Leaders with the Renewable Fuels Association are disappointed after learning flex fuel vehicle offerings are taking a nosedive in 2021.
An annual analysis of vehicle owner’s manuals and warranty statements by RFA shows far fewer models are being offered as flex fuel vehicles capable of operating on fuel blends containing up to 85 percent ethanol. Robert White is RFA’s vice president for industry relations. He says only two automakers – Ford and General Motors – are offering flex fuel vehicles in 2021. Only 11 models will be on the market with five of those models available only to fleet purchasers.
“Unfortunately, changes that were made to CAFE credits, which are Corporate Average Fuel Economy credits that the automakers received for years to make flex fuel vehicles, was changed during the Obama Administration to be phased out for flex fuel vehicles,” White said. “They really aimed at incentivizing electric vehicles.”
“We knew this was coming,” White continued. “We have seen it in the last few model years, but we are really down to just 11 models of flex fuel vehicles coming from just Ford and General Motors. That’s a strong dive from where we once were at 80 different models across eight manufacturers.”
White says this development comes at a time when the US has the largest number of E85 stations its ever had, with a continued growing interest in the fuel blend from consumers. He’s hopeful this downward manufacturing trend can reverse course down the road.
“We’re sure doing all we can to reverse that trend,” White said. “There were some recent comments to the federal government on how to incentivize the return of those vehicles. I also think there is just genuine consumer interest. The automakers are no doubt hearing from more people. We have record people converting their vehicles to make them flex fuel now than we have ever seen. It’s an astonishing new market.”
Presently, there are more than 5,000 fuel stations selling E85 and other flex fuels in the US.