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By Russ Finley on Sep 3, 2014 with 329 responses

Why Ethanol Free Gas is More Popular than E85

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Sign at a gas station that sells only ethanol free gasoline

Sam Avro, Energy Trends Insider editor, recently received an inquiry from a reader about the popularity of ethanol free gasoline in the Midwest. Coincidentally, I recently visited Indianapolis and had noticed a large billboard advertising ethanol free gasoline.

I thought I’d share what I found. Much to my surprise, there are about 8,000 gas stations offering ethanol free gasoline and only about 1,200 offering  E85 (85 percent ethanol). There are about ten million flex fuel cars on the road designed to burn E85. Assuming a cost of about $100 per car to make it flex fuel, and assuming that about 10% of flex fuel cars actually use E85, this would mean that consumers have paid about nine billion dollars for nothing.


Why is ethanol-free gasoline so much more popular than E85? I poked around in comment fields to come up with a short list of reasons, some rational, some not so much.

  1. Many consumers realize that E85 reduces gas mileage, but this is largely irrelevant when E85 is cheap enough to make up the difference. Maybe people don’t want to bother running the numbers every time they use E85 to figure out if  it’s cheaper or maybe they don’t want to visit gas stations thirty percent more often.
  2. Others fear that gasoline with ten percent ethanol might harm their car. This is a rational concern only for owners of older cars.
  3. Some consumers don’t want to use gasoline with corn ethanol for ethical reasons. Using food stock to produce car fuel increases the cost of basic food staples like corn meal and eggs, which impacts the poorest of the world far more than it does the richest.
  4.  Still others don’t want corn ethanol in their fuel because of its negative environmental impact. When farmers plant corn instead of some other crop it causes a dominoe effect where farmers in other parts of the world create farmland to plant the crops replaced by corn. Many thousands of acres of wildlife habitat (conservation reserve land) has been converted back into corn  fields as farmers understandably use unproductive land to capitalize on the record breaking high price of corn thanks to government mandated consumption of corn ethanol creating a demand that continues to exceed supply (thus the tripling in the price of corn).
  5.  Yet others buy ethanol free gasoline as a way to protest government mandated consumption of what they believe is an inferior product.

Although I am unaware of any environmental organization that supports corn ethanol, some states have made it illegal to sell ethanol free gasoline. Go figure.

As part of writing this article, I discovered that there are two gas stations serving ethanol free gasoline within a few miles of where I live. If I didn’t drive an electric car, I might be buying ethanol free gasoline, for some rational reasons and maybe a few not so rational ones.

  1. By CharliePeters on September 4, 2014 at 7:39 am

    GMO fuel ethanol affect the beef oe water

    I’m confused, that a graph of ethanol used in our gas and the price we pay for fuel sure paints an interesting picture.

    An op-ed from May 1, 2002 warned the legislation requiring ethanol might create an additional 10% increase in price.

    An internet search indicated California fuel ethanol use was very minor and with a pump price of about $1.37 per gallon of regular CA CARB fuel.

    Fed EPA told CARB’s board Chair to use 5.6% and the fuel price went up.

    More time passed and Arnold crew went for 10% and the price goes up.

    We now are at 10% and considering 15% and the price has went from about $1.37 to $3.50.

    The California Government regulators say we use about 14billion gallons of fuel per year.

    So if the price has changed over $2.– in a decade the ethanol laced fuel price increase may be about $40Billion per year. Is it time for Governor Brown to request a waiver from EPA?

    Does California use 1500 gallons of water to grow corn to produce 1 gallon of GMO corn fuel ethanol? Does California water providers check for ethanol in the supply water for public consumption? Should California request a waiver of the “Wallet Flushing” ethanol mandate so fuel ethanol ozone is in federal EPA compliance?

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    • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 9:45 am

      Ethanol processors are salivating over CA low carbon fuel requirements and cost premiums. Ethanol has decreased it’s carbon rating by 50% since the last evaluation and just short of CA market. They can enter the market with utilization of bio-digestor hardware. Your fuels costs mostly dependent upon regulations.

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  2. By Robert Frye on September 4, 2014 at 9:40 am

    Which fuel grade will a flex fuel vehicle owner select at this pump….and why?
    How is this person making the proper decision based on the most cost effective selection of BTUs to get the maximum mileage at the lowest cost?

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    • By Alex Johnson on September 4, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Well if they’re that concerned they can run the numbers themselves. I kept track of my mileage across several blends and now know I can run E30 in my car and get the same mileage as when I run E10. Over the summer it saves me between $0.20 and $0.30 per gallon at the pump and $0.15 to $0.20 during the winter. If the price of E85 drops to at least $1.00 less than E10 than I use that since the price per mile justifies it, but my usual go to is E30.

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      • By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 9:49 am

        Alex,
        May I please ask the make and model of the vehicle you drive?
        Respectfully -rdf

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        • By Alex Johnson on September 5, 2014 at 3:06 pm

          Yeah its a 2009 Dodge Avenger. Its a 4 cylinder and non-flex fuel. I bought it brand new and have experimented with several different blends while I’ve had it but predominantly I’ve been running E30 in it. I just passed 110,000 miles with it with no problems.

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    • By Russ Finley on September 5, 2014 at 12:04 am

      Great photo ….

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    • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 9:38 am

      Your concerned of consumers having choice? Good luck with that. Every study points to consumers using more ethanol if given access, choice, and cost benefits. Gas stations with these types of pumps have experience with increasing customers. These pumps drive sales. Additional benefit to motoring public the pumps encourage competition. How? Ethanol processors are more competitive staying out of the petrol supply chain as these folks set the price and control the supply. If the ethanol processors can transport their product directly to retail, we achieve maximum separation of competitive forces. The pump blends fuel content of ethanol per customer desires.

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  3. By Robert White on September 4, 2014 at 11:07 am

    I am not sure why it is surprising that a fuel that can be used in 243 million vehicles, all motorcycles, and all small engines (on and off road) would have more spots to fill than a fuel that can be used in 16.5 million vehicles. Seems pretty simple, but since it deserved an article, let’s correct a few other things.

    What states don’t allow the sale of E0? Even states like Missouri, which has a mandate, also allows E0. Minnesota is the same.

    There is no additional cost for a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) for the consumer. Hasn’t been in the 16 model years they have been produced.

    E85 does not have a 30% fuel economy penalty. If you have used it, you would know this to be true. Most are seeing between 10-20% today, and some FFVs are now below the 10% mark. Ethanol is selling for roughly $1/gal less than gasoline for fuel blenders, definitely a nice discount for users of E85.

    If they fear E10, they should read their owner’s manual. Every automaker since 1981 has endorsed and warranted the use of E10 in their vehicles. Believe the people that manufactured your vehicle, not someone that blogs.

    The market price of corn has returned to below production cost (simple research to do before writing an article). If the whole food for fuel argument still has any belief, there should not be an issue this year for anyone. Simple economics, when there is not a market, prices go down. There will be plenty of corn going to waste this year, or much being sold at a loss.

    There is less corn acres planted today that in the early 1930′s. There is only more conservation land being planted today because the conservation programs were cut by Congress. Farmers have to adapt and find a way to make a living, but they have done with all crops, not just corn.

    For those that want to pay more for imported products, I am glad they have a choice. Ethanol has helped lower their price of fuel, whether they use it or not. Ethanol has also provided billions in tax revenue, countless jobs and helped many in rural America return to their hometowns, or simply survive.

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    • By Alex Johnson on September 4, 2014 at 5:32 pm

      I have to agree with Robert here. Many of these fears and just regurgitated from old talking points against renewable fuels. The price of corn in our area dropped to $2.94 a bushel today. For the uninformed a bushel of corn is 56 lbs. So thats less than $3 for 56 lbs of material. I don’t know if you can even buy sand that cheap.

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      • By Dotherightthing on September 5, 2014 at 12:22 am

        Alex when farmers over produce and lose market for their product this is what happens. How much corn is produced today verses 2007? This program totally lives on the mandate and delivers very few benefits if any to the consumer. The idea behind this program was to replace foreign oil, with people in Iowa trying to stop the pipeline through Iowa to refineries in Illinois isn’t there something wrong with that picture? The reason E85 is not popular is simple. Go to fueleconomy.gov and compare cost to use E85 verses gasoline almost always 20-30% to use. Almost everything the corn lobby uses to promote corn ethanol is false. E10 cost the consumer more also but it’s easier to hide.

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        • By Alex Johnson on September 5, 2014 at 3:03 pm

          I know this is what happens when the farmers overproduce but that was part of the reason so many farmers invested in these plants in the first place. We can make the fuel cheaper here with abundant renewable resources so why not? If that also reduces the amount of oil we use, great! But to try to say the corn lobby is the only side using shady tactics is pretty bold. I’m pretty sure every lobbying group sits right on that line between ok and shady. What I don’t understand is how E10 is costing the consumer. The slight mpg loss is usually offset by the fact that its 10 cents cheaper per gallon. Ethanol hasn’t received any subsidies since 2011 so its not taxpayer funded. Its not replacing food producing land because in the midwest we’ve never grown anything except corn, soybeans, and wheat. So how is it hurting anyone? If anything its helping so we have less of a reason to send our troops to protect foreign governments oil assets.

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          • By Danceswithdachshunds on January 10, 2015 at 12:21 pm

            Why not? Because bio-fuel is evil. Rich countries can afford to use crop lands to grow food for their machines and the result is buying the food right out of the mouths of starving third world children. European companies are subcontracting African farmers to grow bio-fuel crops so that simply reduces the amount of food available in Africa. While few African farmers are getting rich by growing bio-fuel instead of food, poor families who were already spending nearly 100% of their income to feed themselves are now faced with letting their youngest children starve to have enough to keep their older ones fed who can then help work to add to the family income. … and THAT’S why I call it EVIL!

            Read Oxfam’s article: “Europe’s thirst for biofuels spells hunger for millions”

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            • By Alex Johnson on January 22, 2015 at 10:32 am

              Europes bigger issue is that it’s so against GMO grains it has convinced Africa not to use them either. That keeps African farmers from using the best product available so their yields are lower. As for taking food out of peoples mouths thats not the issue at all. There is more than enough food in the world to feed every hungry mouth, the problem is more logistical than anything. If you look at any foods produced the actual food itself it cheap, its shipping it around that costs money. So here is another case where its not the biofuel that is causing the issue, its the costs of shipping all those calories around the world.

              Also, where in Africa are they growing biofuels instead of food? I’ve heard of some sugarcane being turned into ethanol but thats it. And thats because they have a huge sugar surplus.

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            • By Danceswithdachshunds on January 22, 2015 at 4:31 pm

              “the actual food itself it cheap” That simply is false in the third world! The rice grown in the next town away that you have to travel to buy and carry back by donkey costs nearly everything you earn to feed to your family. “Cheap” is VERY relative term! The cost of food in industrialized countries is under 10% of income. The average Indian household earns $10 a DAY so two McD’s meals costs a whole day’s income with NOTHING to feed the children. … and that’s for the AVERAGE income!

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            • By Alex Johnson on January 23, 2015 at 12:46 pm

              But they’re not trying to buy McDonalds. They’re buying rice and other staples. Are you saying we should be growing more rice? I don’t get how biofuels are hindering the growth of rice since thats grown in very warm areas with excess water, not exactly ideal for corn ethanol. While it may be true that they’re spending 100% of their income on food, thats more of an economics issue than a biofuels issue. The food is still cheap, they’re simply too poor to afford it. Thats a different issue. No matter what the end crop is being used for it has to be sold at a profit to the grower so making food much cheaper is next to impossible without putting the farmer out of business to the bigger solution is more economic development in poverty stricken areas. This is also hard because those areas often lack the infrastructure needed to support jobs.

              Africa and other third world countries need to worry about improving their own farming techniques before anything else. This article talks about how the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation predicts that Africa will be feeding itself in the next 15 years at the rate they’re improving. http://www.iflscience.com/environment/yes-africa-will-feed-itself-within-next-15-years

              One graph to pay particular attention to is the yield gap between corn grown in the US vs Africa. They’re stuck achieving the yields American farmers produced back in the late 1880′s. Better hybridization and GMO’s brought our yields to where they are today so if we’re really concerned with feeding people in Africa, and other impoverished areas, the effort should be put into teaching them better farming and getting them better seed, not stopping biofuels.

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            • By Danceswithdachshunds on January 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm

              “I don’t get how biofuels are hindering the growth of rice” That was a comparison from INDIA purely for price as a % of income. I don’t know what they are growing in Africa for food but bio-fuel is overtaking food crops because Europeans will pay African farmers much more for biofuel crops for European cars than Africans can pay for them to grow food crops for Africans.

              Gates is full of bovine dung. That article is about “hope” for the FUTURE which does nothing for those starving NOW – http://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2012-09-17/europes-thirst-biofuels-spells-hunger-millions-food-prices-shoot

              And the Gates and other climate alarmist screw balls are behind limiting the third world from using fossil fuels to MECHANIZE farming and produce fertilizers.

              So you leave out that part of it – “Better hybridization and GMO’s brought our yields to where they are today” That’s isn’t true. Mechanization and fertilizer brought the greatest improvements since the mid 1800′s in the US – NOT GMO’s. Without exploiting their own natural energy resources like we do they will NEVER achieve our yield levels – GMO’s aren’t going to improve yields much without fertilizer and machines.

              “The food is still cheap, they’re simply too poor to afford it.” What an elitist you are! It used to be affordable and now it is NOT! Before biofuel market pressure they could afford the food and now with biofuel market pressure they cannot! It’s that simple – read the damn Oxfam article and face reality. Biofuel should be BANNED because it is evil using food to feed to machines. Even if CO2 actually had any significant affect on earth’s temperature, biofuel does virtually NOTHING to lower net CO2 because of the energy used to make the biofuel. On top of that is the extra land needed to grow the biofuel crops that is far LESS of a sink to CO2 than the forest cut down for the extra farming acreage.

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            • By Alex Johnson on January 23, 2015 at 4:33 pm

              I’ve read your article, you realize it around 2.5 years old now right? Not saying world hunger was solved in that timeframe, but food prices have changed a lot. And it had nothing to do with biofuels, there are actually more in use today than there were in 2012. Its because 1)Oil prices are down, so fertilizer is cheaper to make, and food is cheaper to ship. 2) There was huge ramp up in prices due to droughts throughout the world, one even hit the US the next year, so there were lower total levels of grain. Grain is super cheap right now. Has the hunger problem been solved? No. Just so you have an idea of how cheap grain is, I can buy 56 lbs of corn (1 bushel) for $4. So thats 7 CENTS per pound. A bushel of wheat is only $5.70, making it 9.5 CENTS per pound. Thats fractions of a dollar for a full pound of the raw grain. How cheap would you like it to be? I’d really like to know what else you can get a full pound of for less than a dime. You could go to the local convenience store, take the change from the “take a penny” jar and buy yourself a couple of pound of food and ship it over to whatever third world country you choose. Then you could be a wealthy elitist too! The fact is the food is cheap. Deal with it. And its abundant. We just got done with one of the biggest grain harvests in history. The real issue is that we can’t ship it over there cost effectively.

              You realize that in the same sentence you admit that you have no idea what they’re growing over there, but you’re sure that they’re eliminating food crops for biofuels? How can that be? And even if that is the case, thats actually a GOOD thing. If farmers are paid MORE for their crop, they’ll grow MORE of it. That eventually leads to a surplus, which brings local prices down. That how farming in America got to where it is today. We were all subsistance farmers just 200 years ago, but we got better and made a surplus. That meant less people had to farm and food got cheaper. Today we’re the best in the world at it.

              If you believe mechanization is the reason for higher grain yields please explain why they continue to rise? While the equipment may be getting bigger the actual equipment function has not changed in 50 years. On our small farm we continue to use tractors from the late 1970′s, a combine from the early 1990′s, and our tillage equipment is a mix of years, but essentially unchanged from when my Great-Great Grandpa handed the farm over in the 1970′s. So why are we getting another 50 bushels per acre in yields than we were in 1990? Its not the equipment, its better seed traits. Yes, third world farmers would benefit from mechanization, but not as much as you’re trying to say they would.

              As for your last comments, are you trying to say there was no hunger in the world before biofuels? Cause thats probably the biggest lie I’ve read yet. There has always been a hunger problem, especially in IMPOVERISHED areas. There is plenty of food, just no good way to move it all around. Focus on that, not the biofuels. You’ll go a lot farther in solving the problem of hunger.

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            • By Russ Finley on January 23, 2015 at 11:48 pm

              Danceswithdachshunds (some of these monikers are hard to use with a straight face) may be overemphasizing biofuel’s impact on food prices and has a number of other things wrong but you are minimizing their impact and also have a few things wrong. Like everything, it’s a matter of degree. The impact on food prices is largely a function of how much biofuel we use. Scaling up biofuel use will increase its impact. Try to argue that converting all grain into fuel would have no impact. Somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of our corn is converted into fuel.

              I’d really like to know what else you can get a full pound of for less than a dime.

              A pound of crude oil right now will cost you about16 cents. It’s getting there. You are trying to make your corn look cheap but cheap is relative. Chicken farmers are not happy with your corn lobby.

              Grain is super cheap right now.

              Only relative to record high prices caused by mandated corn ethanol consumption. The graph at the end of this comment shows that even at $4 a bushel, your corn is about 200 percent more expensive than the ten year average before biofuel mandates kicked in. The drop from $6 to $4 dollars reflects a supply/demand imbalance where the artificially mandated demand for corn ethanol is slipping because of low oil prices.

              You could go to the local convenience store, take the change from the “take a penny” jar and buy yourself a couple of pound of food and ship it over to whatever third world country you choose

              Actually not. Those prices you quote are wholesale. By the time it is shipped and sold at retail prices, it will cost considerably more.

              …but you’re sure that they’re eliminating food crops for biofuels? How can that be?

              How can that not be? If you grow a crop for fuel, you are not growing a crop for food.

              And even if that is the case, thats actually a GOOD thing. If farmers are paid MORE for their crop, they’ll grow MORE of it.

              As a corn farmer, you are largely a biofuel farmer. You seriously expect an African subsistence farmer to compete with a first world mechanized farmer who is subsidized by his government by mandating that all 300 million cars must burn 10% of his biofuel product? Not going to happen. What is happening are land grabs by companies, converting a small percentage of subsistence farmers into farm hands.

