OPINION: The answer is simple: Ethanol

By Robert White, vice president of industry relations, Renewable Fuels Association | July 05, 2022

It’s no secret that gas prices are the highest they have ever been. Fortunately, there is a simple solution to help solve this problem for consumers at the pump: fueling with higher blends of ethanol. And right now, there has never been more of a need for educating consumers on the benefits of these higher blends.

Nearly all U.S. gasoline today contains some level of ethanol in it. The most common blends are E10, E15 and E85. No matter what blend of ethanol you choose at the pump, ethanol has numerous benefits. First, it lowers the price at the pump. The more ethanol in the blend, the lower the price will be. It also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves air quality. And of course, it’s a renewable product that supports rural America.

Consumers do have questions though, and we have answers, with an updated FAQ. Are these blends of ethanol safe for my vehicle? E10 is typically found in all grades of unleaded fuel and approved for all engines. E15 is approved for 2001 and newer vehicles, along with all flex fuel vehicles (FFVs), meaning more than 96% of the cars and trucks on the road can legally use E15. E85 is an alternative fuel that is approved only for FFVs. Any blend above E10 must be labeled with its ethanol content and what vehicles can use the fuel.

Many retailers are using these higher blends as options to help consumers. For example, Pearson Fuels in California has been holding regular fuel promotions offering E85 at just $1.85 per gallon, which is sometimes an amazing $4-5 per gallon cheaper than regular unleaded. Another retailer, Sheetz, did a week-long promotion around the Fourth of July offering E15 for $3.99 per gallon and E85 for $3.49 per gallon. In Pennsylvania, as just one example, regular unleaded was hovering around $5 per gallon, so the savings are clear.

These station-level promotions aside, the Renewable Fuels Association is also holding its annual Ethanol Days of Summer Contest, where consumers can win $250 in free fuel until Labor Day. Click here for more information on how you can participate.

No matter what the price at the pump might be, it would be much higher without ethanol. That’s because ethanol is extending our fuel supply and helping meet octane needs at a much lower price. When drivers choose higher blends like E15 and E85, they will save even more, and we’re always ready to assist retailers provide these lower-cost fuels to their customers.