What Is An E85

Are you curious about alternative fuel options for your vehicle? If so, you may have heard about E85. E85 is a blend of gasoline and ethanol, a renewable fuel made from corn, sugarcane, and other plant materials.

In this article, we will dive into what E85 is, the pros and cons of using it, and whether it is the right choice for you.

Before we delve into the specifics of E85, it is important to understand ethanol and gasoline blends. Ethanol is a renewable fuel that can be blended with gasoline to create a cleaner-burning fuel. The most common blend in the United States is E10, which contains 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline.

E85, on the other hand, contains 51% to 83% ethanol and the remainder is gasoline. This higher concentration of ethanol in E85 allows for increased engine performance and reduced emissions, but it may not be suitable for all vehicles.

Let’s explore the details of E85 to see if it is the right fuel for you.

Understanding Ethanol and Gasoline Blends

You’re probably wondering how ethanol and gasoline blends work together to create fuel that’s better for the environment, right? Well, let’s break it down for you!

Ethanol is produced from corn and other crops and is added to gasoline to increase its octane rating. This means that the fuel burns more efficiently and reduces harmful emissions.

The amount of ethanol that can be added to gasoline is regulated by blending regulations. These regulations dictate the maximum percentage of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline for use in vehicles.

In the United States, the maximum percentage of ethanol that can be blended with gasoline is 10%. However, some vehicles are designed to use higher blends of ethanol, such as E85, which contains up to 85% ethanol.

Understanding ethanol and gasoline blends is important for ensuring that your vehicle is using the correct type of fuel and for reducing harmful emissions.

What is E85?

Get ready to learn about what E85 actually is! E85 is a blend of gasoline and ethanol with a higher concentration of ethanol than traditional gasoline blends. The ‘E’in E85 stands for ethanol, which is a renewable fuel source made from corn, sugarcane, and other crops.

Ethanol production has been increasing in recent years as a way to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and decrease greenhouse gas emissions. The number 85 in E85 refers to the percentage of ethanol in the blend. This means that E85 contains 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

Due to its high ethanol content, E85 is often used as a fuel for flex-fuel vehicles, which are designed to run on a variety of fuel blends. However, not all vehicles can use E85, so it’s important to check your car’s owner’s manual before using it.

Overall, E85 is a sustainable and environmentally-friendly fuel option that is becoming more widely available as ethanol production continues to grow.

Pros and Cons of Using E85

When considering the use of E85, there are several key factors to weigh in your decision-making process.

Firstly, the environmental benefits of using E85 are significant, as it can reduce harmful emissions and promote cleaner air. Additionally, E85 can provide better fuel efficiency in certain vehicles, which can lead to cost savings over time.

However, it’s important to note that the availability of E85 can vary depending on your location, and it may not be as widely available as traditional gasoline.

Environmental Benefits

One of the biggest perks of using E85 as a fuel source is that it’s a renewable fuel that emits significantly less greenhouse gases than traditional gasoline. When you use E85, you reduce your carbon emissions and play a part in protecting the environment.

The production of ethanol, the main ingredient of E85, generates fewer pollutants than crude oil refining. In addition, the use of E85 can reduce emissions of carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides, which are harmful to both human health and the environment.

Using E85 also helps to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, which are finite resources. It’s an environmentally friendly alternative that offers a cleaner way to fuel your vehicle. By choosing E85, you’re making a conscious decision to reduce your carbon footprint and help protect the planet.

So, if you’re looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact, E85’s a great choice.

Fuel Efficiency

Using E85 can significantly improve your vehicle’s fuel economy. E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, which makes it a cleaner-burning fuel. Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline, which means it can withstand higher compression ratios, leading to better engine performance.

A higher compression ratio allows the engine to extract more power from each gallon of fuel, which translates to better fuel economy. E85 also has a higher heat of vaporization compared to regular gasoline, which means it cools the engine as it evaporates, reducing the risk of engine knock.

This is important because engine knock can cause damage to your engine and lead to reduced fuel economy. By reducing engine knock, E85 can help your engine run more efficiently, leading to better fuel economy and engine performance.

So, using E85 isn’t just good for the environment, but it can also help you save money in the long run by improving your vehicle’s fuel efficiency.

Cost and Availability

Unfortunately, the cost and availability of E85 can vary greatly depending on your location and the demand for the fuel. E85 is generally cheaper than gasoline, but it also has a lower energy density, which means you’ll need to fill up more often.

In addition, many gas stations do not offer E85, especially in rural areas. This is because E85 requires a separate storage tank and pump, which can be expensive for gas stations to install.

