A new study concludes that mid-level ethanol blends can be used in most cars, not just flex-fuel vehicles (FFVs), and can help cars run more efficiently while reducing greenhouse gas emissions along with other pollutants. The study was conducted by North Carolina State University and commissioned by the Urban Air Initiative.
Researchers tested regular E10 with 10% ethanol to a mid-level blend with 27% ethanol or E27. They found that when splash blending or simply adding ethanol to regular consumer fuel, ethanol lowered particulate matter (PM), CO and CO2. The vehicles were also able to adjust ignition timing and properly control air-to-fuel ratios.
“When operating on the mid-level ethanol blend, the measured vehicles, on average, had lower emission rates of carbon monoxide and particles with little to no changes in other measured emissions. The advantage of this study over others is that these measurements were made in the real-world under actual driving conditions, and thus are based on representative data regarding vehicle activity,” said lead researcher Dr. Chis Frey.
UAI Technical Director Steve Vander Griend says the fact that these vehicles were tested under real world driving conditions instead of in the laboratory further validates the benefits of mid-level ethanol blends.