Ethanol is not only safe for your vehicle, it provides higher octane for cleaner engines, better winterizing and increased overall performance. Higher performance fuels are cleaner burning and environmentally friendly, reducing harmful hydrocarbon and greenhouse gas emissions.
For instance, using E-15 nationwide would reduce transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions by 39.5 million tons, the equivalent of removing 6.3 million vehicles from American roadways.
Flex-fuel vehicles are designed to run on fuels from regular unleaded, super unleaded (10 percent ethanol) or any blend of ethanol up to 85 percent – hence the name “flexible fuel.” Higher blends of ethanol, such as E-85, have higher octane.
E-85, which is made from 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline, has been in the marketplace for over two decades. Since the introduction of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), the number of E-85 stations has increased steadily. Iowa has more than 250 E85 stations with roughly half of those offering additional higher blends of ethanol.
E-15 is a newer blend of higher-octane fuel made from 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline. The Department of Energy conducted 6 million miles of testing on E-15 – the equivalent of 12 round trips to the moon – and found no issues.
Thus, in January 2011, the EPA approved a waiver permitting the use of E-15 in passenger vehicles model year 2001 and newer. This represents nearly 70 percent of the fleet and a larger percentage of vehicle miles traveled. E-15 is an option and not a mandate like E-10.
NASCAR racecars have run more than 3 million miles on E-15, starting with the 2011 racing season, and NASCAR drivers and mechanics give the fuel high marks for power and durability.
Retailers can sell E-15 as a registered fuel. Drivers will start seeing more stations offering E-15 in the near future.
Drivers should look for these labels to see if a vehicle uses flex fuel or if a gas port provides E-15 or E-85: