Why Is E85 So Expensive In Australia

If you’re wondering why E85 fuel is so expensive in Australia, you’re not alone. Despite being a renewable fuel source that’s better for the environment, E85 costs significantly more than regular gasoline.

There are a number of factors that contribute to this price difference, including the composition of the fuel itself, the production costs of ethanol, government policies, and market demand. Understanding these factors is key to understanding why E85 remains a relatively niche product in the Australian fuel market.

First, it’s important to understand exactly what E85 fuel is made of. The ‘E’in E85 stands for ethanol, which is a type of alcohol made from corn, sugarcane, or other crops. E85 fuel, as the name suggests, is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline.

This composition makes E85 a much more sustainable fuel source than traditional gasoline, as it produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions and is made from renewable resources. However, the production process for ethanol is more complex and costly than that for gasoline, which contributes to the higher price of E85 at the pump.

The Composition of E85 Fuel

Let’s take a look at what makes up E85 fuel and why it’s so darn pricey in Australia. E85 consists of a blend of ethanol and gasoline, with ethanol making up anywhere from 51% to 83% of the total fuel composition. The exact amount of ethanol in E85 can vary depending on the region, as well as the time of year.

This is because ethanol is typically made from corn or sugarcane, both of which are seasonal crops that can only be harvested during certain times of the year. Composition analysis shows that E85 has significant environmental benefits compared to traditional gasoline. Ethanol is a renewable fuel source that produces fewer harmful emissions than gasoline.

This is because it is derived from plant matter, which absorbs carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as it grows. Additionally, E85 contains oxygen, which helps to burn fuel more efficiently and produce fewer harmful emissions. Despite these benefits, however, the high cost of producing ethanol in Australia means that E85 is still more expensive than traditional gasoline.

Production Costs of Ethanol

You may be wondering why E85 is so expensive in Australia. A key factor is the production costs of ethanol. It’s a time-consuming process to produce ethanol, which drives up the cost of production.

Additionally, importing ethanol can also be costly, which further impacts the price of E85.

The time-consuming process of producing ethanol

Unfortunately, producing ethanol is a labor-intensive process, which adds to the cost of E85 fuel in Australia. Ethanol yield is directly proportional to the efficiency of the fermentation process, which is time-consuming and requires skilled labor.

It involves breaking down the starch in grains or sugars in molasses into simple sugars, which are then fermented into ethanol. This involves multiple stages such as grinding, cooking, cooling, and fermenting, which require constant monitoring and adjusting of conditions to ensure optimum yield.

Moreover, the fermentation process can take up to several days, during which the final product requires further refining and purification. This process involves distilling the ethanol from the fermented mixture, which requires specialized equipment and trained personnel.

The final yield of ethanol depends on the quality of the raw materials used, the efficiency of the fermentation process, and the purity of the final product. Thus, the time-consuming and labor-intensive process of producing ethanol adds significantly to the cost of E85 fuel in Australia.

The cost of importing ethanol

Importing ethanol can be a viable option for some, but it may not always be cost-effective. The cost of importing ethanol from other countries can be significantly higher than producing it locally. This is due to the transportation costs involved, including shipping, handling, and customs fees.

Additionally, importing ethanol may be subject to fluctuations in exchange rates and international market prices, which can add to the overall cost. On the other hand, local production of ethanol can provide a more stable and cost-effective supply.

Australia has several ethanol producers, with most of them located in the eastern states. These producers use locally sourced raw materials, such as sugar and grains, to manufacture ethanol. This means that the cost of production is lower and the supply chain is more reliable, as there are no international factors to consider.

Despite the time-consuming process of producing ethanol, local production can provide a more sustainable and cost-effective option for the Australian market.

The impact on E85 prices

However, the availability of E85 fuel and its impact on prices varies depending on the location and demand.

