E85 is favored by motorists during inflationary times

Superethanol-E85, sold at a growing number of service stations for 30% to 40% less than other fuels, saw its consumption explode in 2022.

Le Point Auto with AFP

Although Ford offers almost its entire range in a Flexifuel version, the Kuga is the only “full hybrid” model on the French market that can run on Superethanol-E85 as standard.

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EIn France, we don’t have oil, but we do have bioethanol, an alcohol of agricultural origin that makes up 85% of Superethanol-E85. According to the Bioethanol Collective, which described 2022 as “exceptional”, this carbon-free fuel increased its consumption by 83% last year and sold 854 million liters in twelve months.

One of every three service stations

Superethanol-E85 now accounts for 6.5% of the gasoline market – up from 4% in 2021 – and is offered at one in three service stations. According to a November industry survey, half of Superethanol-E85 drivers have been using it for less than a year. “Among the events that play a triggering role is the increase in the price of fuel [citée à 74 %] and the environmental dimension of this biofuel [citée à 39 %] “, he noted.

Beet cultivation areas may decrease

In France, bioethanol is produced from sugar beet in the North and from cereals (maize and wheat) in the Southwest. Representatives of the bioethanol industry declined to comment on Monday evening when asked about the government’s decision to abandon a third exemption that allows beet growers to use neonicotinoid insecticides. “In the absence of effective solutions, surfaces [de betteraves] The Union of Beet Growers (CGB) said this would “increase the risk of bulk sugar or ethanol imports”. [du Brésil notamment] “.

1.8 million tons of CO2 prevented

If bioethanol is cheaper than petroleum-refined fuels, it is because it is taxed less, especially because its use has lower CO emissions.2 per liter compared to conventional fuels. Bioethanol consumed in France “is about 1.8 million tons of CO22 Says Sylvain Demoures, Secretary General of the National Association of Agricultural Alcohol Producers (SNPAA), citing the Directorate-General for Energy and Climate (DGEC) as a source.

Housing installation may be subsidized

To use this fuel, the first option is to buy a suitable new car (Ford, Land Rover or Jaguar) and the second is to convert an existing petrol model by fitting it with an approved box called “flex fuel”. approved garage. According to the sector, 85,000 new boxes were installed in 2022, compared to 30,000 in 2021, which is almost three times. Market leader Biomotors sold “one in four minutes” last year, according to managing director Alexis Landrieu. If the price of a box can be 1000 euros, some regions subsidize them up to 500 euros, such as Île-de-France or Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, as well as the department of Oise and some municipalities.

Convenient “life cycle” analysis

According to the same source, about 35,000 original flex-E85 vehicles were sold last year, which is about six times more than in 2021. More than two-thirds of these vehicles are hybrids. However, according to the IFPEN study, in a so-called “life-cycle” analysis, from the extraction of materials to their recycling, including the manufacture and use of the vehicle, an E85-powered plug-in hybrid would not emit more CO globally.2 More than the average electric car in Europe.

Significant savings

However, bioethanol has not been able to escape inflation. Its price has risen sharply at gas stations in France and exceeded 1 euro per liter. “The price of bioethanol has been affected by the increase in agricultural costs and energy prices, especially in the price of gas accepted in the supply contracts between ethanol suppliers and fuel distributors for 2023,” according to the Bioethanol Collective. Even if it is necessary to predict a slightly excessive consumption when driving on superethanol, according to the sector’s calculations, this fuel still remains profitable with savings of up to 675 euros per 20,000 km (excluding the investment in the box). Indeed, E85 was shown last Friday at €1.1083 per liter according to figures from the Energy Transition Ministry, which is 30-40% cheaper than other fuels, diesel, unleaded petrol and SP95-E10. At the beginning of 2022, bioethanol was still selling for 0.7433 euros per liter, and at the beginning of 2021 it was even 0.6517 euros.

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