              I could go on but I think I’ve made the point that biofuels can’t scale and that they don’t help with the struggle against malnutrition for the poorest, who, if they joined hands would wrap around the planet about 30 times.

              http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/CornPrices.jpg

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            • By Forrest on January 24, 2015 at 7:03 am

              My understanding of farm economics and food supply is completely opposite your post. It’s not that simplistic, but to distill thoughts into generalities for brevity; cost of money and cost of Oil or energy is the primary driver of food costs. Followed by packaging materials, distribution costs, land costs, and taxes. Lack of land isn’t even on the list. For example with money, education, and technology farmers have proved profitable farms of one acre. Utilization of hydroponics, chickens, fish pond, grow tunnels, hoop house, etc, and food storage most could grow their own food needs in back yard and be a lot healthier and wealthier in doing so. Some small commercial farms have utilized grow boxes on bare soil and grow suburb succulent produce and berries. Third world countries starve because of lack of honest citizenry and corrupt government employees. This is why Christian countries have such an advantage. A big point is ability of farmer to educate and finance their business. Supporting infrastructure is needed as well. This takes money or profit. Same with overall economy of country to benefit from lower cost of energy with domestic job growth and lower import cost. We should not be dumping cheap grain on poor countries. We should either buy expensive grain from them or facilitate construction of local biofuel facility to increase wealth of local agriculture, but this would be a poor investment if corrupt government is in control. At that point, better to choke off corruption per bullets or financial sanctions to hurt the bad guys. Stop buying illegal drugs always good. Supporting missionary activities also very helpful for countries future.

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            • By Alex Johnson on January 27, 2015 at 11:10 am

              I may be oversimplifying things but my point is the same. I agree its a matter of degree, but I also believe that our ability to produce more grain is only limited by the relatively low prices (when compared to historical trends). But due to dramatic under utilization of land in the rest of the world there is a lot of room for other nations to increase their production as well. Also, your number for the amount of corn thats converted to fuel is overstated. Yes, 30-40% is purchased, but only the starch is used. 1/3 of that goes back out as a feed product. That feed product (DDGS) is cheaper per pound of protein than the corn was originally so that actually makes feed rations cheaper for livestock producers.

              Yeah, crude oil is getting cheaper, but you’d have to cut its price in half to match the affordability of grain. And thats for a product that is edible right out of the field (for wheat that is, I wouldn’t eat field corn raw, kind of chalky). Yeah chicken, pork, and beef producers blame ethanol for their high prices. But the exploding pork industry in China has a larger weight on the market than ethanol producers. The price of corn was dropping this fall, even while ethanol was being produced at record paces. Once China dropped their trade ban on American corn the prices rebounded. Yes, ethanol has an impact, but China makes the market respond.

              I continue to maintain that grain is cheap. Even the “high” grain prices from just a couple of years ago are only high in relation to historical lows. The graph you shared is a very small section of a much larger graph which I have shared below. You’ll see that even recent high’s aren’t that high when compared to the 1970′s. And thats not just corn, thats wheat and soybeans as well. Modern farming practices have driven grains to the lowest prices in history. I don’t know how else to say it. Also, the slip from $6 to $4 is because of a record corn crop and one of the largest projected carryovers in recent history. The drought and high prices cause a lot of producers to go all out to grow as much as they could. The market response is a drop in prices. The drop in oil prices came later. Thats why ethanol companies were so profitable this fall. Abundant, cheap corn, and high gas made for good margins.

              My “take a penny” example was a little muddy. I was implying you could go to the closest elevator and buy it for that. Which you can. I was talking about the raw grain, not a finished product. Yes a marketed product has more cost. But not raw grain.

              Farmers are able to grow crops for both. As I mentioned above, African farmland is drastically underutilized. If a grower is getting paid to make a commercial product they’ll grow more to try to make more. Thereby making them able to engage in subsistance and commercial farming. This is the point American farmers transitioned through in the 1910′s. If you were only able to do one or the other 90% of the US would still have to be on the farm.

              For starters, since 75% of corn still goes to the feed market, no you’re not “primarily a biofuel farmer”. Thats like saying an oil refiner is “primarily a jet fuel (10%) and asphalt (3%) producer”.

              To say biofuels can’t scale very far is pretty simplified statement itself don’t you think? Kind of depends on what you’re looking at. Brazil would tend to disagree with their sugarcane. Corn has taken the American market to 10% saturation. Is there any other alternative fuel that is even close to that point? Cellulosic plants are being built left and right now. Biodiesel has a pretty fair marketshare itself. For products and processes that really only started reaching maturity in the last 5-10 years that sure looks scaleable to me.

              Your last point is the one that bugs me the most. That is the completely wrong way to look at the issue of malnutrition. It is not American farmers jobs to take a loss to feed the world. Grains are the cheapest they’ve ever been, when adjusted for inflation. So its not an issue of availability or biofuels. Look at the location of the malnourished. They’re in areas that aren’t producing enough food because they’re using seed technology from a century ago. American farmers surpassed those yields in the early 1910′s using horse drawn plows and hand picking fields because they discovered hybrid seeds. Not openly pollinated crops.

              Finally, here is the graph I spoke of earlier, its from the USDA and it shows the price of corn, soybeans, and wheat over time while adjusting for inflation. My great-grandpa used to tell me about when gas was a dime for a gallon. It wasn’t until I understood inflation that I realized that wasn’t really that great of a deal.

              http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1188945/commodity_fig15.png&width=450

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            • By Forrest on January 27, 2015 at 4:33 pm

              RF makes a classic economic analysis mistake often made by the Left, in which they utilize a closed constrained system. So, when Russ comments “If you grow a crop for fuel, you are not growing a crop for food”. Everything in static mode, no dynamic understanding or flexibility. It’s like implying buying a car will starve the children as they have no money in the bank currently. The analysis might be correct for the current minute, but one could venture the car would open the door to larger pool of job offers, decreased grocery bills, lower cost transportation, and motivated citizen to hunker down and get it done with increased income. In general the more income directed to the agriculture the more empowering and capable the trade becomes. All supporting business infrastructure will take a step forward to assist the art of growing things. The problem with starving third world countries is lack of law, stability, supporting infrastructure, and ability. Most of this could be set on the natural path of improvement if profit and income drifted to these farmers. Biofuel has such ability to inject some income within this trade and kick start the poor farmers to path of gradual improvement.

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            • By Russ Finley on January 29, 2015 at 1:46 am

              I responded in the following link:http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2014/09/03/why-ethanol-free-gas-is-more-popular-than-e85/#comment-1823029175 which puts the discussion at the top should anyone without a life wont to follow it ; )

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            • By Alex Johnson on February 3, 2015 at 3:59 pm

              “So…
              if corn was a billion dollars a bushel you would produce a billion times more
              corn with no negative environmental impact?”

              oh fun, we’re going to start with extreme hyperbole. Yeah if corn were a
              billion dollars a bushel I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t use it for anything
              anymore so there would be no environmental impact. So maybe thats the real
              answer! Tax it out of use. Then no one can complain!

              “With our population slated to increase roughly 40% from 7 something
              billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if they don’t
              increase their production.”

              Exactly, which is why I have argued its important to get better seed technology
              to developing nations.

              “By your own admission …”chicken, pork, and beef producers blame
              ethanol for their high prices.” If corn ethanol really lowers costs for
              livestock farmers, then livestock producers would not be against corn ethanol.”

              They blame ethanol because they want a scapegoat. Look at this link from
              extension.org talking about how much corn it takes to finish out a steer for
              slaughter. Using his assumptions you get to 4.67 lbs of corn for every pound of
              meat produced at market. So using $4.00 corn, thats $0.33 of the cost of a
              pound of beef. Poultry and swine are even more efficient because they’re raised
              in confinement barns. So your most expensive feed product accounts for 0.06% of
              the $5.98 I can buy 93% lean ground beef for at the store. One thing you need
              to learn about farmers is that they all like to complain. Its in our DNA.

              “Assuming that may be true, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight,
              they are additive. One of the two would not exist without politicians buying
              votes from the farm belt by raiding the public larder”

              Yes I agree they’re additive, but just as you don’t think its the governments
              job to mandate fuels, I could argue its not our job to export corn to China.
              Personally, I’d rather use less foreign oil by utilizing more ethanol than
              worry bout feeding China’s pork addiction.

              “Nice try but we produced less ethanol in 2014 than we did in 2013.
              Source:http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/mo…”

              Well “nice try” on your part. Take another look at that chart, the
              monthly chart doesn’t include December in the 2014 totals. If you look at this
              weekly chart from the same source, which does have the December numbers, you’ll
              see that 2014 outproduce 2013, with December actually being the most productive
              month. http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/weekly-ethanol-feed-production

              “Again, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight, they are both
              significant and additive. Reduce the demand for corn by 30% by removing
              mandated corn ethanol consumption and most ethanol refineries would go bust and
              corn prices would drop to where they belong. Not good for small farmers who
              would be bought out by larger farmers, but good for the consumer in general,
              which is what free markets are all about. Small bookstores are almost non-existent
              quite simply because don’t have a lobby as powerful as yours.”

              Again its a matter of opinion which is the one we shouldn’t be doing. And no,
              farmers wouldn’t go bust. They’d cut back. It actually happens to us quite
              often where the price goes from record highs to below production costs one year
              to the next. We survive. My family has been farming in the same area since the
              mid 1800′s and its actually the really big guys, who over extend themselves
              during the good times that hurt more than the little guy. Usually the little
              guy, like us, has all their land and machinery paid off so our cost of
              production is actually lower than that of the big guy. As my grandpa said, you
              can farm 500 acres well, and make more money than the guy who farms 1000 acres
              poorly. And when the big guys go bankrupt the little guy gets to upgrade their
              equipment on the farm auction. And out of those ashes, some little guy will
              mortgage the farm, think they have it all figured out, and try to be a big guy.
              And when grain prices crash again the cycle repeats itself.

              “I maintain that water heaters are cheap. Should we find a way to make
              them more expensive to help water heater manufacturers?”

