Ethanol is available in a number of different blend levels, the names of which indicate the percentage of ethanol the fuel contains. E10 and E85 are commonly available blends, with E10 the most widely used around the world. E10 contains 10% ethanol and E85 contains 85% ethanol. Australian Government legislation defines an ethanol blended fuel as containing more than 1% ethanol, but limits the amount of ethanol in petrol to 10%.

The production and sale of ethanol blended fuels is regulated by the Australian government, which provides certain specifications that must be met in order for ethanol to be added to petrol for fuel. Regulations also govern the sale of ethanol at fuel stations and suppliers of ethanol must comply with the Fuel Quality Information Standard (Ethanol) Determination 2003, which sets out how to correctly label ethanol so that consumers understand what they are purchasing. Under section 12A of the Fuel Quality Standards Act 2000, it is an offence to not comply with the standards.

The Renewable Fuels Association sets out a checklist designed to guide retailers on the handling and conversion of ethanol blended fuels. The advice within it applies equally to Australian retailers and can be downloaded here.

In order for ethanol fuel to be labeled as E10, it must meet the following Australian specifications:

 Ethanol Specification1 

*standard for ethanol (up to 10 per cent ethanol blended with petrol)Ethanol standard

E85 is defined as a blend of 70-85% ethanol and petrol. In order for ethanol fuel to be labeled as E85, it must meet the following Australian specifications:

E85 Specification

1Testing method ASTM D4815–09 has been validated for use in the analysis of oxygenates (ethers (5 or more C atoms) and higher alcohols (C3-C8)) in ethanol/unleaded petrol blended fuels containing 70 to 85% ethanol, providing standards are prepared in 80% ethanol blended with unleaded petrol.

2Testing methods for Motor Octane Number and Research Octane Number in E85 are not yet available. The minimum targets specified in the E85 fuel quality standard are interim targets until a testing method is available. These minimum targets allow for engine calibration.

 

 

E85 is becoming more popular as a high performing fuel with motoring enthusiasts.  The V8 Supercars have been using E85 since 2009 as their official race fuel and their lap times have never been faster!

Two fuel stockists also make this product available for the general public and both companies are strong supporters of the biofuels industry and members of the association – Caltex and United Petroleum.

To find your nearest service station stocking E85 click on the links below

Caltex E85 Sites

United Petroleum E85 Sites

If a retailer sells E10 at their service station, this information must be clearly displayed to the consumer on every pump that dispenses E10. These pumps must display the words

“Contains up to 10% ethanol”, or

“Contains 10% ethanol”. 

For retail ethanol fuels not dispensed via a pump, there are other standards to adhere to: namely, either a document with the same words as above should be given to the buyer to detail how much ethanol the fuel contains, or if each container of ethanol should be labelled with the words.

Fuel distributors should also ensure that their delivery of ethanol is accompanied by a document stating that the fuel contains a certain percentage of ethanol and is subject to the ethanol labelling standard, to help retailers identify the fuel they are selling.

As with E10, E85 must be appropriately labeled at the pump according to government regulations. The E85 labelling standard came into force on 1 November 2012, and now all pumps that dispense E85 must be labeled with either one of these statements:

  • Contains 70–85% ethanol’ and ‘Not petrol or diesel’ OR
  • ‘Contains x% ethanol’ and ‘Not petrol or diesel’ (where x is a number between 70 and 85).

Distributors supplying service stations should also label their delivery as above and ensure it is documented that the product is subject to E85 labelling standards. Other places of retail supply, excluding service stations, can comply with the labeling standards in one of two ways:

  • a statement that the E85 contains:
    • 70–85% ethanol; or
    • x% ethanol, where x is a number between 70 and 85; AND
  • a statement that the E85 is the subject of this standard.

Fuel quality inspectors monitor fuel at all points of the supply chain for breaches of the regulations. When inspecting service stations, inspectors will also check for the correct labelling on ethanol pumps .It is important for retailers to ensure that the ethanol they sell is appropriately labeled – to not do so is an offence that may result in fines of up to $6,600 for an individual and $33,000 for a body corporate.

For detailed information regarding the fuel labelling stand for ethanol blended fuels please click here.