DEARBORN, MI – Ford has decided to offer its Easy Fuel capless fuel-filler system as standard equipment across the Ford, Lincoln, and Mercury product lineups, according to Pamela Wylie, Ford technology planning manager. Ford's Easy Fuel system uses an integrated spring-loaded flapper door to eliminate the need for a fuel tank screw cap.
Easy Fuel was launched on the 2008 Ford Explorer and Mercury Mountaineer and will be joined by the all-new 2009 Ford Flex, Ford F-150, and Lincoln MKS this summer.
"Easy Fuel was a very popular feature in our customer research among all vehicle segments," said Pamela Wylie, Ford technology planning manager. "When we considered the value this innovation added to our vehicles for our customers, it made business sense to implement it across our product lines."
When Ford measured customer response to the Easy Fuel system in focus group studies, 75 percent of women and 67 percent of men expressed a particularly high interest regardless of demographic or vehicle segment.
"People noted that it was very useful and a time saver and considered the fact that their hands didn't get dirty to be a major attraction," said Wylie.
With Easy Fuel, the spring-loaded flapper door is held closed by two latches that can only be released by a standard-size unleaded fuel nozzle. When the proper nozzle is inserted into the filler neck of the system, the latches release, and the nozzle pushes the spring-loaded flapper door to the open position. When the nozzle is removed, the flapper door automatically is forced closed by the spring. The fuel filler pipe is then completely sealed, which prevents fuel vapors from escaping and helps reduce evaporative emissions.
Easy Fuel also has a patented mis-fueling inhibitor to reduce improper fueling and siphoning. The inhibitor consists of a fuel nozzle detector that guides the nozzle to the opening. If a nozzle or foreign tube of a different size — a diesel nozzle or plastic hose, for example — is placed in the filler neck of a gasoline-powered vehicle, the latches will not release. For a diesel-powered vehicle, the inhibitor will keep out the smaller gasoline nozzles.
To protect the fuel filler neck from dirt, dust, and debris, Easy Fuel relies on a flexible rubber seal in the body housing. The system also comes with a handy plastic funnel, which is stored with a vehicle's tire changing kit, in case someone runs out of fuel and needs to add a gallon or two from a portable container.