Fuel Types

E85 Petrol

E85 is a new fuel released in South Australia by Caltex on 26 August 2010 to be used in specifically designed vehicles.

What is E85?

E85 is a petrol blend of 85% ethanol and 15% conventional petroleum. Over colder periods the percentage of ethanol may fall to around 70% as a higher portion of petrol is needed to maintain the fuel’s performance and driveability.

Can I use E85 petrol in my vehicle?

Currently E85 is only suitable for a handful of vehicles made by SAAB Bio-Power models and the Holden Commodore and Captiva E85 models. To find out whether your vehicle can use an E85 petrol blend, contact your vehicle’s manufacturer.

If E85, or any blend of fuel, is used in a vehicle which is not recommended by the manufacturer, neither the manufacturer nor fuel supplier is liable for any damage caused to the vehicle.

Where can I find E85 in South Australia?

Currently, selected Caltex and United Petroleum sites sell E85. Caltex's E85 blend is called Bio E-Flex and has a white pump colour. United Petroleum's E85 blend is called Ethanol 85 and assigned an orange pump colour.

There are currently 9 locations in Adelaide that sell E85, namely:

CaltexUnited Petroleum
131 O'Connell St, North Adelaide169 Tapleys Hill Rd, Seaton
Corner Panalatinga & Bains Rd, WoodcroftSir Richard William Ave, Adelaide Airport
201 Salisbury Hwy, Salisbury Downs876 Main North Rd, Pooraka
1916 Main North Rd, Salisbury Park 
1129 South Rd, St Marys 
443 Main North Rd, Clearview 

It is expected that more service stations will begin selling E85 in the near future. For more information, click here.

What is the performance difference between standard ULP and E85?

Ethanol has a lower energy content compared to conventional petroleum, therefore more fuel needs to be used to travel the same distance. When a comparison between conventional petrol and E85 fuel blend is made, there is about 26% less energy in the E85 petrol blend, but this will vary throughout the year as the mix changes from 70% ethanol to 85% ethanol blend.

The octane rating of Caltex’s Bio E-Flex is 105 RON (Research Octane Number), but this will also vary depending on the season. This is compared with conventional unleaded petrol with a 91 RON. The benefit of a higher RON is that this will prevent engine knock but for most cars this additional octane will have little or no affect especially if your vehicle does not have the engine management technology to identify the higher octane and use it.

What is the price difference between ULP and E85?

In the case of Caltex’s new Bio E-Flex fuel, there is a difference of 20 cents per litre between normal unleaded petrol and this E85 petrol blend.

For the E85 fuel blend to remain competitive for motorists over the short and medium term, the price should reflect the fact that more E85 must be consumed to travel the same distance. As E85 has about 26% less energy than conventional petrol, this 26% lower price should be reflected at the pump.

To find out how your vehicle's fuel consumption will be affected with ethanol fuels and how much you should pay for the E85 contact an RAA Technical Advisor on 08 8202 4689.

What are the environmental gains from using E85?

E85 can provide environmental benefits by reducing the amount of traditional greenhouse gas emissions generated when compared with vehicles using normal petroleum products.

A wider perspective of ‘well-to-wheel’ emissions should be taken to determine the full environmental comparison of any fuel including E85. This takes into account factors such as source of fuel – for biofuels this should include origin and type of feedstock, displacement of other crops, production, the refining process and tailpipe emissions.

More Motoring & Road Safety Information