France continues to lead the way on ethanol blends


Renewable ethanol continues to build its popularity in France, where motorists have already made E10 (petrol containing up to 10% ethanol) the top-selling gasoline blend.

Recently France has also made it possible for consumers to choose an even higher blend that not only reaps better emissions-reduction performance, but also saves money. E85, a petrol blend with up to 85% renewable ethanol, is fast growing in popularity, with more than 21 million liters sold in January, according to Le Monde. In fact, the use of E85 in France increased by 55% in 2018.

At the moment, using E85 requires only a simple conversion box to be installed in a normal petrol vehicle. The cost of installation is usually recouped quickly, as the price of E85 is usually half as much as regular petrol blends. The popularity of the boxes in France has led automakers like Ford to re-introduce so-called flex-fuel vehicles that can run on all types of petrol blends up to E85.

Countries across the rest of Europe that are having trouble meeting their transport renewables targets could learn a lesson or two from all of this. All petrol sold across Europe has up to 5% renewable ethanol in it. While several countries have introduced E10 to reduce emissions from petrol cars on their roads, other countries have hesitated.

By introducing E10 or pushing for even higher ethanol blends like E85 the EU can more easily reach its climate and energy goals for sustainable transport. In fact, several studies have confirmed that renewable ethanol can help increase engine efficiency while decreasing CO2 emissions and harmful pollutants.

Next time you’re driving through France and see an E85 nozzle at the petrol station, think about how your country could also benefit from higher blends.

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