What is E85 Ethanol?

E85 Ethanol is a high-concentration biofuel blend which contains 51 to 83 percent ethanol, depending on location and season. E85 is meant for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), automobiles with internal combustion engines capable of supporting any ethanol blend up to E85. Unlike most lower-level blends, E85 cannot legally be used in conventional gasoline-powered vehicles.


E85 Ethanol in the United States

According to the EIA, the number of E85 fueling stations in the United States nearly doubled between 2007 to 2011, from 1,229 to 2,442, but only grew by an additional 7% from 2011 to 2013. As of 2017, the total number of E85 Ethanol fueling stations is estimated by the Alternative Fuels Data Center to be 2,923.

According to IHS Automotive, there are twenty millions FFVs currently owned in the United States – approximately 12% of the U.S. fleet. AFVs offer lower mileage while running on E85 than vehicles that run on conventional gasoline, due to Ethanol’s lower energy density compared to gasoline. Consequently, E85 must be priced below gasoline in order to achieve the same mileage per dollar.

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