Owners of thermal cars have been hit hard by rising fuel prices. To preserve their budget and limit expenses, many French people have chosen to turn to more economical alternatives. Acclaimed by the State, electric vehicles have taken advantage of the rise in the price of unleaded and diesel to boost their sales. For the French who cannot afford to invest in an electric car, there is an alternative, that of bioethanol or E85.
Still little known, bioethanol benefits from favorable legislation that allows it to display attractive prices at the pump. Despite a significant price increase, the mixture of agricultural ethanol and unleaded remains advantageous with a price of around €1.11/litre, compared to €0.75 last year.
In 2022, E85 superethanol saw its sales volumes increase by 83% and now represents 6.5% of the market, compared to 4% in 2021. In parallel, 85,000 converter boxes were installed in 2022, i.e. three times more than the previous year, and there are nearly 35,000 natively E85 cars. The compatible vehicle fleet would currently amount to 300,000 vehicles.
Obviously, not all cars are compatible with this fuel. E85 only works with petrol vehicles fitted with a conversion box responsible for adapting the stoichiometric ratio. Few producers offer cars equipped in this way, like Ford, which has six compatible vehicles, and more marginally Jaguar or Range Rover.
If you have a car running on SP-95 or SP-98, you will need to install a conversion box by an approved garage. This requires an investment of around €1000. A much more affordable amount than a new car, and quickly paid for by the price at the pump. It is also possible to receive certain aid, such as that of the Île-de-France region, which will reduce the bill by €500.