              Well here you’re mixing commodity and retail. Water heater manufactures have
              complete control over their prices. Farmers end price is dictated by a bunch of
              suits in Chicago who like to change the price everytime it rains. As JFK once
              said “For the farmer, is the only man in our economy who has to buy
              everything he buys at retail – sell everything he sells at wholesale – and pay
              the freight both ways.” Now you could argue the same is true for oil or
              nat gas producers, but there is one big difference. Farmers plan all their
              marketing a year in advance. We try to predict each February or March, while
              there is still snow on the ground, what the growing season and prices will be
              like come September and October. Yes you can sell some of your crop on futures
              to get good prices but not very much of if because you have no way of knowing
              what your yield is going to be until you’re in the field combining. Oil and gas
              producers can dial back or increase production on the fly as prices fluctuate.

              “True but irrelevant. In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer
              is king, The producer, be it water heater manufactures or corn farmers must bow
              to the consumer or you eventually would end up like the former Soviet
              Union.”

              I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Again you’re mixing retail and
              commodities. My point was that the “grain is expensive” is not true.
              Its only true when looking back and not taking past prices in context. The
              historical lows I was pointing out were right before the drought. And even
              during the drought, these high prices are only high when compared to the
              previous year.

              “Fair enough but the point is that corn ethanol has doubled and tripled
              the price of corn relative to what it would have been without politicians
              creating mandated consumption to raid the public larger to buy votes from the
              farm belt. You should not feel guilty about that. If I were a corn farmer I
              would just accept it as a fact of political life. No need to create an
              alternate reality for guilt relief. My wife is a physician. Her wage is high
              because of lobbying from a powerful interest group that restricts the supply of
              physicians. My oldest daughter is in medical school to capitalize on that high
              wage. I’m not inclined to create an alternate reality to justify physician
              wages.”

              You’re making quite a few assumptions there. Before ethanol plants began to pop
              up the government was paying out billions of dollars a year in LDP payments.
              This was an adjustment paid to farmers to keep them afloat. Yes, ethanol has
              helped create demand, but when put in historical context its still the cheapest
              its ever been (see my chart from my previous post). Now the government doesn’t
              pay out those billions of dollars and corn is kept above the price of
              production by market forces. Does the ethanol mandate help? Yes, but some
              ethanol would be needed anyway to cover the oxygenate requirements for
              gasoline. I honestly believe if the EPA would approve a full range of blends,
              like Brazil, and the car manufactures would admit that every car they’ve made
              since 1991 is E85 compatible, which they are, the mandate wouldn’t be needed at
              all. But the reason that doesn’t happen is that even with as powerful as you
              think our corn lobby is, the oil lobby is bigger, has more money, and more
              friends in D.C.

              “Wheat and soy price increase percentages pale in comparison to corn after
              2005 biofuel legislation.”

              Did you even look at the chart I had added the link to? Here it is again.
              http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1188945/commodity_fig15.png&width=450
              If you look closely you’ll see that when ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION that wheat and
              soybean prices directly track that of corn. If you look at the chart corn is on
              the bottom, wheat is the middle, and soybeans are on top. Thats the official
              price adjusted for inflation by the USDA. So no it doesn’t pale, they have all
              kept pace with each other very well. That might not be the better story, but
              its the truth, and that chart shows it.

              “Such is the way of markets, but that was before the corn ethanol
              mandates. Water heaters and refrigerators and computers and on and on have all
              also been driven to the lowest prices in history by market competition. Note
              that they are not in need of government mandated consumption. The problem for
              consumers (and the godsend for corn farmers) is the spike in prices relative to
              what they would have been as a result of government mandated ethanol
              consumption.”

              Again, you’re comparing retail and commodities. The prices of those other
              things dropping has to do with improving technology, automated manufacturing,
              and wholesale stores. Corn has been driven down by better technology but also
              greater efficiency in fertilizer use, better genetics, and the resulting higher
              yields per acre. Look again at that chart and show me where the spike from the
              ethanol mandate is at. I see spikes due to bad weather years, and a general
              trend upwards for all three commodities. Yes, ethanol plays a part in that
              demand, but so does the developing worlds demand for protein.

              “Your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always overproduced
              themselves into poverty. If water heater makers produced far more than demand
              they too would overproduce themselves into poverty. Government assistance is
              keeping small farmers in America afloat. It’s harsh, but it’s reality”

              Whats inconsistent about it? Farmers ramp production up and down, demand swings
              with it. Again your water heater comparison is off because they would slow
              production just like any other manufacturer. As I said farmers are guessing
              what will be needed for the next year during the middle of winter cause you
              have to have everything ready to go once the ground thaws. And again, I would
              argue, its not the small guys that need help as much as the big ones.

              “Again, your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always
              overproduced themselves into poverty. The high prices were in large part due to
              mandated ethanol consumption. Reduce demand for corn by 30% by eliminating
              mandated consumption and watch what happens to the price of corn.”

              I think the real issue with your understanding of this is the context. You do
              realize we had a massive drought right? During that time corn was expensive so
              ethanol plants actually slowed down production. The next year was a better
              growing season, so now there is an abundance of corn and prices are lower. Like
              I said above your RFA graph was off, so take another look at it and explain how
              higher ethanol production lead to lower grain prices. I’d love to hear that
              explanation.

              “The above sentence is accurate. High gas prices slowed gas demand and
              therefore ethanol demand, which decreased the demand for corn, which lowered
              corn prices, which makes for higher ethanol profits …because its consumption
              is mandated by government fiat. With today’s low oil prices you can expect
              greater oil consumption, and thanks to mandated ethanol consumption, you will
              get greater ethanol consumption, which is a good example of how government
              meddling in markets can hose consumers so badly to favor a given lobby.”

              Your order of events are off. Take another look at that weekly ethanol
              production link I shared above. Ethanol demand ramped up all fall because corn
              was cheap. Corn dropping September, right before harvest, because the suits in
              Chicago got market reports that it was going to be a record harvest (it was).
              So the actual order of things was corn prices dropped, for months, then oil
              dropped, because Saudi Arabia, and now recently ethanol has dropped because
              there was a glut of production. It has now leveled off again. There was
              actually a time in December where ethanol was more expensive than gasoline,
              that was because of how fast oil dropped and how much the export market was
              booming for ethanol. India bought a lot of ethanol over the last couple of
              months.

              “… that’s why I called you on what you originally said.”

              And thats why I decided to explain it so you could understand that you’re not
              talking about what you think you’re talking about. When we send grain to
              foreign markets its not a “finished product”. Its still raw grain,
              priced the same as it is at the local elevator. Thats why my argument was that
              you can buy all the grain you want, its the transportation that actually adds
              the cost. So its not “high grain prices” that are starving people in
              Africa (this is where my take a penny analogy comes in ) its the cost to get
              the grain there.

              “You should thank your lucky stars that they don’t become as efficient as
              an American farmer or even our government won’t be able to protect your way of
              life. You have a valid point in that if third world farmers became as efficient
              as American farmers, they would produce a great deal more, but you, as a farmer
              know that leads to even lower prices due to supply/demand imbalances. And let’
              not ignore the fact that our population is slated to increase roughly 40% from
              7 something billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if
              they don’t increase their production.”

              ha, I don’t think the government is doing a whole lot to protect our way of
              life. And honestly, as those countries get better at ag, more demand for
              protein will ensue there as well. Every civilization in history has increased
              its demand for animal protein as it develops. So as these developing countries
              come into their own they’ll soak up their own production as fast as they make
              it. I’d be much more worried about where you’re going to put all the people
              than I am where you’re going to find the food.

              “…and they would still be poor. The days of the small farmer in America
              may be limited, sans further government support. That’s the way of
              markets.”

              And again I’ll say the small farmer isn’t going anywhere. Big farmers have to
              come from somewhere.

              “It’s a cardinal sin to misquote your debate partner when the debate is
              recorded in writing. I didn’t say you are “primarily a biofuel
              farmer”. Feel free to quote what I really said.”

              Ok, well I’ll do just that then here is your actual quote. “As a corn
              farmer, you are largely a biofuel farmer.” That was pulled directly from
              your reply. So yeah, I said “primarily” instead of
              “largely” but I would say they’re about the same in this context. If
              thats not what you meant, please enlighten me. I would say we’re
              “largely” feed producers. See, it means the same thing. The other
              cardinal sin of debating in writing is getting too high on your own horse to
              argue one word difference that doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence at
              all. It just shows that you have no argument for my rebuttal. So even quoting
              what you really said, we’re still LARGELY feed producers.

              “I’m just passing on the conclusions of just about every published science
              study I’ve read on the topic, so no , not so simplified. Biofuels are quite
              environmentally destructive, in addition to competing for land for food and
              biodiversity.”

              Check the authors of those studies. I would venture a guess that the authors
              last names were Pimmentel and Searchinger. They’re about the only two authors
              I’ve read the continue to argue against biofuels. Every other study done by
              academics show that biofuels are not destructive, and the most recent ones show
              that ILUC is wrong so land for food procution isn’t affected. And it never will
              be, profit margins for producing food products is much higher than that of corn
              and soybeans. Its a lot more work, but much more profitable.

              “Cane will produce roughly 8 times more ethanol per acre than corn.”

              Doesn’t change the facts of my statement. Biofuels have scaled very well in
              Brazil. Both corn and cane ethanol are energy positive,and both are done at a
              very large scale. The fact that cane may be better at it doesn’t change
              anything.

              “Unless you are a corn farmer, that is not a good thing. A mandated 7%
              improvement in average gas mileage for new cars would displace just as much
              gasoline for no cost to consumers of corn or fuel.”

              So your answer to one mandate is another mandate? And not only that, one that
              would cost the consumer more money since I’m sure car manufactures would hike
              their prices for the better technology.

