Facts about ethanol

Ethanol is a clean, renewable, high performance fuel for your vehicle. Up to a 10% blend of ethanol (E10) is covered under warranty by every auto manufacturer that sells vehicles in the U.S. for every make and every model of vehicle. E85 (85% ethanol, 15% gasoline) is for use in Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) which can operate on gasoline or any blend of ethanol up to 85%.

Ethanol is not a new product - before the advent of plentiful and inexpensive crude oil, Henry Ford envisioned his automobiles running on ethanol made in America's then-agrarian society. Now with the longevity of oil supplies in question and the related expense and national security questions, ethanol is again an important product to America.

Ethanol facts:

  • Ethanol is a clean-burning fuel that reduces carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon tailpipe emissions.
  • Ethanol is an oxygenate, and that oxygen allows it to burn more cleanly and more completely than gasoline.
  • Ethanol is made from corn and other crops, renewable resources that derive their energy from the sun, rain, and soil.
  • A new supply of ethanol can be grown each year, in contrast to the millions of years needed to produce fossil fuel-based energy sources.
  • Ethanol has a lower BTU value than gasoline, meaning that ethanol burns cooler and is gentler on the vehicle's engine - less wear and tear leads to longer engine life.


How much ethanol-blended fuel is sold in the United States?
In 2006, ethanol was blended into 46% of America's gasoline, most in the form of the E10 blend.  Ethanol-blended fuel is available from nearly Coast to Coast.  In 2006, the U.S. produced and consumed about 5 billion gallons of ethanol.

If gas contains ethanol, is it labeled that way on the pump?
E85 is always labeled at the pump because it is an alternative fuel for use only in Flexible Fuel Vehicles.  Because up to 10% ethanol can be used in any vehicle, labeling of this fuel is a decision made locally or by state.  Some states require labeling of ethanol blends, and some states say it is not required or that it is voluntary.

The American Coalition for Ethanol supports the consumer's right to know what their gasoline contains, but we do not favor labels that appear more like warning labels.  If labeling is not done in an attractive way that shows ethanol's benefits, it can appear more like a warning label and people who are unfamiliar with ethanol will shy away from purchasing this fuel that they believe looks potentially harmful.

Where can I buy E85 in my area?
A link to a complete list of gas stations offering E85 can be found online in the "Ethanol & Your Vehicle" section of the All About Ethanol menu heading.  This site has a searchable map that gives E85 pump locations by state.  The number of stations offering E85 is increasing at a rapid pace - today in the U.S. there are more than 1,000 gas stations that offer E85.  The number of stations carrying E85 has approximately doubled in the last 24 months, so good progress is being made; however, because the U.S. has about 168,000 gas stations, there is significant work yet to be done.

Is there any funding available to add E85 to my gas station or convenience store?
Yes, sometimes there is.  The National Ethanol Vehicle Coalition is a non-profit association that promotes the development of E85 vehicles and infrastructure.  Contact them through www.e85fuel.com or by phone at (877) 485-8595.

The Energy Policy Act of 2005 contains a new federal tax credit to assist with the installation of equipment and infrastructure to dispense E85 at retail outlets.  This new incentive provides a 30 percent federal income tax credit, up to a maximum of $30,000, to assist with the establishment of alternative fuel infrastructure, including equipment necessary to dispense E85.  This tax credit became effective in 2006 and is scheduled to expire December 31, 2008.  Contact the Internal Revenue Service for more information about this tax credit.

What storage and dispensing conversion procedures should I consider before offering E85 at my gas station?
The technology for storing and dispensing gasoline can be applied to alcohol fuels such as E85 because alcohols and alcohol blends, like gasoline, are liquid fuels at ambient pressures and temperatures.  However, only E85-compatible materials should be used in the storage and dispensing systems.  Most operating problems with ethanol-fueled vehicles have been traced to contaminated fuel.  Consequently, choosing the right materials for fuel storage and dispensing systems and following proper fuel handling procedures are crucial for successfully operating ethanol-fueled vehicles.  Although material research and testing is expected to continue, the parts and materials discussed in this guidebook have performed well with E85.  They can be obtained from your usual supplier.

Courtesy: www.ethanol.org