Study: Non flex fuel vehicles benefit from ethanol blends

By Urban Air Initiative | April 08, 2019

newly published study finds that most vehicles on the road today can adapt to mid-level ethanol blends, helping cars run more efficiently while reducing greenhouse gas emissions along with other pollutants. The study was conducted by North Carolina State University and commissioned by the Urban Air Initiative.

“This study confirms what the Urban Air Initiative has known to be true, that a high quality mid-level ethanol blend provides environmental advantages in most vehicles on the road today,” said UAI Technical Director Steve Vander Griend.

Researchers tested regular E10 with 10 percent ethanol to a mid-level blend with 27 percent ethanol or E27. They found that when splash blending or simply adding ethanol to regular consumer fuel, ethanol lowered particulate matter (PM), CO and CO2. The vehicles were also able to adjust ignition timing and properly control air-to-fuel ratios.

“When operating on the mid-level ethanol blend, the measured vehicles, on average, had lower emission rates of carbon monoxide and particles with little to no changes in other measured emissions. The advantage of this study over others is that these measurements were made in the real-world under actual driving conditions, and thus are based on representative data regarding vehicle activity,” said lead researcher Chis Frey.

Vehicle testing often takes place in laboratories, so the fact that these were tested under real world driving conditions further validates the benefits of mid-level ethanol blends. “Almost every vehicle on the road today can benefit from ethanol blends, which means we can all do our part to reduce emissions and improve air quality,” said Vander Griend.