Converting your own car to bio-clean fuels protects the climate and saves money

You certainly don't have to drive a Ferrari or racing car to fill up with bio-clean fuel like E85. However, use in these high-performance cars is now also possible. The fuel supply on German petrol pumps has changed a lot in the past few years and sometimes seems like a real Tohuwabohu. With this article within the bioenergy campaign "10 ideas for a more intense flirtation with bioenergy“I would like to advertise 3 of these bio-clean fuels (E85, B100, biomethane). In retrospect, many bioenergy enthusiasts would have a little more education or good product marketing at the E10 introduction wanted last year.

Bio-clean fuels support climate protection in the transport sector

Biofuels are the only fuel alternative that we can already use today to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions in the transport sector and thus actively contribute to the energy transition and climate protection.

Across the entire usage chain, the emission of greenhouse gas No. 1 when using biofuels is around 30 - 50 percent lower than that of fossil colleagues. In the coming years, these values ​​will have to be even higher in accordance with the requirements of the sustainability regulation for biofuels (60% by 2018).

At this point I would like to have presented the emission values ​​of the different fuels per kilometer driven for comparison. On this complex topic, however, it is currently still very difficult to find clear information from a source that is as neutral as possible (federal ministries, ADAC, etc.). The poorly descriptive percentages therefore unfortunately have to suffice to convince them of the climate-protecting quality of bio-clean fuels.

In the medium term, the use of electric vehicles fueled with renewable electricity will certainly make a major contribution to climate protection in the transport sector. In spite of all efforts, "only" around 2020 million electric vehicles will be registered on German roads by 1, which will make up a market share of around 42 percent for 2,5 million cars. I imagine ambitious climate protection differently.

Converting to bio-fuel E85 pays for itself after just 1,5 years

Internal combustion engines are not as climate-friendly as electric drives that are operated with renewable energies. For this, combustion engines and biofuels have the charm that they are already available from car dealers or at the petrol station.
You can also save money by converting your own car to bio-clean fuels.

Especially for vehicle fleets from companies and freight forwarders, the issue of converting to bio-clean fuels can quickly pay off. According to the statements of the biogas council, the vehicle fleet of the Bundestag has meanwhile switched to the biofuel biomethane. Biomethane is a new representative among bio-clean fuels, which has so far been little known to motorists.

This shows how much money can be saved and how long it takes for the conversion of your own car to pay for the new bio fuel Amortization calculator. The calculator enables the comparison of different alternative fuels (LPG, ethanol, natural gas, vegetable oil) with petrol.

At a current price of around EUR 1,08 per liter, converting the engine to E85 pays for itself after around a year and a half. The changeover in a workshop can be done quickly and costs around 600 euros. If you invest directly in a new car that is suitable for the E85, you will of course save from the first tank filling.

A recommended website for information about bio-fuel E85 is

Mix biofuels at the gas station yourself ?!

You can protect the climate and save money even without retrofitting your car. The CO2 and euro savings are not that big in this case, but they also have less personal effort.

How is that possible?

As far as I know, some providers (e.g. Mercedes) guarantee that all their models can easily handle fuel mixes up to E20. I have already heard from several drivers among the bioenergy players that they have been mixing their ethanol content at the petrol station for years and have had no problems with it so far.

The fuel procedure looks like this:

  1. They fill the tank of their petrol engine 4/5 with E10.
  2. They signal to the gas station attendant that he will save this interim amount and reset their petrol pump to zero.
  3. They fill the rest of their tank with E85.
  4. You pay both tank quantities.
  5. You drive away with a climate-friendly tank mix between E15 and E22.

Here you will find a small exchange of experiences on Refueling bio-fuels with far higher ratios up to 50-50 blends.

I have never heard of a case in which the 80-20 tank filling caused problems, but unfortunately I cannot give guarantees for this creative tank behavior.

If you want to try out this little adventure at the petrol pump, please contact your car manufacturer or the Internet beforehand to better assess the risks for your own model. They currently save about 85 cents per liter of E40.

FlexFuel to overcome the big disadvantage of bio-fuels

What is the catch? A question that can be asked after what has been written so far. Everything sounds pretty good. I can save money and also make a small contribution to leave my children and grandchildren in a less turbulent climate. So let's go !?

It is not that simple and there is an important weak point that should not be forgotten.

The most important criticism for the conversion to biofuels is currently the low density of petrol stations that offer bio-clean fuels (B100, E85). It should therefore be taken into account that converting the engine to a bio-clean fuel unfortunately also means losses in terms of flexibility when refueling in addition to the advantages mentioned.

As a consequence of the taxation of biofuels, the number of petrol stations with a B2006 petrol pump fell from 100 nationwide to currently less than 1.900 in 200. The number of petrol stations that offer E85 is according to the information from at currently 330. On the website you will also find useful information on E85 petrol stations in your area or the costs for retrofitting your car.

Those who commute mainly between big cities, have no problems even with the relatively thin network of petrol stations that offer bio-fuels. Corresponding smartphone apps or websites also help to inform you where the nearest E85 petrol station is.

If you are considering buying a new car, you should still find out what options the manufacturer offers for a FlexFuel engine. In Brazil, FlexFuel vehicles have been used for decades in order to be able to choose flexibly between the fuels that the petrol station offers. FlexFuel engines are available as petrol or diesel variants.

Here you will find the website of the Flex-Fuel Initiative Germany.

In addition, the tax relief for bio-clean fuels should expire at the end of 2012! Bioenergy associations like the BBE are currently advocating the continuation of the Supporting bio-clean fuels and I assume that the extension can also be achieved. After all, the coalition agreement states in writing that the bio-fuel market should be revived.

Before a definite continuation of the tax relief is decided at this point, however, you should still wait to convert the car.

Conclusion on bio-fuels

Energy projects that involve larger investments and financial profit opportunities naturally also have their risks. In the past, these risks were taken away from us by central energy suppliers. In decentralized projects in the field of renewable energies, these risks are now taken over by the decentralized plant operators.

When it comes to liquid bioenergy, or refueling bio-clean fuels, these risks or inconveniences (filling station network) are not much greater than with any other car purchase. When purchasing a new car, it is therefore worth checking the bio-fuel variant. When converting, the adjustment of the tank behavior should not be underestimated.

Finally, here are the advantages that you can look forward to when refueling bio-clean fuels:

  • You save money
  • They protect the climate
  • They strengthen bioenergy and help to shift the value chains of energy supply more to the regions of Germany

What experience have you had with bio-fuels? What reasons do you have for not converting your car to bio-clean fuels?

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