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Gas prices making you curious about cheaper E-85 fuel? Here's what to know

Watch this before filling up your vehicle with E-85 fuel
Watch this before filling up your vehicle with E-85 fuel 01:54

MINNEAPOLIS — If you filled up this weekend, you no doubt noticed gas prices are up.

According to AAA, the average price per gallon in Minnesota is $3.94, which is a few cents above the national average.

That may have you wondering: Is it OK to try E-85 gas in your car? It's more than a dollar a gallon cheaper than regular unleaded.

RELATED: Midwest could add more ethanol to gasoline under EPA plan

WCCO went to the experts at Newgate School in Minneapolis, where they take donated cars and teach students how to fix them.

"Putting E-85 in a car that is not designed for it at all is a recipe for disaster," said instructor Chad Erickson.

Erickson says he regularly sees donated cars with fuel-wrecked engines.  


"If the car is not tuned for that fuel, or the fuel system is not set for that fuel, it will cause significant damage," he said.

Erickson says only flex-fuel cars can use E-85. If you're not sure, the label on your gas tank should tell you what kind of fuel to use. 

If you make a mistake filling up with E-85 once, you probably will notice poor performance, but your car should recover. More than once, you are likely in trouble.

Erickson says the best way to save money on gas is old-fashioned. 

"Tire pressures and just basic tune-up stuff," he said.

One bit of good news: Refineries are switching to winter blend fuel, which is usually less expensive than summer grade.

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