A local service station has started selling a blend of gasoline (85%) and ethanol (15%). Can this blended fuel be used in a Prius? Would it's use violate the vehicle warranty? How would the blended fuel affect vehicle performance and mileage?
On first day new gasoline station was open, the ethanol-gasoline mixture was priced at $.85 a gallon as special promotion. Cars were lined up for a block waiting in line to buy the first-day, special pricing. Today price of ethanol/gasoline mixture is $2.56 a gallon...or $.20 less than regular self-serve.
My old Owner's manual for my US 2001 Prius:
"OXYGENATES IN GASOLINE
Toyota allows the use of oxygenate blended gasoline where the oxygenate content is up to 10% ethanol or 15% MTBE. If you use gasohol in your Toyota, be sure that it has an octane rating no lower than 87.
Toyota does not recommend the use of gasoline containing methanol."
The same language is found in the US 2004 Prius Owner's Manual on page 203.
So, the Prius is rated to use E10 (which is apparently commonly available in MN), but the Prius is not a flex-fuel vehicle so cannot use E85. E10 = 10% ethanol/90% gasoline. E85 = 85% ethanol/15% gasoline.
There have been a few people who have tried using E85. The Prius will run, but cold start emissions are higher, MPG is lower, and you'll get a check engine light. The long-term effects of using E85 in the Prius hasn't been studied (the ethanol can eat at certain plasticy bits in the fuel line).
to the OP: Are you sure that the gas station is selling E15 (15% ethanol/85% gasoline), or is it E85 (85% ethanol/15% gasoline)?