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Personal: Transportation

Ethanol

What is ethanol?
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Availability and Cost
Safety and Performance
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Safety and Performance

Safety

Ethanol does not pose any more risk than gasoline or diesel fuel.

Performance

Using a 10 percent ethanol blend does not significantly affect a vehicle's fuel economy or horsepower. Although 10 percent ethanol-blended gasoline contains only 97 percent of the energy of pure gasoline, this is partially compensated for by the improved combustion efficiency of the ethanol-gasoline blend that the added ethanol provides. Overall, use of low-blend increases fuel consumption by an average of 2 percent compared with pure gasoline. However, this is only a slight difference when compared with other factors that have a larger impact on fuel economy. For example, driving at 120 km/h rather than 100 km/h increases fuel consumption by an average of 20 percent.

In the case of vehicles that use an 85 percent ethanol blend (high-blend), automakers generally equip these vehicles with larger fuel tanks to offset the fuel's lower energy content. This way, the distance a high-blend vehicle can travel before refuelling can be similar to that of a vehicle using pure gasoline.