What is Ethanol?

Ethanol is a renewable, clean-burning, high octane motor fuel.  This liquid alcohol is made up of oxygen, hydrogen and carbon and is obtained from the fermentation of sugar or converted starch contained in grains and other agricultural or agri-forest feedstocks.  In Canada right now, ethanol is principally made from corn and wheat.  Because it is domestically produced, ethanol helps reduce Canada's dependence on foreign sources of energy, provides a new market for famers, strengthens rural economies, creates thousands of jobs and provides environmental benefits right here at home.

Can I use gasoline with ethanol in my vehicle?

All gasoline vehicles made since the early 1980s can use gasoline that contains ethanol. All major vehicle manufacturers approve the use of up to 10% ethanol in their warranties. Your owner's manual contains the manufacturer's fuel recommendations. There are also Flex Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) that can run on any combination of gasoline and ethanol, up to 85% ethanol.  This blend is called E85.

What are the benefits?

The use of ethanol-blended fuel helps reduce the environmental and economic impacts of gasoline consumption on our society.  

Economic Benefits

Ethanol reduces our dependence on non-renewable fossil fuels and generates new markets for agricultural products and other renewable resources.  It contributes to regional economic growth and job creation, particularly in rural communities.  There is great potential to capitalize on ethanol fuel because Canada has the forest resources and cropland needed to support the production of ethanol feedstocks.  The development of a substantial ethanol industry would mean new markets for Canadian biomass, agriculture and forestry. It would create construction and operations jobs at ethanol production plants and help strengthen and diversify rural economies.

Environmental Benefits

Ethanol is a renewable, environmentally friendly fuel that is inherently cleaner than gasoline. Ethanol reduces harmful tailpipe emissions of carbon monoxide, particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen, and other ozone-forming pollutants.

Relative to gasoline, ethanol reduces greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) that contribute to climate change. This is because the plant material used to make ethanol absorbs carbon dioxide (a main greenhouse gas) when it grows.

Can I use gasoline with ethanol year-round?

Yes, gasoline with ethanol can be used year-round. In fact, ethanol can serve as a gas-line anti-freeze.

Does ethanol affect fuel consumption?

Using gasoline with 10% ethanol can increase fuel consumption by about 2-3 percent.