Superethanol-E85 is slowly but surely entering the fuel supply at service stations. With 0.87 euros per liter, it is the cheapest fuel. We explain how to do it.
Superethanol-E85 accounts for 4% of fuel sales in France in 2021, with more than 460 million liters consumed, according to the Bioethanol Collective. This share rose to more than 6% last spring, according to the latest figures.
And there is no doubt that since then, with the excessive increase in the price of oil and its consequences for motorists, the increase in this part has increased. We explain everything about this fuel, whose main characteristic is its cleanliness.
What is Superethanol?
It is a fuel that contains between 65% and 85% bioethanol. The rest is unleaded gasoline. Its main advantage: it reduces net CO2 emissions by 50% on average and particle emissions by 90% compared to fossil fuels.
Does it fit all cars?
No, only gasoline vehicles put into service after the year 2000 can run on Superethanol. To do this, all you have to do is install a small electronic box in the engine that, thanks to a sensor that falls into the tank, will inform the on-board computer of the nature of the fuel in the tank . This then allows the engine to inject the right amount of fuel, depending on the proportion of ethanol in the tank.
Are all types of fuel?
Once the box is installed, the car can be driven with SP98, SP95, SP96-E10 or Superethanol-E85. And this, in any proportion. Fuels can actually be mixed. This avoids breakdowns if there is no nearby service station that offers Superethanol.
What type of box to install?
Please note: to be “acceptable”, the E85 box must have official approval. According to the Ethanol Collective, “9 out of 10 cars can have an approved E85 box installed in an approved garage”.
What boxes are on the market?
Today, four E85 enclosures are available on the market. That of Biomotors, the company based in Vendargues, near Montpellier (which shows 9 approved categories), that of FlexFuel Energy Development (7 approved categories), that of Borel (1 approved category) and that of eFlexFuel (2 approved categories) . The first two are the major players driving the market in the case of E85.
How much does it cost to install the enclosure?
The price of an approved E85 conversion box varies between 800 euros and 1,400 euros, including installation. “The prices vary according to the categories of vehicles and housing manufacturers”, specifies the one with the Collective of bioethanol. “It is more expensive in new cars with direct injection,” added Denis Stanislas, spokesman for Biomotors. It is possible to get an estimate from the box manufacturers or from an approved garage.
What savings can we expect?
The Bioethanol Collective, which brings together professionals in the sector and promotes this fuel, estimates that it can save 40% of the fuel budget. On a Perpignan-Paris round trip, for example, the savings would be 118 euros.
Are there installation aids?
Some French regions have established financial aid systems. This is for example the case of the neighboring region Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (PACA), which made the payment of 50% of the cost of installing a ceiling of 250 euros. The Region of Occitanie does not plan anything at this level.
Is Superethanol available at all service stations?
As of last May, there were just under 3,000 service stations nationwide that dispensed E85. Still in the country, 32% of motorway service stations offer it. Regarding the motorway network, Occitanie is the region with the best score in terms of supply with a proportion of 42% of motorway stations. Thanks to the application “My E85 stations”, it is possible to find the nearest service station with Superethanol-E85.