Ethanol Fuel

Ethanol is a colorless, flammable fuel, also known as grain alcohol or ethyl alcohol and undergoes a fermentation process that breaks down the sugars of particular plants to make the fuel that goes into our vehicles.  In 2014, the United States produced an estimated 14,000,000,000 (fourteen billion) gallons of corn-based ethanol.  Other countries use other types of plants.  Take the country of Brazil for example, where sugarcane is the plant of choice to make ethanol because of its abundance.  Other types of plants that are used to produce ethanol include switchgrass, corn stover (also known as the stalks and leaves of corn), and some types of cactus.  Although not a plant, ethanol can also be produced using natural gas, a fuel source in great abundance.


The gasoline we put into our cars are not completely made up of ethanol.  In fact, ethanol makes up about 10% of most fuels and the more ethanol you add to a gasoline the higher the octane, which boosts the power and performance of your engine.  If your car has an engine that is designed to highly perform or drive fast, you most likely need a higher-octane fuel.  As a matter of fact, there are about 19,000,000 (nineteen million) vehicles in the United States that uses flex-fuel.  A flexible-fuel vehicle (FFV) is a vehicle with an internal combustion engine that is designed to use more than one type of fuel.  It is common that FFVs blend gasoline and methanol more than any other fuel combination.  What is even more impressive is that both fuels can be stored in the same tank.


Here are some myths and facts about ethanol obtained from the Fuel Freedom Foundation (click here).