              “Displacing gasoline with a fuel that is just as environmentally
              destructive in its own ways is not a good idea.”

              Again your assumption that ethanol production is more destructive is off. Show
              me one case where ethanol spills have lead to environmental destruction. Show
              me a case where ethanol has contaminated drinking water. Take a look at tar
              sands mining and try to explain to me how ethanol production is more
              destructive than that. And not even just the ethanol but corn production as
              well. If it was that destructive we wouldn’t be growing corn on the same ground
              that my great, great, great grandfather did.

              “No they aren’t” (In reference to building cellulosic plants)

              Well in the last year I’ve read about two grand openings the in the US, one
              more slated for early this year. Altogether thats at least 60 million gallons
              this year. Then you have one or two in Europe that are producing, one or two
              more in Brazil, and one was just announced to begin construction in India.
              Thats a lot of cellulosic plants in the last couple of years for something that
              was assumed to be “another 5 years away” just 2 years ago.

              “It’s market share is quite small compared to corn ethanol and would also
              likely collapse sans government assistance.” (In reference to biodiesels
              market share)

              Yes, its smaller than ethanol, but its still a chunk of the market. Which was
              my point.

              “We have different definitions of scalable. Mine is that corn ethanol use
              would not expand without mandated consumption and that with expansion comes
              expanded negative environmental consequences. Remove the government mandate to
              consume it and the industry would likely collapse.”

              I don’t see corn ethanol scaling a whole lot more in the near term either, but
              I do think cellulosic has a lot of potential. And no, its not destructive to
              take ag residue and turn it into ethanol. We’re getting to a point where we can
              either do more fieldwork to break it down, or we have to take it off. Also, as
              I mentioned above, I think that if the market were opened up ethanol use would
              actually expand. Also, did you know that there are cars that can utilize
              ethanol and not take a MPG hit? I just read about the VW Gol, sold in Brazil,
              that has higher HP and goes faster when using ethanol. If you opened up the
              market here those cars would sell and demand would rise. If you truly want a
              free market, make oil companies take the anti-blender pump language out of
              their franchise agreements and let ethanol compete. I think its demand would
              surprise you.

              “That’s a strawman argument. I never said that it was and no American
              farmer does.” (In reference to my comment that farmers shouldn’t have to
              take a loss to feed the world)

              Its not a strawman, its how you see it. You say grain prices are too high. I
              argue that when adjusted for inflation they’re at historic lows. You say
              without biofuels the price would drop and we could feed all the poor. I argue
              that farmers can’t produce it any cheaper, so to do so would cause the farmer
              to take a loss. I agree, farmers aren’t taking a loss to feed people now, but
              if you had it your way they would.

              “In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer is king, The producer,
              be it water heater, or computer manufactures or corn farmers must bow to the
              consumer or we would eventually would end up like the former Soviet Union. The
              adjusted for inflation price of corn in dollars per metric ton in the graph
              below shows where the price of corn would likely be today without mandated
              ethanol consumption.”

              I’ve already expressed my distaste for your water heater argument. But again,
              if your example the water heater manufacturer sets their own prices. Farmers
              are collectively at the whim of commodity traders. Water heaters heaters come
              at different levels of quality, size, heat rate, etc. Corn is the same no
              matter what farmer you buy it from. You have a commodity, not a manufactured
              product. Again your chart only shows the bottom of the chart that I shared
              above, and will again here
              http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1188945/commodity_fig15.png&width=450

              You’re showing the bottom of a long historical trend downward. In context of
              the last 100 years, its still very very cheap.

              “Hunger is largely the result of ineffectual governance preventing
              economic growth. High grain prices just pour a little gas on that fire. The
              problems with corn ethanol go far beyond the food price increase issue.”

              Ok, so
              you agree that the hunger issue isn’t cause by biofuels? I get what
              you’re saying with “high” grain prices being additive here, but what
              other issues are there? That been the crux of the debate I had with
              DanceswithDachounds that you entered.

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            • By Danceswithdachshunds on January 24, 2015 at 8:19 am

              Then why did Gore change his mind on Biofuel?

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          • By Mark Gentry on March 23, 2015 at 10:33 am

            You say farmers invested in these plants. I guess you missed the Koch Brothers ad about their ethanol plant – probably the real reason we have this program at all.
            Just did a simple test with my son using a lawnmower and non-ethanol, 10% ethanol and E85. Surprisingly found they ran about the same length of time, but regular ran perfectly, 10% ethanol hit and missed and could barely keep E85 running. I know there are differences in technology (timing, air-fuel ratio, etc) but told me there was a problem. Took my little Ford Ranger (which normally can’t pull itself out of bed) and filled it with regular non-ethanol and it was like a different vehicle. Fabulous. No more ethanol for me.

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            • By Forrest on March 23, 2015 at 1:03 pm

              Koch Brothers make most of their money from oil. So, you are investing with them for continued success. There are some good home tests on ethanol blends for lawnmowers with data on internet. The best fuel for 4 cycle was the E85 as torque increased, cooler head temperature, smoother engine operation noted as well as better smelling exhaust. The carb jet had to be drilled for proper air fuel mix as that is just normal adjustment to engine. Also, two cycle engines gained the most benefit if again tuned to the E85 fuel, which is not complicated. Gasoline producers and distributors like ethanol. It makes their fuel better. They can utilize cheaper easier to produce base stock RBOB as the 10% ethanol bumps up the sub grade to proper fuel character. The fuel acts as inexpensive oxygenate, that is required by EPA. It boosts much valued octane rating of fuel. Ethanol acts to clean fuel system and combustion chamber. Spark plugs, valves, injectors, combustion chamber stay cleaner as well as oil. Detergents utilized in plain gasoline to protect engines, before days of ethanol were expensive and unhealthy for air quality. Ethanol mostly replaces the much more toxic -tanes of gasoline that are on the EPA watch list for carcinogens. Higher blends of ethanol fuel will produce more horsepower. Just reality and basic chemistry. You need to read up on the subject as all conditions being normal your truck should do better on E15 as compared to E10 and certainly E0. I keep good records with varying blends on my Sierra half ton with 300k miles. I get 18 mpg typical with E50. This is hardly any mileage loss. The engine runs better. About 230k miles on high ethanol blends. Personalty, would love to have blender pump ability to run E50 all year round, depending on price. It does run E85 well in summer and I typically run the fuel for 6 months. It’s not a flex fuel vehicle.

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            • By Forrest on March 23, 2015 at 1:15 pm

              Oh, I didn’t mean to infer oil producers like higher blends of ethanol. They like E10 and want it to stop there. E30 blend would push gasoline, per high tech engines, to higher efficiency. As you know ethanol production is low, but growing. The best utilization of the fuel is not E85 unless your avoiding the hyper expensive race fuel. Most E85 attributes go unused within current fleet of transportation. E30 a sweetheart mix as the new generation of boosted, DI, and EGR engines can maximize their engine efficiency upon this blend. Meaning E85 even wasted on this class. So, to maximize and conserve valuable gasoline we could do much on E30 blend for environment, consumer cost, and conservation. It’s really is a no brainner decision. The U.S. currently standard fuel has lowest octane rating on the planet and is hurting car industry. BTW high altitude car owners benefit from E85 fuel. Like a liquid turbo charger to horsepower needs within low oxygen environment.

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            • By No EtOH please on March 28, 2015 at 3:06 pm

              I know two small engine repair outfits that love E10. They’ve increased their bottom line every spring when improperly stored lawnmowers weedwhackers can’t be coaxed back to life.
              I’ve had problems with properly stored equipment and motorcycles. The scunge in the float bowls is impressive. Then I found a gas station that sells mid grade and premium EtOH free fuel. No problems since.

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            • By Forrest on March 29, 2015 at 4:56 am

              That’s odd since gasoline has historically been cursed with those problems. Remember the common caution when first fueling up on ethanol fuels to change fuel filter as ethanol will clean the varnish and scum from fuel system. You do realize those fuel stabilizers just another alcohol blend. My experience with the normal E10 fuel is quite contrary to your experience. One snow blower in particular was extremely mulely, that was in the days of pure gasoline. But that was false as all gas is required to have an oxygenate. That would be the alcohol group. Now, methyl alcohol probably made not from wood nowadays, but coal. So, if they used that alcohol, yes, you would be 100% fossilized. But, methyl alcohol is way up the danger chain for chemical attack and poison, so not a good choice. Anyways that snow blower, believe it or not always required pulling plug, heating the plug, starter spray and lots of cranking. It did sit most of the year unused. And this has been my experience since childhood of seasonal equipment. Modern day with E10 fuel just requires a good prime and away you go. It is amazing. I was going to scrap or garage sell that blower. It was miserable to start on plain gas. Mercury Marine has published their approval of E10 with data proving a better fuel for their engines. Now they are against E15 becoming a standard fuel as every time the engine must be tuned to particular fuel and many owners will only come into the shop with problems. You can see the massive liability and change over costs incurred. Probably best for them to stay E10. Sad as the two cycle engine would benefit most from high ethanol blends. E85 would be perfect marine fuel for a whole host of reasons.

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            • By oldlady on May 6, 2016 at 9:21 am

              And we didn’t have those problems before ethanol. But notice how posters just keep ignoring that point.

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            • By oldlady on May 6, 2016 at 9:16 am

              Let those small engines sit for a couple months and then take them to get repaired because the ethanol ruined the carb or diaphragm in injector system.

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            • By Robert White on May 6, 2016 at 9:18 am

              That is why owner’s manuals say to drain the fuel or stabilize if not using regularly. Maintenance is important, especially with carbs that cost as little as $7.

