We Converted Our Car to a Flex-Fuel Vehicle

We converted our car and it feels great! We broke free. It’s been a long time since I did something that made me so happy. We just filled up our tank with E85. For the first time in my life, I had a choice at the pump and I got to buy American-made alcohol, which means OPEC got next to nothing from me.

We support fuel competition because dependence on foreign oil threatens our national security. Our economy depends on a fuel controlled by men who seek to rule the world. Sounds so dramatic, I know, but it’s still true. The military understands this. Nearly every military facility, at least around here, has an E85 station.

I think one way to help others get the message about fuel competition is by actually changing our own world as a demonstration of what needs to be done; and maybe even more importantly, to show people how good it feels to drive a flex fuel car. And I’m here to tell you, it feels good to have choice.

I know it’s maybe a bit silly to talk about the emotions of all this, but that’s been the biggest shift for me. Now it doesn't bring me down every time I fill the tank. In fact, now, when I fill the tank it makes me happy! In a world where I often feel helpless, having done something that makes me feel in charge gives me a kind of strength, a sense of power. I actually did something real and concrete to stop the flow of money from the free world to OPEC. It gives me a real sense of satisfaction. I stopped a terrible thing from happening in my world. I stopped funding those who hate our freedoms, especially my freedom as a woman.

I asked Adam to let me install the conversion kit. I’d watched some video clips showing how easy it was. One showed two young boys doing it, ages 13 and 9. Another one showed a pretty woman installing it in maybe five minutes. I saw another one of a movie star who did it in seven minutes. "If they can do it," I thought, "I can do it."

When I looked around online for conversion kits I met a great group of guys. I called and talked with Ian Crawford at AlcoholCanBeAGas.com and others. They not only answered my questions, but offered to let me call them when it was time to install it so they could coach me through it!

I chose to buy ours from the people at AlcoholCanBeAGas.com because they've been around since the 1970’s and David Blume and Ian Crawford know a lot about cars.

When it came time to install the conversion kit (which I did without any coaching on the phone), nothing seemed to go right. I needed a 10mm socket and I couldn’t find one. So I found a neighbor who works on cars and he lent me one.

I needed the socket because in our car the air filter housing prevents access to the fuel injectors. But it was pretty easy to get the housing off. Then I could see the fuel injectors. But then I dropped a little plastic part down between the radiator and the grill. I couldn't reach it from above. I couldn't reach it from below. Grrrr. It took some time, but I eventually was able to get that part out. Then I was back to the installation.

The conversion kit is a little black box about the size of a long pack of cigarettes. There’s a computer inside. I attached it to a good spot inside the engine compartment with some Velcro strips. There are wires that go from the conversion box to each one of the fuel injectors. The actual installation is pretty straightforward. At the end of each wire there’s a little connector. All you have to do is unplug the wire that goes into the fuel injector and plug it into the converter connector and then plug the converter wire into the fuel injector. We have four cylinders, so I did this four times. Then when the car's computer sends a signal to the fuel injector to inject fuel, the signal goes to the converter box first, which adds the appropriate adjustment so the car can use alcohols as well as gasoline.

That’s it. Oh, then I used some of those little plastic jobbers to bind up the wires all nice and neat and out of the way. Then I put the air filter housing back in place. Three bolts. Done. And even with my lack of tools, and my clumsiness, and having never installed one before, and even though I didn’t do it in seven minutes, the whole thing, start-to-finish was less than a half hour. And I didn’t even hurt my manicure.

The car started right up. No engine light. All the gauges work the same. We drove around. No difference. Slick! I felt more than a bit smug that I could now say I did it myself. Just to complete the process, we bought an emblem online that says "flex fuel" and put it on our car. Big smile.

But the real thrill was at the pump. That was truly one of the happiest moments I’ve had in awhile. I have a sense of ownership of my life I didn’t have before. All the times I’ve bought gas knowing I’m paying Wahhabi fanatics who hate my rights as a woman, all the times I felt like a victim to a horrible situation, all the times I felt defeated and beaten by the system, all that stopped.

I think some day we will pass an Open Fuel Standard into law, making most of the new cars on the road flex fuel vehicles, but that won’t change my car. Whether the OFS bill passes or not, we still need to convert the cars already on the road, which have an average lifespan of sixteen years. There are more than 200 million cars in America already on the roads that can only burn petroleum fuels. Nearly all those could be easily converted in less than a half hour and for less than a hundred dollars a cylinder.

What are you waiting for? All of us can be driving flex fuel cars right now. And the more cars we convert and the faster we do it, the quicker we can feel safe and secure as a nation.

As my dad used to say: Put your money where your mouth is.

At a time when we often feel like there’s nothing we can do, here’s something we can do. Every car that only burns gas is a slave to OPEC. Every car you convert not only buys your freedom of choice at the pump, but all the money that used to flow out of our free world will now stay in our country. With one simple, practical action, I have accomplished a small part of what we're trying to bring about with fuel competition — national security, economic vitality, environmental health, and energy independence. A better world. And that feels good.

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