Gasohol: Facts, Figures and Common Blends

October 31, 2012

Gasohol is an alternative fuel consisting of a mixture of typically 90 percent gasoline with 10 percent anhydrous ethanol. Gasohol can be used in most modern and light duty vehicles with an internal combustion. The Gasohol blend of 90 percent gasoline and 10 percent anhydrous ethanol has been approved for use in several countries and can be used with no modification to the vehicle's engine.

Gasohol is useful in decreasing the population's dependence on foreign oil, and reduces the carbon monoxide emissions by up to 30 percent.

The ethanol typically used in the Gasohol production is derived from fermenting agricultural crops. Fuel containing ethanol normally has an "E" number which explains the mixture. E10 consists of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline whereas E85 is a blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. E5 and E7 are also common ethanol blends.

Countries Using Gasohol

Ethanol blends are used in the following countries:

  • E10 - Australia
  • E10 - Austria
  • E20 to E25 - Brazil
  • E5/E10 - Canada
  • E10 - China
  • E10 - Colombia
  • E7 - Costa Rica
  • E5 - Denmark
  • E5 - Finland
  • E5 - India
  • E10 - Jamaica
  • E10 - New Zealand
  • E10 - Pakistan
  • E12 - Paraguay
  • E5 - Sweden
  • E10/E20 - Thailand
  • E10 - United States (in 10 states)

Common Blends of Gasohol

E5 to E25 are known as low ethanol blends, and have 5 to 25 percent ethanol blended with 95 to 75 percent gasoline.

E30 to E85 are considered to be high ethanol blends and have 30 to 85 percent ethanol mixed with 70 to 15 percent gasoline.

The most popular Gasohol blend is E10, which consists of 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline due to the fact that no modifications are needed to a vehicle's engine to use E10.

Gasohol Advantages

In a search for alternative fuel options the usage of Gasohol has certain advantages:

  1. Emissions from using Gasohol are less than that of vehicles using gasoline. Emissions are not only harmful to the environment but can cause serious problems and even death in humans. By minimizing the emissions expelled into the atmosphere, we not only ensure a greener environment, but also a physically healthier population eliminating illness. Such as, asthma and heart disease, caused by vehicle emissions.
  2. Using Gasohol assists in the reduction of oil imported from other countries. Not only does this lessen our carbon footprint but, with Gasohol production of up to 85 percent ethanol, less oil needs to be imported to manufacture gasoline.
  3. Crop prices are raised with the production of Gasohol. Ethanol is an alcohol derived from crops such as cane, grains and sorghum. This increases the demand and ultimately the price of these crops.
  4. Gasohol is typically cheaper than petroleum as it is cheaper to manufacture.

With most of the world's automobiles running on Gasohol, it is only a matter of time before vehicles capable of running on pure ethanol will be designed.

Although not the perfect solution, Gasohol is a step in the right direction to finding alternative fuels for our automobiles. The positive aspects of Gasohol outweigh the negatives and, with more countries making Gasohol available at their gas stations, everybody is making an effort in ensuring less dangerous gasses are expelled into the atmosphere.

Related Questions and Answers

What is the Energy Density of Ethanol?

The energy density of ethanol is roughly 25 MJ/kg. Energy density is the term for the amount of energy stored per mass. When measuring energy density, the common unit that is used is megajoules per kilogram. Ethanol also goes by the name grain alcohol, or ethyl alcohol. It is a colorless and clear liquid. It can be used to power a vehicle by itself or when mixed with gasoline. When it is mixed with gas, the resulting fuel is referred to as gasohol. Ethanol is produced from fermenting materials such as corn, potatoes or sugar cane. It is the starch in these plants that produces the ethanol.

Is Ethanol a Biofuel?

It's a common question, 'Is ethanol a biofuel?' Yes. Ethanol or ethyl alcohol is an alcohol-based fuel. It is normally blended with gasoline. Gasohol gives a higer octane rating and puts out less harmful emissions than an un-blended fuel. Ethanol is made from fermented and distilled grains. Corn, barley and wheat are common grains used to create ethanol. E85 is a blended fuel that consists of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Cars that can run on E85 are referred to as flex fuel vehicles. These vehicles can also run on straight gasoline or any other combination of the two. Flex fuel vehicles are becoming more common, and many popular vehicles are available with a flex fuel option.

What Octane Gas Should I Use for the Best Gas Mileage?

A common question that mechanics hear all the time is 'what octane gas should I use?'. In the majority of cases, the octane level has little to no effect on your vehicles gas mileage. Octane ratings refer to how much energy is used to ignite the gas. It does not relate to how much energy the gas creates. Unless your vehicle is specifically designed to run on high octane fuel, the rating will not make much difference. These types of vehicles are rare, so check your owners manual for fuel guidelines. If your engine is knocking or pinging, you should consider running a high octane fuel. This should help solve the problem.

What is Ethanol Made from?

It's not uncommon to ask, 'What is ethanol made from?'. It is produced from fermented and distilled grains. The most common grains that are used to produce ethanol are corn, barley and wheat. Ethanol is also called ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol. It is usually blended with gasoline to create a fuel called gasohol. The blending percentages vary, but E85 which is 85% ethanol and 15% alcohol, is one of the most popular blends. E85 and higher blends are considered alternative fuels, while lower blends are not considered alternative fuels. E85 can be run in flex fuel vehicles. Bioethanol is made from trees or grasses, but the fermentation process is much more complicated and expensive.