In areas where the demand for E85 is high, the price tends to be more expensive. For instance, in cities where E85 is the only fuel option for flex-fuel vehicles, the price could be higher than regular gasoline. This is because the cost of producing E85 is higher than regular gasoline due to the additional process of blending ethanol with gasoline.

Moreover, the environmental impact and consumer behavior also play a role in E85 prices. Ethanol is considered a renewable fuel and is believed to have lower emissions compared to regular gasoline. However, the production of ethanol requires a significant amount of energy and resources, which could lead to higher production costs.

Additionally, consumer behavior also affects E85 prices. If more consumers switch to E85, the demand for gasoline would decrease, leading to a decrease in gasoline prices. Conversely, if more consumers switch to gasoline, the demand for E85 would decrease, leading to an increase in E85 prices.

Overall, the availability, demand, environmental impact, and consumer behavior are all factors that contribute to the price of E85 in Australia.

Government Policies

Now let’s delve into the impact of government policies on E85 prices. Taxation and subsidies play a significant role in determining the final cost of ethanol fuels.

The Renewable Energy Target (RET) is another policy that has an impact on E85 prices, as it sets a goal for the amount of renewable energy to be produced in Australia.

By understanding these policies, you can gain a better insight into the reasons behind the cost of E85 in Australia.

Taxation and subsidies

You’ll see that taxes and lack of subsidies contribute to the high cost of e85 in Australia. The government taxes e85 at a higher rate compared to regular gasoline, which is one of the main reasons for the price difference. The excise tax on e85 is almost double that of regular unleaded petrol. This is because e85 is considered a luxury fuel and is taxed accordingly, despite it being a more environmentally friendly option.

Moreover, the Australian government does not provide any fuel subsidies for e85. Fuel subsidies are a common way for governments to promote the use of renewable fuels and help reduce the cost for consumers. However, in Australia, there are no subsidies for e85, which means that the cost of production and distribution falls entirely on the consumer. This lack of support from the government makes e85 a less attractive option for consumers and further drives up the price.

The Renewable Energy Target

The Australian government’s Renewable Energy Target (RET) is a policy designed to increase the use of renewable energy sources in the country. It aims to ensure that 33,000 gigawatt hours (GWh) of Australia’s electricity comes from renewable sources by 2020.

This policy is expected to stimulate investment in renewable energy projects, including the production and distribution of e85 fuel. One way the RET could potentially provide support for the e85 industry is through renewable energy incentives.

Under the RET, electricity retailers are required to purchase a certain amount of renewable energy certificates (RECs) each year. These RECs can be generated by renewable energy projects, including e85 production facilities. As such, e85 producers could earn RECs for their renewable energy output, which they could then sell to electricity retailers.

This would provide an additional source of revenue for e85 producers, potentially lowering the cost of production and distribution. However, the e85 industry faces competition from other renewable energy sources, which may also generate RECs and compete for market share.

The impact on E85 prices

Imagine filling up your car with E85 fuel and noticing a significant decrease in price due to the impact of renewable energy incentives and the Renewable Energy Target policy. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case in Australia.

In fact, E85 fuel is quite expensive in the country compared to other parts of the world. This is primarily due to the lack of infrastructure and the low demand for E85 fuel.

The impact on consumers is significant. E85 fuel may be a cheaper alternative to traditional gasoline, but its high price in Australia makes it less attractive to consumers. This has led to a lack of demand for E85 fuel, which in turn has kept prices high.

Consumers are left with limited alternatives to E85 fuel, such as electric or hybrid cars, which can be more expensive upfront but may save them money in the long run.

Market Demand

You may be surprised to learn that the demand for E85 in Australia is quite niche, which has a significant impact on production costs. Due to the low demand, producing E85 fuel in Australia is more expensive than producing regular petrol, which makes it more expensive at the pump.

Additionally, the availability of E85 fuel is limited, as it requires separate storage tanks and pumps at petrol stations.

The niche market for E85 in Australia

Don’t miss out on the benefits of E85 just because it’s expensive in Australia – there’s a thriving niche market for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint and support renewable fuels.

