Information About E15 for Auto Dealers from Growth Energy on Vimeo.

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Will a vehicle fueled by ethanol have issues starting in cold weather?

  • A modern car will have no cold start issues with E10 or E15 based on the rigorous testing and drivability studies done for these fuels.
  • Extremely cold weather can make the start process slower regardless of the fuel in it.
  • Only at the highest ethanol levels, such as E85, are there concerns about the lack of vaporization that can potentially cause starting issues in cold weather; however, the ASTM specification for E85 allows for ethanol content to range between 51 percent and 83 percent, so fuel producers generally adjust their E85 accordingly to avoid these wintertime problems.

Can ethanol be used in small engine equipment, such as lawnmowers, chainsaws and snowmobiles?

  • E10 has been the predominant fuel in the U.S. for over a decade and most engines are warranted for use with E10 including brands such as Homelite, Honda, Echo and many others.
  • E15 is expressly prohibited from being used in small engines and is only approved for passenger vehicles MY 2001 and newer. There are always other fuel options for consumers to use in their small engines when E15 is present.

What makes a flex-fuel vehicle a flex-fuel vehicle?

  • Flex-fuel vehicles are authorized to run on any blend of ethanol from 0-85 percent, whereas all other MY 2001 and newer light-duty vehicles are only approved to run on ethanol blends up to 15 percent ethanol. Vehicles older than 2001 are approved to run on E10.
  • Since 2006, there has been very little difference in the engine parts between flex-fuel vehicles and other light-duty vehicles. There is generally some slightly modified emissions equipment, software and a different certification process.

Does ethanol lose its octane level?

  • No. Since ethanol is a constant molecule, it will not lose its octane value.

Is ethanol approved for all vehicles?

  • Yes. All cars in the U.S. are approved for 10 percent ethanol.
  • E15 is approved for all vehicles MY 2001 and newer, which accounts for more than 80 percent of all vehicles on the road. 
  • Nearly 20 million vehicles are approved for any blend of ethanol up to 85 percent ethanol.
  • In Brazil, the only fuels available for cars and small engines are 27.5 percent ethanol or 100 percent ethanol.

Will a vehicle running on E15 or E85 see a decrease in average miles per gallon?

A vehicle running on E85 may get lower mileage than a vehicle running on pure gasoline or E10. However, the lower price of E85 and its high octane typically makes it an economically viable, high-performing choice at the pump. Blends such as E15, however, will not reduce gas mileage and are also higher in octane than regular gasoline.

Where can I find flex-fuel pumps?

You can download the Flex Finder app in the iTunes Store or Google Play.

I don’t see a lot of E15 or E85. Are more stations adding them?

Several large convenience store chains have started to add E15 and E85 to their fuel offerings. Major players like Kum & Go, MAPCO, Minnoco, Murphy USA, Protec, Zarco USA, Petro Serve USA and Cenex all sell E15. They will continue to be more and more prevalent in the coming years.

What is the difference between Eco Boost and flex-fuel vehicles?

Eco Boost engines are not certified to use ethanol blends higher than E15, whereas flex-fuel vehicles can use any blend of ethanol up to E85. Given the higher compression of engines with turbo chargers like Eco Boost, higher blends of ethanol like E15 are an ideal fuel to maximize engine performance.

Is gasoline lower quality today?

  • Yes. Oil refineries are producing lower octane fuel (84 octane) and blending ethanol to bring octane levels to standard (87 octane).
  • Ethanol is the lowest cost, highest octane fuel available today.

Which blends can you safely use in a flex-fuel vehicle?

Any blend up to E85 can be used, including E30, E15, E10 and even E0. If consumers already have E10 in their tank, it is okay for them to use E15 or E85 to fill up the rest of the way.

I’ve heard the food vs. fuel debate. Does ethanol actually increase food costs?

  • No. The largest contributor to food prices is the cost of oil.
  • Ethanol is made from the starch portion of #2 yellow corn. All of the protein, oil and fiber are returned into the livestock feed market as co-products of ethanol production.
  • Ethanol has not reduced the world’s supply of food or feed grains. In fact, global stocks of grain are at the highest level in more than a decade.
  • The growth of the ethanol industry, particularly in the U.S., has stimulated greater grain production by encouraging research and development that has led to increased productivity.

What are the mid-level ethanol blends? Where are they sold?

E15, E20, E30 and E50 are high performing mid-level blended fuels. You can find pump locations using the Flex Finder app.

What ethanol blend does NASCAR use?

NASCAR runs on E15 in all three of its top national series.

Is ethanol mandatory in all 50 states?

No. It is not mandatory, but ethanol’s octane value, competitive pricing and the goals of the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) make its use prevalent across the nation.

Does the U.S. export ethanol?

Yes. Although ethanol is produced domestically and primarily used here in the United States, last year the industry exported over 800 million gallons to nearly 80 countries around the world. Additionally, other countries in South and Central America export some of their own ethanol to the United States.

Does ethanol cause phase separation?

No. In fact, ethanol actually prevents phase separation by absorbing and holding unwanted water in suspension in the fuel tank. Without ethanol, the water in the fuel tank will separate from the gasoline and settle at the bottom of the tank, potentially causing significant engine performance issues.

Does an ethanol plant use a large water supply?

  • Ethanol production is not a large water consuming industrial process, especially when compared to oil production.
  • Only 2.7 gallons of water are used to produce one gallon of ethanol. In comparison, it takes 97 gallons of water to produce one gallon of gasoline.
  • Unlike the water used in oil production, the water used for ethanol production is generally returned to the environment as steam.