On July 5, 2017
I consider myself to be fairly green—I recycle; I do my best to conserve water and electricity; I eat as locally as I can. But using that specially-marked E15 ethanol gas at the pump? That seemed a little daunting at first.
Could my car take more ethanol? Would mixing it with regular gas harm the engine?
If you’re curious about trying E15, here are the basics:
- Ethanol is used as an octane booster to enhance regular gasoline.
- Nearly all regular unleaded gasoline is 10 percent ethanol, so chances are you’re already using ethanol fuel in your car.
- Ethanol fuel can be found in different concentrations, including E10, E15, and E85.
- The E15 fuel has slightly more ethanol than regular unleaded gas. It has up to 15 percent ethanol in total, hence E15.
- E15 is approved for use in passenger cars and light trucks model year 2001 and newer.
Ethanol is made from field corn, which is also used for livestock feed, and a very small percentage is used to make corn oil, corn starch, and corn meal. When using corn to make ethanol, only the starch is used, and the remaining third of the corn becomes a high nutrient livestock feed called distillers grains. Ethanol is not made from sweet corn, which is the kind of corn we humans eat.
Because it’s made domestically from corn, it costs less than imported oil, which helps our bottom line and the economy. Normally, E10 and E15 fuels cost less than mid-grade and premium fuels, providing more octane for less money.
And there are a lot of benefits to ethanol:
- It’s renewable and has lower greenhouse gas emissions.
- It makes greater use of more of the corn plant.
- It boosts the U.S. economy.
In 2011, the EPA approved the use of E15 in all passenger cars and trucks model year 2001 and newer. That’s 90 percent of all the cars on the road today! In addition, most auto manufacturers, representing 80 percent of those cars, endorse the use of E15. Visit the Renewable Fuels Association’s handy one sheet to learn more.
Whether you’re hitting the road or just want to zip around town, consider giving E15 a try. There are gas stations across the state that carry E15 fuel.
Plus, there are 12 ethanol plants in Kansas that provide fuel for use domestically and internationally. So, fuel locally and fill up with E15. You’ll literally be “going green” with a less expensive fuel and a more environmentally friendly fuel to propel you.