Sales of gasoline containing up to 85% bioethanol rise
Last year the sales of petrol containing up to 85% bioethanol (E85) increased thanks to the first approvals of conversion boxes for cars, according to a report published on Tuesday by a group of bioethanol producers.
Over the whole of 2018, sales of this fuel in France, jumped by 55% to reach 2,3% of the gasoline market share (excluding diesel), according to the French Bioethanol Collective.
The fuel is especially successful because of the much lower price. E85 currently costs between 0,6 and 0,7 euro per litre. However, it is still a little difficult to find, as it is only sold in about 10% of petrol stations in France. In Belgium this fuel is not yet available.
The fuel is also much more environmentally friendly, as CO2 emissions are much lower because the fuel consists 60 to 85% of bioethanol of vegetable origin mixed with regular petrol. Cars running on E85 also emit fewer particles.
Despite the success, modifications to the engine are necessary. Fuel consumption also increases by 25% when driving on E85 but since the fuel has a vegetable origin, carbon dioxide emissions are halved.
A car running on E85, needs modifications because this fuel is poorer. Such adjustments are possible with a module that can be retrofitted to the most common petrol engines.
The electronic unit will adjust the ignition timing and increase the injected volume of fuel to prevent the engine from detonating (self-ignition). The E85 fuel is filled into the standard fitted petrol tank.
Since the combustion is adjusted and this has a direct influence on the emissions, these E85 boxes must be officially approved. Last year, E85 benefited from the first box approvals, which came after the government introduced the regulatory framework at the end of 2017.
In total, nearly 10 million vehicles in the current French fleet can technically be equipped with these boxes, which cost several hundred euros depending on the vehicles.