One of the Mid-Atlantic’s most recognizable gasoline chains is offering E85 fuel for just $1.85 per gallon. Sheetz locations throughout Maryland, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia are all participating, PennLive reports, so if you’ve got a flex-fuel compatible car and travel in the region, congrats: You’ll be fueling up on the cheap this month — just in time to enjoy the early spring weather in whatever build you’ve tuned within an inch of its life.
Modified cars aren’t the only ones having fun here, but note that only cars with fueling systems designed for ethanol-heavy fuels can run safely on E85; these days, that mostly means trucks — domestic trucks, specifically — but that wasn’t always the case. Many domestic passenger cars were built for flex fuel capability over the past few decades. Compatible cars are denoted by a yellow gas cap, and your owner’s manual should tell you exactly which fuels and grades your car will accept; this information is also often found on either your fuel door or gas cap.
Failing that, there are other tools available to help you. The EPA has a Power Search feature on its website that allows you to drill down by make, model, year and fuel type. If you have a brand-new Ford or GM truck, you’re probably in luck. Variants of the Ford F-150, Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra have been flex-fuel compatible for ages and remain so today, but going back a generation or two, many common domestic cars appear on the list, including variants of the Ford Escape and Chevy Equinox among many, many others.
If in doubt, however, you should skip. E85 is not to be confused with traditional gasoline with an ethanol additive; standard cars can tolerate a mix, but use of a blend as strong as E85 in a non-flex-fuel vehicle will damage your fueling system and potentially your engine. Don’t risk it.