Despite the niche market challenges, many consumers are becoming more aware of the environmental impact of their choices, and are willing to pay a premium for E85.

According to recent market research, there is a growing demand for alternative fuels in Australia, and E85 is seen as one of the most viable options.

The niche market for E85 in Australia is made up of environmentally conscious individuals and businesses who are willing to pay a higher price for a lower carbon footprint. This market is still relatively small, but it is growing as more people become aware of the benefits of renewable fuels.

The challenge for E85 suppliers is to continue to raise consumer awareness and drive demand for this environmentally friendly option. As the market grows, it is likely that prices will become more competitive, making E85 a more affordable option for a wider range of consumers.

The impact on production costs

Now that you’ve got a better understanding of the niche market for E85 in Australia, let’s dive deeper into the factors that contribute to its expensive price tag.

One significant factor is the impact on production costs. Ethanol availability in Australia is limited, and it must be imported from countries like the United States and Brazil, which increases transportation costs.

Moreover, market competition also plays a role in the price of E85. Since E85 is a niche product, it has a limited consumer base, and this means the cost of production is higher. Companies that produce E85 must allocate resources toward marketing and distribution to reach their target audience.

All these costs add up and contribute to the higher price of E85 in Australia.

The availability of E85 fuel

Unfortunately, the limited availability of E85 fuel in the market may leave many consumers feeling frustrated and disappointed. This is because E85 is not widely available in Australia, and the few stations that do offer it are often located in remote areas.

The lack of E85 fuel stations can be attributed to a number of factors, including the high cost of installing the necessary infrastructure, the low demand for E85 fuel, and regional differences in fuel preferences. Availability challenges are particularly pronounced in urban areas where E85 is virtually non-existent. In these areas, consumers are left with little choice but to use regular gasoline or diesel, which are cheaper but less environmentally friendly.

However, in some regional areas, E85 may be more readily available due to a higher demand for it among agriculture and mining industries. These regional differences in fuel preferences also contribute to the disparity in E85 availability across the country.

Despite these challenges, the Australian government is working to increase the availability of E85 fuel by providing incentives and subsidies to fuel retailers who invest in E85 infrastructure.

The Future of E85 Fuel in Australia

The potential for widespread adoption of E85 fuel in Australia is exciting and could lead to a more sustainable future for transportation. However, there are several challenges that must be addressed first.

One of the main challenges is the competition for E85 fuel with traditional gasoline. Despite the environmental benefits of E85, gasoline remains cheaper and more readily available. This makes it difficult for E85 to compete in the market.

Another challenge is the infrastructure required to support the growth of E85 fuel. Currently, there are only a limited number of E85 fuel stations available in Australia. This makes it difficult for drivers of E85 vehicles to refuel when needed. In order for E85 to become a viable option for transportation, there needs to be a significant investment in infrastructure.

Despite these challenges, the environmental benefits of E85 fuel cannot be ignored. E85 has the potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

If these challenges can be overcome, the future of E85 fuel in Australia looks bright.


In conclusion, why is E85 so expensive in Australia? The answer lies in the composition of E85 fuel, production costs of ethanol, government policies, and market demand.

E85 fuel is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline, which requires a significant amount of ethanol to produce, making it relatively expensive compared to gasoline. Moreover, the production costs of ethanol in Australia are high due to the country’s high labor and energy costs.

Government policies such as fuel excise taxes, subsidies, and regulations also play a significant role in the price of E85 fuel. The Australian government hasn’t provided significant support for the production and distribution of E85 fuel, which has resulted in limited availability and higher prices.

Lastly, the market demand for E85 fuel in Australia is relatively low, which makes it less economical for fuel retailers to sell it at a lower price. Despite the challenges faced by E85 fuel in Australia, there’s still hope for the future as the government and industry continue to explore ways to make it more affordable and accessible to consumers.