The 4 Wheeler
6519 Arapahoe Rd Unit #2, Boulder, CO 80303 303.443.8488

This The 4 Wheeler automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: Boulder fire fighting experts. You've probably heard of E85 gasoline. Some newer vehicle models sold in CO are specifically built to run on E85 – the rest are not.

E85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption in CO. E85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, a grain-base alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E85 gas. The result is lower harmful exhaust emissions in our Boulder area environment.

All gas engines can run with up to 10% ethanol, and in fact a lot of Boulder gasoline does contain some ethanol. The problem comes when well meaning Boulder drivers without Flex-Fuel certified vehicles put E85 into the tank.

At an 85% concentration, the potential for problems arises. Because of the chemical differences between ethanol and gasoline, special seals and gaskets are needed for Flex-Fuel vehicles. In a normal engine, the ethanol in E85 gas will eat away important seals and gaskets. This leads to gas and oil leaks.

You can imagine the fire hazard caused by leaking gasoline. CO fire fighting experts caution Boulder to only use E85 if they know their vehicle is certified to handle it.

In fact, service and repair center owners are being warned to purchase fire extinguishers that use the special foam needed to extinguish ethanol fires as a precaution in case starting up an ethanol damaged engine leads to a fire.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want to have happen in your garage at home, either. If you have a Flex-Fuel certified vehicle, feel free to protect the environment by using E85 gasoline. If not, please do not use E85 in an engine that’s designed to run on unleaded gasoline only. If you have questions or want to find out how to determine if your vehicle can safely use E85, go to for more resources.

Give us a call if you have any questions.

The 4 Wheeler
6519 Arapahoe Rd Unit #2
Boulder, CO 80303


At The 4 Wheeler we install quality NAPA replacement parts.