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  • Ethanol is a renewable, domestically produced transportation fuel made from various plant materials such as corn, sugarcane, wheat and other agricultural products. Ethanol is blended with gasoline at different levels to ensure stability of the fuel and to improve cold-starts.


  • Popular blends are E85, E15 and E10.
  • E10, which consists of 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline, has been used for many years and can be used in any gasoline vehicle without modification. More than 97% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol in a low-level blend.
  • E15, as of 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) began allowing the use of E15 in model year 2001 and newer gasoline vehicles. Pumps dispensing E15 must be labeled.
  • E85, also called flex fuel, is a gasoline blend containing 51% to 85% ethanol and gasoline. It is a high-level ethanol blend used in Flex Fuel Vehicles.


  • Vehicles that are designed to run on E85 are called Flexible Fuel Vehicles. These vehicles are designed to run either on gasoline or any ethanol blend up to E85 and have onboard diagnostic systems and sensors that determine the fuel blend which enables the vehicle to operate correctly. All major domestic automakers offer E85 Flex Fuel Vehicles at prices comparable to conventional gasoline vehicles.


  • The primary advantages of using ethanol are supporting energy self-sufficiency and job creation for Americans. E85 can only be used in flex fuel vehicles and there is limited availability at refueling stations. Vehicles will typically go 3% to 4% fewer miles per gallon on E10 and 4% to 5% fewer on E15 than on 100% gasoline


Centralina Council of Governments
9815 David Taylor Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262

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