What is E85?
E85 is an alcohol fuel mixture sold in the United States, Brazil and Europe that contains up to 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent petrol. Ethanol is ethyl alcohol, the same type of alcohol found in alcoholic beverages. When Caltex retails the fuel, it will include between 70 and 85 per cent ethanol blended with regular petrol, depending on the time of year. This is similar to the seasonal variation in ethanol content overseas. Ethanol works best in warmer conditions, so during the winter months Caltex will decrease the amount of ethanol in the biofuel blend to ensure optimal performance.
What are the benefits of fuel containing up to 85 per cent ethanol?
There are several important benefits, including:
- It helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels
- It helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- It can be used with conventional engine technology with some adaptations, such as in Holden flex- fuel vehicles
- Ethanol, the major component of the fuel, is a renewable resource
Where can I buy the fuel for flex-fuel vehicles?
Later this year, Caltex will begin selling the new fuel at 30 selected metropolitan and regional service stations, increasing to 100 stations within 12 months. In addition, some selected independent fuel retailers currently sell E85.
Are ethanol-blended fuel or flex fuel cars being used anywhere else?
Ethanol-blended fuel is used in vehicles in the United States, Brazil and Sweden. In the US, GM is the global leader in producing flexible-fuel vehicles, with more than 3.5 million of the more than 7.5 million flex-fuel vehicles on the road are GM cars and trucks. GM has also committed to making more than half of its vehicle production flex-fuel capable by 2012.
What is the fuel economy of E85?
When driving on E85, the fuel consumption per kilometre will be higher because ethanol contains less energy than petroleum. The car needs the same amount of energy; consequently the car needs more fuel.
What about E10? Can I fuel my car with that?
Most new and many older model vehicles can run on E10 blended fuel without compromising the engine or manufacturer’s warranty. Motorists can check their car’s compatibility with E10 fuel at www.caltex.com.au.
How is ethanol produced?
Today, Australian plants produce ethanol from the waste streams of the industrial production of wheat starch, sorghum and molasses. Unlike other technologies and facilities that often rely on one primary source of feedstock, the ethanol facility being investigated for Victoria would be producing ethanol from numerous sources, including wood biomass, agricultural waste, construction waste, and even household garbage. This is generally referred to as a second-generation ethanol production process.
Can I fuel my car with E85?
At this stage, very few cars on Australians roads are capable of running on E85, and, when it is introduced, Holden’s Commodore will be the first Australian-made car able to run on E85. This innovative fuel technology is not suitable for use in any motor vehicles other than those designed specifically for E85.
Will Holden cars be able to run on any other fuel other than E85?
Yes. The vehicles relevant to this announcement will have flex-fuel technology, meaning they are capable of running on fuels ranging from standard unleaded all the way to E85.