Renewable ethanol blends, ranging from E10 to E85, are currently the cheapest options to decarbonise passenger cars in the EU, according to a study commissioned by the European renewable ethanol association (ePURE).

The study, by climate research consultancy studio Gear Up, showed that at the moment internal combustion cars running on E85 fuel achieve higher lifecycle greenhouse gas savings than battery-electric cars on grid electricity, considering the current grid mix. 

In addition, the savings from the adoption of electric vehicles will not be enough to meet 2030 climate targets, so additional measures will be needed for the internal combustion cars that will remain in use well beyond 2030, the study says. Its recommendations include a E10 blending mandate across Europe and a gradual phasing in of E20, as well as a E85 retrofit programme for legacy petrol cars. 

According to ePURE, it is important to promote more than just one decarbonisation technology. “While we wait for new technologies to mature and new infrastructure to support them, ethanol is already making a difference,” said ePURE interim secretary general Simona Vackeova. “Domestically produced renewable ethanol is an immediate, sustainable, cost-effective and socially inclusive solution to moving beyond fossil fuel,” she added.