E85 Fuel Pros and Cons


The push to remove fossil fuels from the transportation matrix has led to the development of products like E85. Unlike regular gasoline in the US which may contain up to 10% ethanol, E85 fuel contains just 15% traditional gasoline. These E85 fuel pros and cons show that there is a lot of potential for this idea, but there may be a few problems that still need to get worked out as well.

What Are the Pros of E85 Fuel?

1. It has a high octane rating.
E85 fuel has a higher octane rating than most regular fuels, which means it works with more efficient engines that utilize a high compression ratio when started up. Less damage on the engine means a longer lasting vehicle.

2. It requires fewer fossil fuel products.
The US uses more than 15 million barrels of oil every day and about 70% of that goes toward the transportation matrix. E85 fuel helps to relieve the need for high levels of oil products, which frees up money for other imports or infrastructure needs.

3. It is a renewable resource.
Because ethanol is made from corn, it is an infinitely renewable resource as long as lands are dedicated to crop growth. This allows society to use fossil fuels for other products or to even be able to leave them alone if desired.

What Are the Cons of E85 Fuel?

1. It uses a product that could be used to feed the hungry.
Since corn is used to make ethanol, there is a certain ethical dilemma in using a food product for transportation needs when 1 in 7 people worldwide are chronically hungry. Even in the US, 20% of children don’t get the meals that they need for proper health.

2. It isn’t as efficient of a fuel.
Some vehicles that use E85 fuel get up to 30% fewer miles per gallon than they do if using a lower ethanol percentage blend. The ethanol also breaks down rubber seals along fuel pathway of a vehicle, which may lead to higher maintenance costs.

3. It is incredibly difficult to find.
There are about as many E85 fueling stations in the US as there are electric vehicle charging stations. This means vehicle owners can only drive locally because there is no guarantee that they will find the fuel they need.

The E85 fuel pros and cons show that renewable fuels can work. It also shows that there are certain steps we must take to further advance this technology.