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          • By jreb57 on May 1, 2015 at 10:08 pm

            E-10 is ok. It lowers the vapor pressure and does not cause a significant loss of energy content. As far as being an oxidizer, NOX is used by the catalyst to clean up the unburned hydrocarbons. Nitrous oxide levels increase when an engine is tuned for max efficiency. NOX replaced the need for an air pump. Lead in gasoline polluted the catalyst. The ethanol replaced the loss of octane when the tetraethyl lead was removed.

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        • By Robert White on September 5, 2014 at 3:25 pm

          Drought hits, ethanol is to blame. No drought & strong production, farmers overproduced. Have to blame someone. The Keystone Pipeline is just going to speed up the crude’s movement, not do anything else. If more crude from N. Dakota and Canada, now at record production rates, were going to lower prices, why haven’t they? Most know the answer, we are not the highest bidder. Until we are willing to pay more, that crude, and refined products will go elsewhere.

          Read the footnotes at FuelEconomy.gov. The gasoline that is used cannot be purchased anywhere in the country and doesn’t contain any ethanol. It is a test fuel. They also never test E85, no once. It is simply based on BTU differential between this E0 test fuel and 85% ethanol. Most stations today sell E10, so the calculation changes immediately. Most terminals are now selling a lower blend of E85, also lowering the differential. Real world scenarios that DOE ignores, or simply doesn’t have the resources to capture.

          How you can claim that ethanol costs the consumer more when ethanol sells for roughly 50% the price of gasoline today?

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          • By jreb57 on April 30, 2015 at 12:01 pm

            “ethanol sells for roughly 50% the price of gasoline today?”

            The government subsidizes it. You pay through taxes.

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            • By Robert White on April 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm

              Can you share source? The ethanol subsidy ended in 2011.

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            • By jreb57 on May 1, 2015 at 9:59 pm

              in 2011 USDA began to allow blender pump subsidies to qualify for these payments since efforts to secure more subsidies through Congress were unsuccessful.(Congress allowed ethanol subsidies to expire in 2011)

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            • By Robert White on May 2, 2015 at 1:32 pm

              The USDA did buy some dispensers for petroleum marketers and station owners, think ~270. The ethanol industry did not get a dime, petroleum sector did. Any fuel can go through those dispensers, not just an ethanol blend. That said, Congress eliminated that option by USDA in the latest Farm Bill.

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            • By Robert Rapier on May 2, 2015 at 2:02 pm

              Maybe you can help me understand something. It seems like the ethanol industry is more interested in getting an E15 mandate than they are in growing the E85 market. But if I was trying to grow the ethanol market, I would be putting a full court press on Midwestern governors to shift fuel taxes around and to do everything possible to make E85 more competitive. Because if E85 becomes a more attractive option in the Midwest, the potential market there is 2-3 times current ethanol production in the U.S. And it would be beneficial to those Midwestern states.

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            • By Robert White on May 2, 2015 at 2:43 pm

              Your historical opinion of ethanol is known, so I am sure I am just getting baited. But, I will respond. I have no idea what has led you to believe the ethanol industry is pushing for an E15 mandate. The RFA’s market development efforts, which I lead, push for all blends. We have certainly opened more E85 stations than E15 since the fuel debuted.

              The 14.3% average growth in E85 stations since 2007 is only outpaced by EV charging outlets, which cannot service the same amount vehicles. The E85 station/growth number would even be higher if Big Oil would stop their restrictive franchise and supply agreement restrictions, or if FTC would simply enforce the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA). Incentives in the Midwest would do nothing to fix this issue and reducing fuel taxes would be a tough endeavor considering the state of our road infrastructure. Further, the fuel volume opportunities, along with the bulk of the vehicles, are not in the Midwest. The bulk of the new E85 stations are outside the Midwest and are proving to be very sustainable.

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            • By Robert Rapier on May 2, 2015 at 3:08 pm

              “Your historical opinion of ethanol is known, so I am sure I am just getting baited.”

              Yes, I am aware that the ethanol industry has a comic book view of my ethanol views. That was never clearer than when I was listed as #5 on a ethanol enemies list, with the reasons cited as opinions I have never actually held nor stated. You are guilty of the same; you don’t really seem to understand the way I view ethanol. But my views a lot more objective than yours are. Whereas it is your job to push ethanol, it is not my job to oppose it. I oppose policies that I think are counterproductive. Now…

              “But, I will respond. I have no idea what has led you to believe the ethanol industry is pushing for an E15 mandate.”

              I have seen many comments from people in the industry that have tried to plant this seed.

              “The E85 station/growth number would even be higher if Big Oil would stop their restrictive franchise and supply agreement restrictions…”

              And this is where my opinion really starts to diverge from yours. The history of the ethanol industry has been one in which they try to force others to use their product. The entrepreneurship has mostly been within the context of “OK, the government is forcing people to use our product. Let’s build more plants.” In most industries, products succeed because they are more appealing, cost-effective options.

              Now, if the ethanol industry is to be long-term sustainable, they should really focus closer to home where the costs to put ethanol at a station are a lot lower. Because let’s face it, if they ever scrap the RFS (which I don’t think will happen), the ethanol industry will implode. At this point in time, you exist because of the federal government. Outside the Midwest, a lot of people don’t appreciate being forced to buy ethanol.

              That’s why I really think you should be doing all you can to get laws changed across the Midwest and to improve the overall economics of the process so E85 becomes the preferred fuel. If you can do that, you are no longer hostage to the RFS, you won’t have nearly as much opposition, and you can grow your markets immensely. I would start in Iowa and say “What do we need to do in order to make E85 consistently cheaper on a cost-per-mile basis than gasoline?”

              Note that I have made this argument for years. It’s exactly the strategy I would pursue. I would be very uncomfortable at the idea that the federal government could easily destroy my industry by simply scrapping a law that’s not universally popular anyway.

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            • By Forrest on May 4, 2015 at 8:05 am

              Ethanol may implode w/o RFS, but not as you infer per honest open market decision making. First environmental concerns not valued well at the checkout, advantage fossil fuel choice. Deep pockets of international corporations can easily eliminate small business competition as well as purchase more Capital Hill influence and convincing advertising. Deep pockets can afford more skeptical science per analysis of competition solutions as well as parley science support for purchases product. The current business as usual for the entrenched benefactors will take about a earthquake effort to compete within “honest” open market of easily persuaded (manipulated) public i.e. Camel cigarettes. Second I can see an advantage to maximizing effort within the ranks of ethanol producing states to showcase efficient use of their product, but that is going on as we post. The product must emerge from state boundaries to general public experience and benefit to gain any influence. E15 is just a step away from mass market, why not push that solution? This is the battle ground isn’t it? Petrol loves E10, as the fuel solves gasoline problems and they successful impugned the additive with bad reasoning to convince public that the additive is at its’ max blend potential per potential harm and low market demand. They throw out Libertarian ideals of free market, but quiet upon free market ideals of offering competitive choice at the pump. I think E15 is so dangerous to petrol, because the fuel would quickly be embraced per public scrutiny. They would quickly discover higher octane better performing fuel, better air quality, no mpg loss, and cost savings. They would realize a dime cheaper fuel with mid grade fuel performance. They would ascertain per the experience, petrol benefactors just scare mongering and fooling them. BTW, my wife Focus appears to lose no Mpg up to 35% ethanol blend which the ethanol portion purchase at 70 cents/gal less. Oh, the ethanol sign per vendor contract sits on ground with competing signage for beer and cigarettes.

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            • By Robert White on May 4, 2015 at 11:51 am

              If I remember correctly, that was a list created by outside views looking in, not from the ethanol industry itself. The best we have is our annual Christmas card with a naughty/nice list, and don’t think you have ever made the cut. That said, you don’t need to make it a goal.

              With the exception of Chicago, I know of no discussion of an E15 mandate. Did a quick Google search, didn’t find anything there either.

              Maybe I wasn’t clear, I was referring to the problem of Big Oil blocking an individual business owner from selling E85. In my opinion, which I think would be normal for most, is much different from us forcing someone to buy it. No different than if some station owner wants to offer E0, go for it.

              Ethanol is produced in more than half the states, so assume you mean the Midwest? I also assume it is just a coincidence that this is also where we find the lower volume of flex-fuel vehicles and fuel potential? I am sure Big Oil would love this idea too. What about states with no oil/gas production? If we should only use local production, the stay close to home model, what fuel should those states push?

              Ethanol is also currently cheaper than gasoline in every state, which is historically true more often than not. Your idea is to raise gas prices for those outside the Midwest?

              The E85 discount to regular unleaded in California and Texas (just two examples) is greater than 18%. Granted, there is ethanol production in both states, so maybe not a valid point, but they are not what most would consider the heart of ethanol country.

              We are obviously never going to agree, so I will just state that I don’t believe that if the RFS were to be repealed, that the ethanol industry would implode or disappear. Ethanol plays an important part in our fuel supply, even if just for octane today, and for the future’s needs.

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            • By oldlady on May 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

              What about the damage to small engines?

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            • By Robert Rapier on May 2, 2015 at 2:00 pm

              No need for a subsidy when you have a mandate.

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            • By Ike_Kiefer on May 2, 2015 at 2:16 pm

              Agreed. And how are RINs paid by the US Treasury not a subsidy?

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            • By Robert White on May 4, 2015 at 11:53 am

              What? RINs are provided at no cost to the entity that blends the renewable fuels with traditional fuels to create the ultimate marketplace fuel. The only reason anyone would ever need to buy a RIN (and this would be from another blender, not the government or taxpayers) is if they are refusing to blend the renewable fuels.

