The Clean Air Trust

Differences Between E85 And E95

Ethanol has been the more preferred fuel alternative that is being widely developed all over the United States because of its greater potential in solving the existing environmental and economical troubles that petroleum oil creates. It is a domestically and organically- produced energy that proves to have more substantial benefits than limitations. Although the technology of manufacturing ethanol has not yet been fully-developed to be absolutely cost-effective and advantageous, its wide use has been started by concerned motorists all over the country, hoping to contribute in the preservation of the ozone layer and the reduction of dependence in high-priced imported oil.

Using alcohol fuels like ethanol, however, requires certain adjustments in car engines to be fully operational. Engine modification is not advisable for cars that use ethanol fuels in low concentration of up to 20%. But for E85, which is the declared concentration as alternative fuel, and Ee95, which is designed for high compression engines, modification is needed. When gasoline-only powered vehicles are loaded up with ethanol fuel, its computer systems, designed to read limited amounts of oxygen (ethanol contains greater amounts of oxygen), can be destroyed, thus creating engine problems. So motorists must first acquire a fuel flexible vehicle (FFV) by buying a new one or modifying the old, before deciding to switch to the cleaner fuel alternative that is ethanol.


Composed of 85% ethanol plus 15% gasoline, E85 is the concentration recognized by the US Department of Energy as an alternative fuel. Fuel concentrations with 20% ethanol or less are basically considered as oxygenating fuels. As stipulated in the Clean Air Act, engines must be loaded with a fuel additive called methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE), which reduces the total emissions of carbon monoxide in the atmosphere. Since MTBE gained notoriety for its proven direct influence on the contamination of soil and groundwater, ethanol serves as a welcome substitute because it gives the same benefits minus the negative effects on the environment. But as a capable fuel alternative, concentration this shallow does not provide the same benefits of using E85.


E85 has been widely used in most parts of the world because it performs better than ordinary gasoline does, not to mention the helpful things that it can do to the environment. Engines powered by e85 gasoline produce relatively lower carbon monoxide emissions, which have substantial effect on the deterioration of the ozone layer. It burns cleaner in the engine and as a result enhances complete combustion. E85 is also proven to offer significant help in protecting car engines against the damaging knocks.

E85 is designed to power fuel-flex vehicles that can accept concentration of ethanol up to 85% combined with ordinary or unleaded gasoline. The basic difference of FFVs against gasoline-only powered motors is its power of eliminating chemicals such as magnesium, rubber, and aluminum parts. Specific engine parts that need adjustments to run smoothly with E85 include the car fuel tank, lines, injectors, the computer system, and the anti-siphon device. Both the car fuel tank and fuel lines must be made in stainless steel while the injectors should have wider ranges for the pulse widths to put up with at least 30 percent more fuel. All these must be put in consider ation first and foremost. Gasoline-only powered vehicles can run in E85, but after a while, the harboring effects would take its toll on the car's engine, eventually creating operational problems. So it's best to deal with the inconveniences of adhering to the specific engine requirement than to deal with the ugly effects that could hinder car efficiency.

The wide use of corn-based bioethanol fuel presents amazing advantages that save Mother Earth. It has relatively low amount of total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), at least 23% less than ordinary gasoline, which shows clearly that it's in no way an environmental hazard even when it can power car engines as efficient or even more.

However, E85 has its few drawbacks, too, but advocates believe that the country is capable of overcoming these with further research and development. Since the idea of E85 is relatively new, the cost of producing it's still quite expensive. There are also limited gasoline stations in states and cities that carry gas pumps refitted to offer E85. Ethanol transport from the plant to the refueling station has something to do with this problem. But those first two problems can be resolved hopefully sooner than later. What is of greater concern is the sad truth that E85 has lower energy value than gasoline, which means motorists would need more of this biofuel than gasoline to cover the same miles. This is especially alarming when the price of E85 is considerably high compared with gasoline and that refueling stations are miles apart.


E95 is a generous concentration of 95% ethanol combined with 5% gasoline. This has been in wide use with modified diesel-powered, compression ignition engines. Through the years, the utilization of E95 to power cars, specifically buses, has been practiced in most parts of the US. Since E95 carries the same benefits of using ethanol fuel like reducing total emissions, thus creating a valuable decrease in air pollutants released in the atmosphere, more and more car owners seek ways to switch to this cleaner fuel. In not so distant future, the US government is looking at a picture where most, if not all, of the 150 million cars on the road runs with ethanol fuel. Much like in Brazil where 70% of car owners employ ethanol in different concentrations, which incredibly lessens the country's demand for high-priced foreign oil.

Comparison and Contrast

Both E85 and E95 produce the same benefits and draw backs as a result of the similarities in component. The only distinction of one from the other is the concentration percentage of the main ingredient, which creates the big difference. If E85 is designed to substitute gasoline in empowering vehicles, E95, a higher concentration of ethanol by 10%, is for usually diesel-powered engines. The gasoline concentration in both is provided for better ignition capacity. Only that, gasoline-only powered vehicles or light-duty automobiles needed the 15% gasoline content because it is significant in the spark ignition. For vehicles designed with compression ignition engines, the 5% concentration is enough and additional percentage would make the car's flash point sink to improper levels.

Therefore, E85 cannot possibly be utilized in exchange for E95 and vice versa. Much like gasoline and diesel, they are not in any way, interchangeable.