 5.7-liter i-Force V8 engine and is available only in 4×4 configuration. Select Sequoia models will also be flex-fuel capable. Regions getting the flex-fuel Tundras and Sequoias include DEN, CHI, CIN, KC, GST and SET. Regions that will continue selling gas-only vehicles include CAT, LA, SF, PT, NY and BOS.