Information on Ethanol


Iowa Renewable Fuels Association

American Coalition for Ethanol

Renewable Fuels Assocation

Growth Energy

Urban Air Initiative


U.S. Grains Council



Ethanol, or ethyl alcohol, is a clean-burning biofuel created from corn or other starch or sugar-based feedstocks. It can be blended with unleaded gasoline in amounts up to 85%.



Ethanol is a high-octane fuel that keeps an auto’s fuel system clean for optimal performance because it does not leave gummy deposits. It also serves as a natural gas-line antifreeze. Ethanol-blended fuels are approved under the warranties of all auto manufacturers marketing vehicles in the United States today, and all mainstream manufacturers of power equipment, motorcycles, snowmobiles and outboard motors permits the use of ethanol blends in their products.



Ethanol is a renewable fuel produced from plants, unlike petroleum-based fossil fuels that have a limited supply and are the major contributor carbon dioxide emissions. The use of 10% ethanol blends reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 12-19% compared with conventional gasoline. Ethanol reduces tailpipe carbon monoxide emissions, toxics content and fine particulate matter. It is also rapidly biodegraded in surface water, groundwater and soil, and is the safest component in gasoline today.



The state’s ethanol industry has created 4,250 direct and indirect jobs. Ethanol plants produce over $3.5 billion in annual product sales, with a large portion of these profits reinvested in Iowa when the enterprises are producer-owned or cooperatives. Almost all of the corn and 44% of other expenses of an ethanol plant are purchased from Iowa residents and businesses. State tax revenues generated by Iowa’s ethanol plants exceed $26 million per year. The state’s ethanol industry generates nearly $2.5 billion in total sales back to local communities. Iowa’s ethanol industry delivers about $2.40 in added value for each bushel of corn it processes. Processing corn into ethanol boosts the state average price of corn by 6 cents per bushel, which means an additional $124 million of revenue to farmers annually. Within the market territory of an ethanol plant, the impact on corn prices could be an additional 12 cents per bushel.



Ethanol is most often blended at a 10% rate, which is widely available and covered under warranty by every automobile manufacturer that sells vehicles in the United States for every make and model of automobile. The second blending rate that is growing in popularity and usage is E85 (85% ethanol, 15% unleaded gasoline). It can be used in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs), which are made by DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Mazda, Mercury, Isuzu and Mercedes. Check inside the gas tank door on your vehicle to see if it is an FFV or go online.



Ethanol’s future is bright, as the nation looks to replace foreign oil in a highly-charged energy market. A nationwide Renewable Fuels Standard was passed in late 2005 mandating that the nation reach a level of using 7 billion gallons of renewable fuels by 2012, with more legislation now being proposed to boost that requirement to 12 billion gallons by 2012.

Information courtesy of Renewable Fuels Association


FACT: In 2013, the production of 13.3 billion gallons of ethanol supported 86,504 direct jobs in renewable fuel production and agriculture in the U.S., as well as 300,277 indirect and induced jobs across all sectors of the economy.

Contribution of the Ethanol Industry to the Economy of the United States


E85 is a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline for use in flexible fuel vehicles (FFVs). E85 is a high octane, high performance fuel and is classified as an alternative fuel by the U.S. Department of Energy. It is a renewable source of energy and reduces the crude oil imports needed to fuel America’s transportation system.

Ethanol is a clean, environmentally friendly fuel and, in an 85% blend, is very clean and even more environmentally friendly. E85 reduces harmful hydrocarbon and greenhouse gas emissions.

A flexible fuel vehicle (FFV) is a vehicle that can operate on any blend of ethanol up to 85%. Because E85 vehicles are flexible by nature, owning a flexible fuel vehicle is a practical way to enter the world of alternative fuels without any limitations on the vehicle’s range. If E85 is not available, the vehicle can operate on straight unleaded gasoline or any percentage of ethanol up to 85%.
Source: American Coalition for Ethanol

E15 Facts

  • E15 is a blend of 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline.  It is an environmentally-friendly fuel that burns cleaner than gasoline.
  • Until recently, gasoline ethanol blends were limited to a maximum of 10 percent ethanol known as E10.  E10 represents 97% of the gasoline sold in the U.S.  E15 uses the same type of ethanol as blended in E10.
  • The U.S. EPA has approved E15 for use in model year 2001 and newer cars, trucks SUVs.
  • Research by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded when E15 was compared to gasoline, there were no significant changes in vehicle tailpipe emissions or vehicle drivability as ethanol content increased.

E10 Facts - Ethanol and Your Vehicle

  • A 10% ethanol blend is warranted for use by ALL auto manufacturers.
  • Ethanol-blended fuel keeps your fuel system clean for optimal performance because it does not leave gummy deposits.
  • Ethanol is the highest performance fuel on the market with a 113 octane rating. Several national and international racing teams use ethanol because of its high octane and exceptional performance.  In fact, the Indy Racing League adopted ethanol to replace methanol beginning with the 2006 season.
  • Ethanol-blended fuels (10%) are approved for use in small engines, including outboard motors, snowmobiles, lawn mowers, motorcycles, and chainsaws.  All small engine manufacturers that have tested a 10% ethanol blend have approved its use.
  • Ethanol guards against gas line freeze by absorbing any moisture that may get in the tank during cold weather.  So, there’s no reason to spend extra money on over-the-counter de-icers.

Courtesy of: Iowa Renewable Fuels Association