Mazda's fleet of ethanol capable vehicles

Mazda's fleet of ethanol capable vehicles image

Text: / Photos: Brent Co | posted August 10, 2008 00:00

Zoom-Zoom goes green

Amidst constantly rising gas prices, pushing for ethanol as a fuel alternative is definitely a positive step in the right direction. Ethanol-blended fuel is not only cheaper per liter; its high-octane rating makes it better for your car's engine. As a biofuel it's also better for the environment; it reduces the amount of harmful carbon monoxide emissions, is renewable and even biodegradable. More importantly, ethanol can be produced locally decreasing our foreign oil dependency while benefiting our rural industries and farmers.

The flagship of Mazda's campaign is the 2008 Mazda3-- a car that can be considered a Flexible Fuel Vehicle (FFV). FFV's have specialized connections between the engine and the fuel system allowing them to use alternative fuels when available. The Mazda3 is E20 capable this means it can accept gasoline mixed with up to 20% Ethanol. Locally available E10 fuel can cost around P2 less per liter which means one could save a little over P100 with every top up of the Mazda 3's 50 liter fuel tank.

Mazda's premium line of vehicles consists of: the Mazda6 a sports sedan meant to be driven, the MX-5 with Power Retractable Hard Top a sports coupe that lets the driver feel as one with car, and the crossover SUV CX-9 which seats 7 in total comfort. These cars are all 'E10 capable' providing their owners the option to switch to ethanol-blends when available.

Ethanol is a high-octane, water-free alcohol produced from the fermentation of sugar or converted starch. Because it's a pure alcohol fuel it has a nearly complete combustion thereby emitting very little carbon monoxide. And changes in fuel economy are minimal. E10 blends contains about 97% of the energy of "pure" gasoline, this is compensated by the fact that the combustion efficiency of the ethanol-blended fuel is increased. Aside from being a slower and cleaner burning fuel many consumers have reported that using ethanol-blends have improved their fuel economy.

Local oil companies are starting to comply with the mandate of the 'Biofuels Act' providing consumers with 10% ethanol-blended E10 fuel in selected stations. All of the major oil companies as well as the local players are expected to follow suit because under the Biofuels Act of 2006, all oil companies are mandated by law to sell and distribute only E5 blend gasoline by February 2009 and a minimum of E10 by 2011.