Ethanol Quick Facts
- Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from various plant materials collectively known as “biomass.” More than 95% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol in a low-level blend to oxygenate the fuel and reduce air pollution.
- It is a colorless liquid distilled from agricultural crops – usually corn.
- Ethanol can be produced not only from corn, barley, and wheat, but also from cellulose feedstocks, such as corn stalks, rice straw, sugar cane bagasse, pulpwood, switchgrass, and municipal solid waste.
Use the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s Station Locator to find public ethanol stations in Long Beach.
*Locations are subject to change, so we recommend calling the stations to verify location, hours of operation, and access.
- E10 – a blend of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline. More than 70% of American gas stations now sell E10, but as newer vehicles are manufactured, the industry will shift to raise the standard by 5% for more E15 use.
- E15 – a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline. This is a newer higher octane fuel. The EPA has approved E15 use in vehicles year 2001 and newer.
- E20, E30, E40 (Mid-Level Blends) – Fuels that are blended between 10% and 85% ethanol. All flex- fuel vehicles on the road are manufactured to operate on gasoline and up to 85% ethanol so mid-level blends can be dispensed at stations that have blender pump infrastructure.
- E85 – a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. This is the most common and generally the highest ethanol fuel mixture sold by retailers in the United States. E85 is the standard fuel for Flex-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs).
- E100 – pure ethanol fuel.
The Benefits of Using Ethanol
- Using E85 reduces petroleum consumption: use of E85 will reduce overall use of petroleum and replace it with renewable-based fuel produced in the U.S.
- E85 is better for the environment: E85 offers environmental benefits such as reducing carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, nitrogen oxides, and particulate matter emissions when compared to gas.
- Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) are available and affordable: FFVs specifically designed to run on E85 are becoming more common each model year, and FFVs are typically available as standard equipment with little or no incremental cost.
- FFVs have flexible fueling options: FFVs may operate on gasoline or E85, and a driver may simply fuel with either fuel as the situation dictates.
- E85 is easy to use and handle: E85 fueling equipment is only slightly different and of similar cost, and is similar to petroleum fuel storage and dispensing.
What Vehicles Can Use Ethanol and How Does it Perform?
Flexible-Fuel Vehicles (FFVs)
All gasoline vehicles are capable of operating on gasoline and ethanol blends with up to 10% ethanol. In fact, some states require the seasonal or year-round use of up to 10% ethanol as an oxygenate additive to gasoline to mitigate ozone formation. These low percentage oxygenate blends are not classified as alternative fuels.
We speak of ethanol vehicles as those specifically manufactured to be capable of running on up to 85% denatured ethanol, 15% gasoline (E85), or any mixture of the two up to the 85% ethanol limit. E85 may be seasonally adjusted in colder climates such that the real proportion of E85 is less than 85% ethanol. Vehicles manufactured for E85 use are commonly called flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs). They are available in a variety of makes and models. Use the Alternative Fuels Data Center’s Light-Duty Vehicle Search to browse available models.
From a consumer perspective, there is no noticeable difference in vehicle performance when E10 is used. Because ethanol has lower energy content than gasoline, E85 use reduces fuel economy. The magnitude of the reduction depends on the vehicle, driving habits and conditions, but 15% is an often-cited average.