In the US, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the amount of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable resource made from corn, and it can be used in gasoline to help reduce emissions.
Gasoline with an octane rating of between 87 to 93 is always composed of either 10% or 15% ethanol. They are known as E10 and E15 respectively. Further, E85 gasoline also referred to as flex-fuel is made up of up to 85% ethanol.
However, the ethanol percentage may vary depending on the state you live in. For example, some states have adopted what’s called the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).
The LCFS requires fuel producers to gradually decrease the carbon intensity of their gasoline and diesel. As a result, the amount of ethanol in gasoline may increase to meet these standards.
So, while the standard amount of ethanol in gasoline is between 87 to 93, it’s possible that the ethanol content in your state’s gasoline could be higher.
Ethanol Vs Gasoline
Ethanol and Gasoline are two popular fuels used in the transportation sector. Gasoline is a fossil fuel made up of hydrocarbons, while ethanol is a renewable resource made from plants.
Ethanol has several benefits over gasoline. For one, it’s renewable and environmentally friendly. It also has a higher octane rating than gasoline, meaning it can be used in higher-performance engines.
However, Ethanol has a lower energy density than gasoline. This means that you need more ethanol to travel the same distance as you would with gasoline.
Mixing Ethanol and Gasoline
Ethanol is miscible with regular gasoline to develop higher octane ratings. The ratings indicate the percentage of ethanol blended with gasoline. In the United States, all grades must have at least some ethanol content.
Congress first mandated the use of ethanol in gasoline in the 1970s as a way to reduce dependence on foreign oil. The use of ethanol in gasoline has since increased, and today it’s estimated that about 15 billion gallons (57 billion liters) of ethanol are used in gas each year.
Ethanol is typically blended with gasoline to create what’s known as E10, E15, and E85 fuels.
The E10 fuel refers to gasoline composed of 10% ethanol. When ethanol was introduced to gasoline in 1990 it started with 10% ethanol. This was the first time any oxygenate was used in gasoline to increase octane and reduce emissions.
The E15 fuel is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. It was introduced in 2012 for use in vehicles built after 2001. Most manufacturers in this period built vehicles that could handle this fuel type without any modifications.
E85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. This blend can be used in flex-fuel vehicles, which are specially designed to run on either E85 or regular unleaded gasoline.
The use of E85 fuel reduces emissions of carbon dioxide (CO₂), the greenhouse gas that’s responsible for climate change. E85 fuel reduces CO₂ emissions by up to 30% compared to gasoline.
How Ethanol Affects Your Car
The use of ethanol in gasoline has increased in recent years, and today a higher percentage of gas sold in the US contains ethanol.
Ethanol is a renewable resource made from plants, and it’s often blended with gasoline to create E-10, E15, or E85 fuel. Using it in your car will bring the following effects on your car:
1. Cleaner Emissions
Gasoline mixed with ethanol has been shown to produce cleaner emissions than gasoline alone. This is because ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline, and it helps to reduce the emission of harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), and particulate matter (PM).
2. Reduced Maintenance Costs
Another benefit of using ethanol in your car is that it can help to reduce maintenance costs. This is because ethanol helps to clean the engine and prevent the build-up of deposits. This can extend the life of your engine and improve its performance.
3. Improved Fuel Economy
Ethanol also has a higher octane rating than gasoline, which means it can be used in higher-performance engines. Mixing it with gasoline can also help to improve fuel economy.
This is because the higher octane rating of ethanol allows for more complete combustion of the fuel, which results in less wasted energy.
Cons of Using Ethanol in Your Car
Here are some of the potential drawbacks of using ethanol in your car:
1. Lower Energy Density
The biggest downside to using ethanol is that it has a lower energy density than gasoline. This means that you need more ethanol to travel the same distance as you would with gasoline.
Ethanol is more expensive than gasoline, and this can add to the cost of running your car. Since you will need more ethanol to travel the same distance, this will result in higher fuel costs.
Ethanol is also more corrosive than gasoline, and this can damage your car over time. Ethanol can cause problems with seals and gaskets, and it can also lead to rust and corrosion.
4. Reduced Horsepower
Another potential drawback of using ethanol is that it can reduce horsepower. This is because ethanol has a lower energy density than gasoline, so it doesn’t provide as much power.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can 87 – 93 Octane Also Be E-85?
No, 87 – 93 octane can not be E-85. The ratings indicate the percentage of ethanol blended with gasoline. Ethanol has an octane rating of between 100-113, so the more ethanol that’s blended with gasoline, the higher the octane rating will be.
Is E85 Bad for Your Car?
Ethanol can damage engines that aren’t designed to run on it. If you use E85 fuel in a non-flex-fuel vehicle, it can void your warranty and damage your engine.
Does Higher Octane Have Less Ethanol?
Almost all the gas in the US has either 10% or 15% with the special E85 having 85%. So to answer the question, consider that the higher octane rating of ethanol allows for more complete combustion of the fuel, which results in less wasted energy.
Is There a Map of Ethanol-Free Stations?
The website, e85fuel.com, provides a map of ethanol-free gas stations in the United States. It is important to note that ethanol in gasoline is a requirement by law in all the states except for Alaska, Hawaii, and Oregon.
How Can You Tell How Much Ethanol Is in Gas?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) requires that all gas pumps display a label that shows the percentage of ethanol in the fuel. The label will also indicate whether the fuel is E-85, which is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.
Can You Use Regular Gas in a Flex Fuel Vehicle?
Yes, you can use regular gas in a flex-fuel vehicle. However, your car will run less efficiently on regular gas, and you may notice a decrease in performance.
What Are the Different Types of Ethanol?
The two main types of ethanol are grain alcohol and sugarcane alcohol. Grain alcohol is made from corn, while sugarcane alcohol is made from sugarcane.
The percentage of ethanol in gasoline with an octane rating of 87 to 93 is either 10% or 15%. They are called E10 and E15 fuels, respectively.
E85 is a flex fuel that can contain up to 85% ethanol and has an octane rating of 94 or more. Ethanol has some benefits and some drawbacks.
Ethanol has become a controversial topic in recent years. Some people believe that it’s a cleaner, more renewable alternative to gasoline, while others believe that it’s more expensive and less efficient.
Ultimately, the decision of whether or not to use ethanol in your car is a personal one. If you’re considering using ethanol, be sure to do your research and weigh the pros and cons before making a decision
Here are some other related topics you may want to read:
Can You Mix Ethanol and Non-Ethanol Gas in a Car?
Where to Find the Best 93 Octane Gas
Can You Mix E85 With Regular Gas?