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            • By larryevans on May 4, 2015 at 5:53 pm

              Robert, what do you mean RINs are provided at no cost to the blenders? I thought RINs are generated by the biofuel producer for every gallon of biofuel produced. When the blenders buy biofuel, they are also buying the RIN. Last I checked RINs are about 65 cents/gallon and ethanol is about a $1.40 for a composite price faced by the blender of $2.05.

              When the ethanol is blended with gasoline, the RIN is detached and can either be held for compliance or traded on a secondary market.

              Is this about right?

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            • By Robert White on May 4, 2015 at 5:59 pm

              Yes and no. You are correct that the biofuel producer generates and distributes, but not the economics. Today’s spot price for ethanol was $1.54/gal, RIN was $.73/gal. They only pay $1.54/gal total. If the blender can get that full market amount for that RIN (sometimes need large volumes to achieve that price), their blending value (true price) is only $.81/gal. Gasoline was $2.03/gal for comparison at the same time, same market.

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            • By larryevans on May 4, 2015 at 6:11 pm

              Ok so without the RINs, ethanol producers would only receive $0.81? And when the blender retires a RIN for compliance, do they receive any cash value for the RIN?

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            • By Robert White on May 4, 2015 at 6:19 pm

              RINs are hard to explain, hopefully this helps. The value of the RIN to the biofuel producer is zero, not factored into market pricing. RIN or no RIN, price would still be $1.54/gal today. The RIN only has value once blended, and to the blender. That value is totally dependent on when it is sold and how many they have to sell. More volume to sell, more value. Only obligated parties (gasoline producers and importers) are required to turn-in RINs. If a blender (non-obligated party) blends renewable fuels, they don’t need the RIN and can sell it for whatever their market and volume will allow. If they are an obligated party, they need to turn them into EPA for compliance and they have no value (unless they blend beyond their obligation), no cash is received. The intent of the RIN is to encourage blending, and infrastructure development to support more blending.

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            • By larryevans on May 4, 2015 at 6:36 pm

              Now I’m confused by you throwing that gasoline producer into the discussion. Why is the blender not an obligated party? So lets break it down in the supply chain.

              Biofuel producer, produces one gallon of biofuel and generates a RIN for that gallon.

              Now who is next in the chain? Who buys the biofuel and RIN?

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            • By Robert White on May 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm

              The RIN (Renewable Identification Number) is the compliance tool for the RFS. Only obligated parties (gasoline producers or importers) are required to have RINs and turn them into EPA. The compliance life of a RIN is two years and they are told what their obligation is for that year.

              Biofuel producers produce a gallon and generate a RIN. It is available on the market. An obligated party can buy the RIN, or a non-obligated party.

              For example, Shell, Chevon, Phillips 66 are obligated parties, but a Quik Trip, Kum & Go would not be. Kum & Go, as an example, has no requirements under the RFS for blending. If they blend E85, they are capturing RINs that can therefore be sold to an obligated party. The intent is to encourage investment. If the obligated party invests, they don’t need to purchase RINs. If the non-obligated party invests, they have RINs to sell those obligated parties that don’t.

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            • By larryevans on May 4, 2015 at 6:54 pm

              Ok that is a little more clear. When you say “encourage investment”, what kind of investment? Investment into biofuel production?

              So the RIN is basically pure-profit to a non-obligated party. I’ve read though that some firms, such as Kior have business models heavily reliant on RIN value. But Kior is not a blender to my knowledge, only a producer.

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            • By larryevans on May 4, 2015 at 6:58 pm

              Also Kum and Go is a retail location that dispenses fuel. So you’re telling me, they buy gasoline and biofuel, and blend it themselves?

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            • By Forrest on May 5, 2015 at 9:24 am

              Larry, gas stations could, but not popular. Think of a gas station with blender pump that could purchase ethanol and E10 and accumulate RINs for higher blends.
              One would think petrol behavior per the obligated party regs would naturally progress the sale of more ethanol to eliminate the cost of conformance. Not so upon reality. Is it per stubbornness? No, that human attribute seldom developed per higher need of wealth generation. So, what is petrol strategy? My first guess they feel comfortable within the position to defy regulations. Probably per their political influence, wealth generation, and perceived value to public needs. They can hold steadfast to claim of inability to conform to regs and impose maximum negative advertising to value of competition. Their strategy is to trip up the time table and investment dollars from progressing the fuel. They reach out to willing accomplices per shared benefit to do so. So, it’s not that ethanol is bad for the consumer, but bad for business as usual. In any event the RFS protects the competition from savages they can impose. They would like to open the marketplace up to allow maximum international corporate power per bag of dirty tricks. Will this help the consumer? Temporarily. The public does need to wise up as they see the doors slowly closing around them. Think of energy, water, retail, food, utilities, entertainment, regulations, safety, environmental concerns, health care, social services, political manipulation, debt load, entitlements and the rest work a tad to much to minimize your wealth generation ability, freedoms, enjoyment of life, self worth, social conscious/responsibility, respectability, and factors to increase moral community. Not good.

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            • By Robert White on May 5, 2015 at 9:55 am

              It is very unlikely that they blend their own E10, but very likely they are the blender of record on their own E85, which they also use to create their E15.

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            • By Robert White on May 5, 2015 at 9:53 am

              Investment from my perspective is in infrastructure. That would normally be retail, could be capital for more production, etc. But, only the blender receives this RIN value. Guessing the Kior statement was based on market opportunities and potential stock prices reflecting that, which would then encourage investment.

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            • By jreb57 on May 7, 2016 at 10:09 am

              “if they are refusing to blend the renewable fuels”
              Refusing the mandate.

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            • By oldlady on May 6, 2016 at 9:06 am

              wrong

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            • By Robert White on May 6, 2016 at 9:14 am

              ? The Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC) expired December 31, 2011. It was a subsidy provided to fuel blenders, not ethanol producers.

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            • By jreb57 on May 7, 2016 at 10:07 am

              But it has been replaced to a large extent by blender pump subsidies which are also paid to fuel blenders. Any thing paid or forgiven by the government regarding the use of ethanol as a fuel lowers the apparent cost to the consumer. Being as how there is no such thing as a free lunch the cost is paid by other means such as taxpayer money, raising the cost of foods such as corn and meats (which depend on corn based feed) and the consumer in terms of reduced fuel economy.

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            • By Robert White on May 7, 2016 at 10:25 am

              Price of corn is at or below when the RFS was implemented. If more ethanol raises corn prices, and then food, please explain? Only thing that is high in price now is food, simply because of greed.

              As for incentives for fuel blenders, it is more than just ethanol, they can offer any fuel they want, and why they are called multi-product dispensers. Seen more E0, diesel, E85 and premium because of new dispenser technology.

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            • By jreb57 on May 7, 2016 at 10:54 am

              The market place determines the price of corn (without subsidies). The price of a pound of ground beef is now $1.00 more per pound at the marketplace thanks in part to higher feed costs. If you make gasoline out of methane, you have a renewable fuel that does not impact food cost and does not release formaldehyde when burned. There is a commercial process for doing this but it is not widespread. There is also a commercial process for making gasoline from coal although coal is not a renewable source. It is called the Fischer Tropsch process.

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            • By oldlady on May 7, 2016 at 4:03 pm

              so, are we subsidizing ethanol producers?

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            • By John Scior on May 1, 2015 at 6:04 am

              the government alsospends 500bilion plus per year to support the military which secures our dependence on oil

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            • By jreb57 on May 1, 2015 at 9:57 pm

              Yes, but the government must support the military according to a constitutional mandate. Most of the Navy’s ships are nuclear powered. We have plenty of oil if the government would just get out of the way, we would not have to import.

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            • By oldlady on May 6, 2016 at 9:01 am

              Isn’t it ironic men aboard a ship are in such close proximity to nuclear reactors safely, but the public fights nuclear plants that are clean, non polluting, and state of the art. Those same anti nuke people wring their hands that we are polluting with fossil fuels.

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            • By jreb57 on May 7, 2016 at 10:27 am

              The issues regarding sustainable energy, climate change, and environmental pollution have been obfuscated by political agenda, misinformation and outright lies. This is a globalist agenda and there is very little science involved. BTW CO2 is not a pollutant and there is no evidence that it contributes to warmer temperatures as it produces no energy.

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            • By Peter Singh on November 25, 2016 at 10:20 am

              Nuclear waste? Good for a thousand years.

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            • By Ike_Kiefer on May 2, 2015 at 2:15 pm

              The military secures our dependence on Walmart and iPhones and bananas more than it secures our dependence on oil. We could easily satisfy all our oil needs with North American oil. We import from the gulf and OPEC simply because it is cheaper.

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            • By Brian Fistler on February 11, 2016 at 8:17 am

              However, spending money on the military is one of the very, very, very few things the feds do that IS within it’s constitutional bounds to spend money on.

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      • By myfordtruck on December 9, 2014 at 10:49 am

        that price you are quoting what the farmer is selling wholesale retail a 50lb.bag of corn around here sells for 8.00$ and up.Also there is a lot of small motor companies that require you to use ethanol free gas or they will not warranty them and in the old muscle cars and such as 60s and early 70s you run that stuff in them you will get engine damage so you have to run regular unleaded and add stuff in it to take care of it or redo a lot to motor and fuel system

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        • By jreb57 on May 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

          And if you run unleaded gas in a 60s or early 70s car, you had better replace the valves and valve seats. The tetraethyl lead protected the older valves and seats from burning.

