Ethanol, also known as ethyl alcohol or grain alcohol, is a flammable, colorless chemical compound, one of the alcohols that is most often found in alcoholic drinks. When people talk about it, they often name it simply as alcohol. Its chemical formula is C2H5OH, also written as C2H6O.
Ethanol fuel is an alternative to gasoline. It can be combined with gasoline in any concentration up to pure ethanol.
In Brazil, ethanol fuel from sugar cane now provides 18 percent of the country's automotive fuel. As a result, Brazil, which years ago had to import a large share of the petroleum needed for domestic consumption, recently reached complete self-sufficiency in oil.
Most cars on the road today in the U.S. can run on blends of up to 10% ethanol, and motor vehicle manufacturers already produce vehicles designed to run on much higher ethanol blends. Ford, DaimlerChrysler, and GM are among the automobile companies that sell “flexible-fuel” cars, trucks, and minivans that can use gasoline and ethanol blends ranging from pure gasoline up to 85% ethanol (E85). By mid-2006, there were approximately six million E85-compatible vehicles on U.S. roads.
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