Ethanol blended petrol in India – Unveiling the facts

ethanol blended petrol in india
5 May 2024

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Long story short: Get the latest insights on ethanol petrol blending in India. Explore advantages of E10 & E20 ethanol blended petrol in India and learn how it contributes to a greener future.

What is ethanol?

Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol, is one of the different forms of alcohol. It is a transparent, colourless liquid possessing a distinct scent and flavour. Ethanol comprises carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms with the chemical formula C2H5OH. It is worth noting that pure ethanol is both non-toxic and biodegradable. In the event of a spill, it decomposes into harmless substances. Nevertheless, fuel ethanol is treated with denaturants, rendering it unfit for consumption.

What is ethanol blended petrol?

Imagine your regular petrol is like a glass of juice. Instead of pure juice, think of E10 petrol (the kind available in India right now) as mixing 10% water with that juice. That water is ethanol, alcohol made from plants like sugarcane.

Types of ethanol blended petrol in India.

In India, there’s currently one primary type of ethanol-blended petrol readily available:
E10 Petrol (10% Ethanol): This blend contains 10% ethanol mixed with 90% regular gasoline. It’s the standard petrol available at most pumps nationwide as of May 4, 2024.
E20 Petrol (20% Ethanol): The government plans to introduce E20 petrol nationwide by 2025. This blend will have a higher ethanol content (20%) than E10.

Making of ethanol

Ethanol is commonly made from renewable resources like corn, sugarcane, barley, and wheat, as well as from cellulosic materials such as agricultural residues and wood.

Pros of Ethanol Blended Petrol

  1. Reduced Emissions: Ethanol burns cleaner than gasoline; less carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and soot than pure gasoline. This can improve air quality, particularly in urban areas.
  2. Renewable Resource: Corn and sugarcane are some of the plants from which ethanol is made, making it an alternative fuel source against fossil fuels.
  3. Energy Independence: Countries like India can reduce their dependence on imported oil and improve energy security by using ethanol.
  4. Improved Engine Performance: Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gasoline, which leads to better engine performance and reduced knocking.
  5. Rural Development: Ethanol production creates jobs in agricultural areas, boosting the rural economies of India.

It’s crucial to remember that while E20 has numerous benefits, there are also drawbacks.

Cons of Ethanol Blended Petrol

  1. Not Compatible with All Vehicles:  Higher ethanol blends (E85) may not suit all vehicles and can damage older engines.
  2. Infrastructure expenses: Considerable investments in additional infrastructure, including storage tanks, pumps, and pipes for the widespread adoption of E20.
  3. Corrosive nature: Ethanol, unlike gasoline, has unique chemical properties that can corrode various materials commonly found in fuel systems. Compatibility issues may lead to component deterioration or damage.
  4. Water absorption: Due to its hygroscopic nature, ethanol can absorb moisture from the air. If not correctly addressed by the manufacturer, this water absorption can cause phase separation and potentially lead to corrosion.
  5. Environmental impact of agriculture: The intensive farming practices involved in ethanol production can contribute to environmental issues like soil erosion, pesticide usage, and deforestation.

Implementing sustainable farming techniques is crucial in mitigating these effects.

Impact of ethanol blended petrol on the consumer

Fuel Efficiency: While using E20 fuel, there is a drop in fuel efficiency of 3-4% for 2-wheelers designed for E0 and calibrated for E10. However, with engine modifications (hardware and tuning), the reduction of loss of mileage due to blending is possible. 

Startability: In the E20 project, the results indicated that the test vehicles passed stability and drivability tests in hot and cold conditions with E0 and E20 test fuel. In all the cases, no severe malfunction or stall was observed at any stage of vehicle operation.

Impact of ethanol blended petrol on the vehicle manufacturer

Engines and components must be tested and calibrated with E20 as fuel. Vendors need to be developed to procure additional components compatible with E20. No significant change in the assembly line is expected.

Impact of ethanol blended petrol on the component manufacturer 

There will be no significant structural change in the components when migrating from E10 to E20. There will be changes in the materials of fuel pumps, piston rings, piston heads, seals, O-rings, etc. 

Roadmap for ethanol blending in petrol in India in 2020-25

The roadmap proposes the following milestones:

  1. Increase ethanol production capacity nationwide from 700 to 1500 crore litres.
  2. Introduce E10 fuel gradually by April 2022.
  3. Implement E20 fuel rollout starting April 2023, with full availability by April 2025.
  4. Launch vehicles compatible with E20 material and E10 engine by April 2023.
  5. Begin manufacturing vehicles tuned for E20 fuel by April 2025. 6. Promote the use of water-efficient crops like maize for ethanol production.
  6. Support technology advancements for ethanol production from non-food sources.

Is the octane rating of ethanol actually higher than 100% petrol?

Yes. The octane rating of ethanol is actually higher than gasoline. In some cases, it might even lead to a slight improvement in engine performance.

Is E10 petrol available everywhere in India?

Yes. India achieved the target of E10 blending well ahead of schedule in June 2022. This means E10 petrol is widely available across the country.Older vehicles (generally pre-2001) might require some adjustments to run smoothly on E10. It’s best to get in touch with a certified mechanic for guidance.

Does E10 petrol significantly reduce mileage?

While E10 has slightly lower energy density than pure gasoline, the decrease in mileage is typically in the range of 3-7%. This might not be noticeable for many drivers.

What is the difference between E10 & E20 petrol?

The critical difference between E10 and E20 petrol lies in the percentage of ethanol blended with regular petrol. E10 petrol contains 10% ethanol and 90% petrol. It’s the standard ethanol blend currently available across most of India. E20 petrol contains a higher ethanol concentration, at 20% ethanol and 80% petrol. The Indian government plans to introduce E20 by 2025.

Is E10 petrol available in India?

Yes, E10 petrol, blended with 10% ethanol, is available in India. In fact, India achieved the target of E10 blending well ahead of schedule, reaching it in June 2022. This means most of the petrol you pump in your bike or car in India is likely E10. The government is aiming for even higher ethanol blends in the future. They have plans to make E20 petrol (20% ethanol) available nationwide by 2025.

What will the cost of E20-compatible motorcycles be in India?

The cost of E20-compatible vehicles is expected to be higher in the range of Rs 1000 to Rs 2000 for two-wheelers, over and above the price of ordinary vehicles tailored to run on 100% gasoline.

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Ethanol petrol blending in India is the future for sure. Everyone coming under automobile industry are making necessary changes to the system. So idea about this new bio fuel is the need of the hour. If you have any other doubts or queries, email us at We are always eager to help and assist you. Also, here are several social media platforms of Bikeleague India to raise your suspicions.