A cost analysis of E85 compared to gasoline is necessary to determine if it’s a viable option for your vehicle. While E85 is cheaper per gallon, it may end up costing you more in the long run due to its lower energy density and the need for more frequent fill-ups.

Furthermore, the distribution networks for E85 are not as developed as those for gasoline, which can make it difficult to find in some areas. It’s important to consider these factors before deciding to switch to E85.

Is E85 Right for You?

If you’re considering switching to E85, there are some key factors to consider to determine if it’s right for you. First, you’ll need to check if your vehicle is compatible with E85, as not all vehicles can handle this type of fuel.

You’ll also want to assess your driving habits and fuel needs to see if E85 makes sense for your daily commute and overall usage.

Lastly, you’ll need to consider the location and accessibility of E85 stations in your area, as they may not be as widely available as traditional gasoline stations.

Compatibility with Your Vehicle

When you’re considering using E85 fuel in your vehicle, it’s important to check if your car is compatible with this alternative fuel source. Not all vehicles are designed to run on E85, so it’s crucial to do some research before making the switch.

One of the main factors to consider is your vehicle’s fuel system. E85 contains more ethanol than traditional gasoline, which can cause damage to certain fuel system components like fuel lines, fuel injectors, and fuel pumps. If your car is not compatible with E85, you may need to make some fuel system modifications before using this fuel.

This can include upgrading your fuel lines and fuel injectors, as well as installing a new fuel pump that’s designed to handle the higher ethanol content. It’s also important to note that E85 may have a different octane rating than regular gasoline, which can affect your engine’s performance.

Ultimately, if you’re considering using E85 in your vehicle, it’s best to consult with a professional mechanic or your vehicle’s manufacturer to ensure that it’s safe and compatible.

Driving Habits and Fuel Needs

Driving habits and fuel needs are crucial aspects to consider when trying to save money on gas and reduce your carbon footprint.

E85, unlike traditional gasoline, has a higher ethanol content, which means that your fuel consumption will increase by approximately 30%. This means that you will need to fill up your vehicle more frequently than you would with regular gasoline. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be spending more money on gas.

Your driving habits also play a significant role in determining your fuel needs. If you have a lead foot and love to accelerate quickly, you’ll use more fuel than someone who drives more conservatively.

E85 is a performance fuel, and if you’re looking to get the most out of it, you should drive your vehicle more aggressively. However, if you’re looking to save money on gas, it’s best to adopt a more conservative driving style and avoid hard accelerations and sudden stops.

By doing so, you can reduce your fuel consumption and save money on gas, even with the higher ethanol content of E85.

Location and Accessibility of E85

The convenience of finding E85 fuel stations nearby can greatly impact your ability to utilize this eco-friendly fuel. Luckily, the number of E85 fuel stations across the United States is increasing, with over 4,000 stations currently offering this alternative fuel option.

However, the majority of these stations are located in the Midwest, where corn is the primary crop used to produce ethanol. To find E85 fuel stations near you, you can use online resources such as the Alternative Fuels Data Center or the Flex-Fuel Station Finder app.

Additionally, some gas station chains, such as Sheetz and Kum & Go, have committed to offering E85 at select locations. It’s important to note that government incentives, such as tax credits and grants, can encourage gas station owners to install E85 pumps.

By advocating for E85 and supporting these incentives, you can help increase the accessibility of this eco-friendly fuel.

Making the Switch to E85

Switching to E85 can be a cost-effective and environmentally-friendly choice for drivers. However, before making the switch, it’s important to consider fuel compatibility and engine modifications.

E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Therefore, not all vehicles are compatible with this type of fuel. It’s recommended to check with your vehicle manufacturer or a trusted mechanic to ensure your car is compatible with E85 before making the switch.

In addition to fuel compatibility, it’s also important to consider engine modifications. E85 burns differently than traditional gasoline, which may require modifications to your engine in order for it to run efficiently. These modifications can include changes to the fuel system, ignition timing, and exhaust system.

While these modifications may come at an additional cost, they can ultimately lead to increased fuel efficiency and performance. It’s important to consult with a qualified mechanic or automotive specialist before making any changes to your vehicle.


So, now you know what E85 is and how it differs from traditional gasoline. You understand the benefits and drawbacks of using this fuel source, and you have a clearer idea of whether or not it’s right for you.

If you’re considering making the switch to E85, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, you’ll need to ensure that your vehicle is compatible with this type of fuel. You’ll also need to locate a gas station that offers E85, which can be challenging in some areas. Finally, you’ll need to weigh the cost savings against the potential downsides, such as reduced fuel efficiency and increased engine wear and tear.

With the right information and careful consideration, however, you may find that E85 is a viable alternative to traditional gasoline.