With continued advancements in technology, the auto industry has enjoyed innovations since time immemorial. Carmakers, engineers and scientists always had new inventions to create more efficient, comfortable and most of all, powerful rides. One of the many developments in the world of cars is changing how they are fueled.
In the ongoing quest for a cleaner, safer environment, many scientists and engineers have created eco-friendly ways to power cars. This is why we now have hybrid and electronic cars. But the most recent development is the invention of E85. What is it?
E85 is the abbreviated form of its composition, which is 85 percent denatured ethanol fuel and 15 percent gasoline or other hydrocarbon. The ethanol content is usually adjusted to suit local climate, ensuring engine performance is optimized. The allowable fuel ethanol content ranges from 51 to 83 percent, according to ASTM 5798. In the United States and Europe, E85 is generally used in flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs).
Is E85 really better than conventional gasoline?
List of Pros of E85
1. Improvement of energy independence.
Despite having its own crude oil reserves, a large portion of the United States is still dependent on fuel from politically unstable parts of the Middle East. With the possibility of trade restrictions drying up fossil fuels or prices to go higher, reducing its use could give way to energy independence here and abroad.
2. Increase in job opportunities in the US.
If the use of ethanol fuel goes in full swing in the country, more companies will be put up to cater for such demand. When that happens, it could open up more job opportunities for the people.
3. Keeps money in the local economy.
When the US stops importing oil from the Middle East and keeps money with local farmers and makers of ethanol, the economy will greatly improve.
4. Safer environment.
Ethanol is cleaner than gasoline as carbon dioxide from its production is absorbed by other plants. Although this greener fuel still releases CO2 when burnt, it is still significantly lower than regular gasoline.
5. Presence of E85-ready vehicles.
Today, there are around seven million GMC cars that can run E85, which are called flex-fuel vehicles. By giving people an option to use greener fuel, pollution in the environment would finally have a solultion.
List of Cons of E85
1. Difficult to find.
This is because E85 isn’t available in all gas stations yet. Currently, there are around 2,100 refueling stations that offer this fuel in the United States, but there are 6 states that don’t have a single station. Lucky for those who live in the Upper Midwest because they have the most number of gas stations that offer E85 since they are close to the corn belt.
2. Requires fossil fuels to produce it.
Tractors and other farm equipment used in planting and growing corn use petrol. This means that growing, harvesting and producing this fuel still has some level of environmental impact.
3. Food vs. fuel.
Critics say that producing ethanol as fuel can drive up the price of corn, making it expensive and even unavailable. However, advocates disagree because they contend that more than 90 percent of corn grown in the US is used s livestock feed, not human food.
If you want to reduce CO2 emission, it is best to use ethanol gasoline. But your main challenge could be finding a gas station to refill your vehicle’s tank.
Natalie Regoli is a child of God, devoted wife, and mother of two boys. She has a Master's Degree in Law from The University of Texas. Natalie has been published in several national journals and has been practicing law for 18 years.