Ethanol is a renewable fuel made from plant materials known as “biomass.” More than 95% of U.S. gasoline contains ethanol in a low-level blend to reduce air pollution. Ethanol also comes in a high-level blend (E85), which can be used in flexible fuel vehicles—a vehicle that has an internal combustion engine and runs on either E85 or gasoline.
In the U.S., ethanol is primarily made from starch of corn grain, but there are other sources of producing ethanol such as from sugar cane, crop residues, and forestry residue. It takes a lot of energy to produce ethanol, which makes people question is energy balance. Cellulosic ethanol, however, will require less energy to produce than ethanol. Additionally, it will produce lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions even further—greenhouse gas emissions can be cut by up to 86% compared to gasoline.