Difference Between Ethanol and Gasoline


Main Difference

The main difference between Ethanol and Gasoline is that Ethanol is a fuel that is composed of Ethyl alcohol molecules, whereas Gasoline is also a fuel that is composed of different hydrocarbons.

Ethanol vs. Gasoline

Ethanol can cause damage to the engine. Gasoline doesn’t cause any harm to the engine. Ethanol mainly produced from biomass of corn and sugarcane. Gasoline produced from crude oil. Ethanol is composed of an alcohol molecule (ethyl alcohol). Gasoline is composed of about 500 hydrocarbons such as ethylbenzene, heptanes, etc. Ethyl alcohol is environmentally friendly due to its complete combustion. Gasoline is less friendly because of its incomplete combustion; it produces carbon and carbon monoxide, which pollutes our environment. A gallon of ethyl alcohol can produce less energy as compared to gasoline. A gallon of gasoline can produce one-third more energy comparatively.


Ethanol is the most problematic and challenging to manage. Gasoline is easy to use with no difficulty. Ethanol is water-absorbing, and when used with gasoline, it gets separated from the gas phase and liquid phase, which can cause severe damage. Gasoline mix with ethanol that is “blend gasoline” is not good for your engines. Ethanol has renewable resources. Gasoline doesn’t have renewable resources.

Ethanol is easily available fuel, but it is harmful to our machines. Gasoline can end up in the coming several years. Ethanol efficiently produces by the fermenting process. Gasoline is challenging to produce because it produced by the distillation process. Ethanol is renewable gas. Gasoline is a non-renewable resource. Ethanol is inexhaustible. Gasoline is exhaustible. Ethanol is alcohol in nature; it also used in drinks like vodka etc. Gasoline is a pure fuel or gas. Ethanol is a 30% less powerful comparatively. Gasoline is a more powerful fuel as compared to ethanol.


Comparison Chart

Molecules of C2H5OHOrganic molecules
Less energyMore energy
Less efficientMore efficient
Comes From
Less popularMore popular
Life Span
Renewable energy sourceMay exhaust one day
Incomplete combustibleComplete combustible
Fuel Performance
Not an ideal fuelIdeal fuel

What is Ethanol?

Ethanol is also known as “ethyl alcohol.” It is the same alcohol used in vodka and other alcoholic drinks. It can also be made by fermenting corn or biomass. In refineries, ethanol used by adding some extra chemicals in it, which makes it poisonous, it is unfit for human usage. To make it possible for human consumption, it is mixed with gasoline. However, it is not a distinct method to use ethanol as a fuel.

The most critical problems in the fuel system are fuel separation and water contamination. Ethanol can attract and absorb water; it can also absorb water from the air. When the ethanol absorbs enough water, it causes contamination in the car’s tank and upset the engine performance. If a running car stops for a while, layers of water and gas get separated in the gas tank, and fuel separation occurs, and if the engine sucks the water layer from the gas tank into the engine, severe damage happens.

About 100 years ago, Henry Ford designed the first model, “the original flex-fuel vehicle,” to turn ethanol or gasoline. In the 1980s, gasoline is generally not available. Henry did his experiment because, at that time, farmers produced ethanol in excess amount, and it is very cheap also can use as a fuel in motor vehicles. Ethanol is used as an upturn fuel during World War II because gasoline strictly allocated. The exact amount of mix ethanol quantity varies from country to country. However, in some states, ethanol-free gas is available. In the United States, gasoline contains 10% ethanol.

What is Gasoline?

Gasoline is a complex mixture of different types of hydrocarbons. Gasoline used as a fuel produced one third more energy. Gasoline consists of about 500 different kinds of hydrocarbons. Gasoline made up of by making a chain of hydrocarbons. Some aromatic hydrocarbons also present in gasoline. Crude oil is the primary source of gasoline. In petroleum refineries, gasoline produced. However, fraction distillation is the major production of gasoline. On commercial scale available, gasoline is added with different additives to enhance its property; this mixture is known as “gasoline blend.”

The highest percentage of gasoline fraction comes from an aliphatic structure rather than aromatic hydrocarbons. However, gasoline is said to be carcinogenic due to the presence of benzene. Additives of gasoline include antioxidants, detergents, deactivators, diolefins, and olefins. Antioxidants are added to gasoline to prevent it from auto-oxidation. Phenylene diamines are the most commonly used as antioxidants. Metal deactivators used to avoid oxidative degradation of gasoline by metallic ions.

Detergents used to minimize the deposition of suspended particles. Gasoline has been still and perhaps will remain the fuel of choice for many years or decades. It has become a vital food for most vehicles that used today. Although many concerns that are raised by the usage of gasoline. One of the top concerns that are being raised by the usage of gasoline is its emission. They are composed of an aliphatic branched structure such as isooctane, an acyclic aliphatic structure like cyclopentane, aromatic structures such as ethylbenzene and aliphatic linear structure like heptanes.

Key Differences

  1. Ethanol is much cheaper, whereas Gasoline is not cheaper.
  2. Ethanol causes damage to the fuel system of motors; on the other hand, pure Gasoline doesn’t.
  3. Ethanol is alcohol; conversely, Gasoline is a hydrocarbon compound.
  4. Ethanol is easily available on the flip side Gasoline can be finished one day.
  5. Ethanol can be easily renewable rather than Gasoline.
  6. Ethanol is not properly combustible, while Gasoline is completely combustible.
  7. Ethanol can produce in abundant form compared to Gasoline.
  8. Ethanol is not a true source of energy. However, Gasoline is a true source of energy.
  9. Ethanol is not fit for vehicles to use as a fuel because it causes erosion in the systems of motors, and metal parts of motor cars become rusty. Plastic parts of motor cars become cracked or deformed while Gasoline is fit for vehicles.
  10. Ethanol is an alcohol, not a fuel. Although Gasoline can use as a fuel, it is not environment-friendly and can lead to the accumulation of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and other greenhouse gases and causes global warming.
  11. Ethanol causes damage to the engine, whereas Gasoline does not cause any damage to the engine and also can cause serious problems.
  12. Ethanol is just an ideal fuel additive, while Gasoline itself a perfect fuel.
  13. Rather than Ethanol, Gasoline has more fuel efficiency performance.
  14. Ethanol can cause corrosion in the motor system of the vehicle, but Gasoline can’t cause corrosion.
  15. Ethanol originated from corns field; on the other hand, Gasoline originates from fossils.
  16. Ethanol is unsung, while Gasoline is a more popular fuel.
  17. Ethanol is a source of energy on the flip side Gasoline is commercially popular for more than a century.


It concluded that Ethanol is alcohol, and Gasoline is a hydrocarbon compound.

Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss