Ethanol Fuel more Advantages than Thought
Did you know that increasing levels of ethanol in gasoline has many benefits? It boosts engine performance, helps the environment, and results in cost savings. In fact, the more ethanol there is in gasoline – the cleaner it is. Let’s take a closer look at why.
Ethanol and Octane
Octane is a standard measurement for the performance of a fuel. To boost octane, oil companies add synthetic octane enhancers called aromatics, such as benzene, toluene, and xylene. Although they are effective in raising octane, they are harmful to the environment and human health. Many aromatics are known carcinogens and create toxic tailpipe emissions. Unfortunately, these aromatics are also expensive, boosting gasoline prices at the pump.
The greater the octane, the more compression the fuel can withstand before spontaneously igniting. Ethanol has the highest-octane rating of fuel additives. When using regular 87 fuel, which contains 10% ethanol, you are helping to reduce aromatic use and improving engine performance. The benefits increase when you use E15, which is 15% ethanol, E20, or E30.
Studies show that higher-octane blends with ethanol prevent engine knock and increase engine performance and power because the fuel can withstand more compression before detonating. Did you know that even professional race car drivers use ethanol blends?
Ethanol keeps engines clean because it burns more completely than gasoline. Cleaner fuels increase the life of your engine and reduce carbon deposits.
Adding ethanol to gasoline is a cheaper and cleaner way to boost octane than using benzene, toluene, and xylene. Those savings are then passed on at the pump, resulting in lower fuel costs.
Decrease in Dependency
Ethanol has also reduced the demand for oil which helps keep oil prices down. The blending of approximately one million barrels per day of ethanol into U.S. fuels from 2015 to 2018 has lowered the average price of crude by $6 a barrel. Even just using a low percentage of ethanol saves money while reducing air pollution and improving engine performance. It’s a win-win for the pocketbook and the environment.
A study by the USDA shows that corn ethanol also reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 39% compared with gasoline. The good news is that even greater greenhouse gas emission savings are possible with improvements. There are a couple ways to achieve this. Producing ethanol requires heat during the fermentation process, which often comes from coal or natural gas. Using renewable energy in ethanol processing can reduce emissions. Likewise, using conservation farming practices for growing corn, such as reduced till and the use of cover crops, can further decrease greenhouse emissions.
Growing corn to create ethanol also captures carbon dioxide, which creates another advantage over oil drilling. Ethanol crops are renewable, conserving resources for future generations. Also, ethanol is produced domestically which creates jobs and helps the economy. Using ethanol reduces our reliance on foreign oil, promotes energy independence, and keeps oil prices down. It also reduces our reliance on volatile fuel markets with unpredictable prices.
Clean air is essential for healthy cities. As greater research is done to understand ethanol, scientists are discovering its many benefits. It reduces emissions, saves money, and is good for your engine. Are you ready to give ethanol blends a try?