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Fuel Facts: Biofuel

Biofuels are critical to a secure and reliable energy future for Indiana.

What is Biofuel?

Biofuels are renewable energy resources made from biomass. Biomass is carbon-based plant and animal matter, which can be converted into an energy source from agricultural products that are turned into a liquid fuel to be used for transportation. Some sources of biomass, such as wood, solid waste, and landfill gas, are used to generate electricity.

Did You Know?

  • Transportation consumes roughly 21.5% of all energy in Indiana with biofuels comprising almost 5% of that total.
  • Indiana can produce 1.2 billion gallons of ethanol per year, about 7% of the nation’s total. Over 200 gas stations in Indiana offer E85 to Hoosiers.
  • Indiana biodiesel production is more than 100 million gallons per year.

Are biofuels similar to gasoline?

In Indiana, the two most common biofuels are ethanol and biodiesel. Ethanol is an alcohol created typically from corn starches and sugars. Ethanol is then blended with gasoline. Common formulations that you’ve seen at the gas pumps are E10, E15, and E85. E10 and E15 can be used in vehicles with gasoline engines. E85 contains up to 85% ethanol and can only be used in flex-fuel vehicles. Due to its benefits, most gasoline today contains 10% ethanol.

In Indiana, biodiesel is made from soybeans, fats, and greases. Biodiesel can be used for vehicles with diesel engines or be blended with conventional diesel.

Transportation as we know it is heavily reliant on petroleum. The alternative use of local, sustainable biofuels can help provide fuel diversity, thus making Indiana’s fuel supply more secure. Home-grown here in Indiana, biofuels are dependable and add resiliency to the state’s transportation resources.

Agriculture contributes $4.4 billion to Indiana’s economy, and biofuels are an important part of that. The three main uses of corn produced in the state are food for human consumption, feed for livestock, and alcohol for fuel. Each of these uses are roughly one-third of total consumption. Indiana is also one of the nation’s leaders in biofuels. The state is the fifth-largest producer of ethanol in the United States, and the sixth-largest producer of biodiesel. Ethanol and biodiesel not used in Indiana are shipped to support other states and countries.

To learn more about Biofuels or to find an E85 station near you, check out the U.S. Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center at www.afdc.energy.gov.

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