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          • By myfordtruck on May 3, 2015 at 11:53 am

            No joke but that is not the reason lead was put in gasoline it was put in because it was a cheap way to raise the octane in gas and now you can buy stuff to go in unleaded gas just like AMACO sold to use in there Gold brand gas that was a high test unleaded gas from the 60,s

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            • By jreb57 on May 3, 2015 at 4:29 pm

              “it was a cheap way to raise the octane in gas”

              I know that. There was another reason ethanol was added that most are not aware of and that is that it reduced the vapor pressure of gasoline in the tank. The lead was taken out due to contamination of the catalyst. The alcohol was supposed to replace the lost octane. Anything more than 10% is excess.

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      • By Ultraworld on April 30, 2015 at 5:49 pm

        It’s not the cost of a bushel of corn, it’s the price to distill just 2.8 gallons of ethanol from it.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/04/20/its-final-corn-ethanol-is-of-no-use/

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    • By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 6:01 am

      Yes, comparing low sales of E85 to low sales of ethanol free gas is a bit deceptive, meaning there both niche markets. The E85 is valuable per the ranking of alternative fuel and not just a blend agent. Flex fuel owners have an option when the crude oil supply goes haywire. Also, the politics of EPA, petrol, ethanol, and auto manufacturers is very interesting to watch. Each player wants government to empower their side. Auto manufactures want big CAFE credits for flex fuel production to offset gas guzzlers as this class of car most popular to Flex Fuel. EPA upset upon the trick and pulling away credits. Also, manufacturers want subsidy for the production of Flex Fuel vehicles, because they can. As you know the expense of Flex Fuel nameplate is to reflash program and spend about $100K one EPA certs. Their is no need for this certification other than to subsidize government agency. The entire U.S. light vehicle fleet should be flex fuel at no additional cost burden.

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    • By Russ Finley on September 8, 2014 at 12:06 am

      My response to this comment can be found here.

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    • By Soccerslider on October 6, 2014 at 10:56 pm

      Farmers grow what they think they can make money growing. The ethanol
      subsidies have driven many Midwest farmers to grow more corn, leaving
      less cropland for other staples.

      Overproduction this year is because of ideal weather. After some really dry years and some so-so years, 2014 weather was ideal throughout the Midwest. Ironically, production was so good that the market price for corn is below production cost this year.

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    • By tim gibson on December 19, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I do not fear ethanol nor harbor ill will towards environmentalists. I get 10% better mileage using pure gas over E10. If it were possible to convert my car into a flex fueler I’m sure 30% less efficiency wouldn’t be too far off the mark.

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    • By Bentrim on December 24, 2014 at 3:42 pm

      Ethanol is added to gasoline has only one benefit. Enlarge bank accounts!! Why? Diesel has 127,500 btu/gallon, gasoline has 112,000 btu/gallon, Ethanol has 80,000 btu/gallon, this equates to E10 108,000 btu/gallon, E85 81,700 btu/gallon. BTU = British Thermal unit it is a measure of energy. Therefore adding ethanol to gasoline will reduce mileage. It also decreases CO and HC emissions but increases CO2 and NOx emissions. Notice the increase is in what the climate change money grubbers say are greenhouse gasses. They only other benefit is that it has decreased the demand for oil. BUT has increased the sale of small engine parts. Many consumers are not aware of the need for better equipment and fuel care. Old stale fuel has destroyed a lot of two stroke equipment, and caused a lot of carburetor and fuel line replacement. FYI all small engine manufacturers will not warrant anything for fuel related issues especially if over 10% ethanol is used.

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    • By Reaper on January 15, 2015 at 12:02 am

      I have to disagree with Robert on this one . We have three vehicles in the family from 2003 and up . All of them state that use of fuel with ethanol will void the warranty.

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      • By Robert White on January 15, 2015 at 12:53 am

        Please share the makes and models, something is sure off. According to the auto manufacturers, all vehicles sold in the U.S. have been compatible with up to 10% ethanol since model year 1981.

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        • By Reaper on January 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm

          Mercedes, BMW , Audi .

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          • By Robert White on January 15, 2015 at 4:38 pm

            According to the Mercedes website (http://www.mbusa.com/vcm/MB/DigitalAssets/pdfmb/ownersmanual/2014_C_Sedan.pdf), MY14 owner’s manual: “Using mixtures of methanol and ethanol is not permitted. E10 fuel or E15 fuel (unleaded gasoline with 10% or 15% ethanol) can be used.”

            According to BMW website (http://www.bmwusa.com/Standard/Content/Owner/OwnersManualVideos.aspx?namodelcode=145C), MY14 owner’s manual: “Fuels with a maximum ethanol content of 10 %, i.e., E10, may be used for refueling.”

            Audi corporate confirmed to us late last year that all of their vehicles can use E10 (which has been the case for years) and they can ALSO use E15.

            End result, all of your vehicles can use E10 and it would be covered by warranty. Your Mercedes and Audi can both also use E15, and it would be covered by warranty. Your BMW should not use more than E10 (or 10% ethanol).

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            • By Reaper on January 17, 2015 at 12:56 am

              In the new vehicles yes the above is true , Not in pre-2012 models ..

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            • By Robert White on January 17, 2015 at 9:18 am

              You have warranty on vehicles older than that? Impressive. Regardless, the automakers have confirmed that in order to deny warranty claims they would have to first prove that E15 was used and that E15 caused the damage. I am told that not a single dealership in the country has the ability to do the second. In 30 months, now available in 15 states, over 100+ millions miles, there have been no issues from consumers. Despite all the scare tactics, nothing has happened. No engine issues. No performance issues. No warranty claims and obviously, none denied.

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            • By John Scior on May 1, 2015 at 6:26 am
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            • By Robert White on January 17, 2015 at 9:20 am

              Also, since you didn’t admit it, your original comment was wrong. The vehicles you listed, regardless of age, CAN use ethanol up to 10%. You said they couldn’t use ethanol period. All manufacturers warrant the use of E10 and have since 1981.

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        • By Reaper on January 15, 2015 at 3:35 pm
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          • By John Scior on May 1, 2015 at 6:17 am

            your article linkrefers to15 pecent etanol- are you not reading what previous perso just posted ???

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    • By Clark S. Longest on September 1, 2015 at 9:40 pm

      My 2004 Monte Carlo computer rejects E10 fuel as a choice: I could live with it if I like driving with my engine light on all the time, than what good is the engine light! Every automaker genius forgot to ask the autos computer first to see if it would like alcohol in the gasoline before committing themselves to accepting and endorsing E10! The world is full of cons!

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      • By Forrest on September 2, 2015 at 7:08 am

        You didn’t mention if the light goes off with ethanol free? May it reject that as well? You have a issue with engine system. E10 shouldn’t pull a light, so something is afoul. The fuel isn’t your problem, but appears to be trigger to disclose an underlying problem? My first guess is intake or vacuum leak. That is quite common in cars and often times the result of mechanics missing the reattachment. Running with low vacuum and extra easy air intake without filter not to good for engine or gas mileage.

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    • By oldlady on May 6, 2016 at 9:05 am

      Ethanol is toxic to your small engine. It is an extender and gets less mileage because it does not burn as gas does but is incinerated by the gas. You pay less but you need to buy more to go the same distance. All the money spent on repairs adds up fast. Weed eater carb/injector repair $100. Add the price to tax payers of the subsidies past and present and your taxes are a factor, nothing has been gained.

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      • By Robert White on May 6, 2016 at 9:17 am

        Every small engine manufacturer endorses the use of ethanol up to 10% and provides warranty for it. If you are right, how is that possible? Ethanol is not an extender for refiners, it is an octane source (113), the cheapest on the planet. They make poor gas at 80-84 octane and then blend with ethanol. Did your math include subsidies past and present for petroleum? They are well at over 100 years and counting, yet everyone else is supposed to operate subsidy-free.

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        • By oldlady on May 7, 2016 at 4:01 pm

          Yadda, yadda, yadda. glad you know everything but how to not ruin your small engine except to put expensive additives in it to keep the ethano from ruining your fuel system. What is the shelf life of ethanol gas?

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          • By Forrest on May 8, 2016 at 5:41 am

            I’m old enough to remember they put alcohol into gas to as a drying agent in moist winter weather. Also, premium gas utilized alcohol for octane boost and cleaning agent. Gasoline companies have always utilized alcohol to boost value of gasoline. You wouldn’t like pure gasoline and really their isn’t anything of gasoline that is pure. It’s composition is all over the map as the base stock crude oil has approximately 100,000 compounds that have to be sold someplace. Most of them unhealthy and a few very cancerous. The unlimited hp dragsters don’t burn gasoline or diesel. Why is that?

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            • By oldlady on May 8, 2016 at 10:44 am

              Underwood?
              I don’t care but for one fact, ethanol gasoline ruins small emines fuel system and non ethanol doesn’t.

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    • By jreb57 on May 7, 2016 at 11:04 am

      “E85 does not have a 30% fuel economy penalty.”
      A gallon of ethanol contains two thirds as much heat energy as a gallon of gasoline. How much of that energy can be used to do mechanical work depends on the thermodynamic efficiency of the engine in question.

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  4. By Robert Frye on September 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

    This is a good topic and article Mr. Finley.

    I’ve studied the phycology and dynamics of how consumers make their decisions at the gas pump for some time now. I contend there is a fair amount of confusion at the multi-grade fuel pump (whether it’s admitted or not), especially with FFV (flex-fuel-vehicle) owners. Some of these pumps have 5-6 viable options of eligible fuel grades – all of them having a different price per BTU.

    To top this off, credible statistics indicate that about 60% of the FFV owners are UNAWARE they drive a FFV and its’ numerous fuel options – even though they handle the yellow gas cap every time they fill their tanks. This statistic might be low in my opinion.

    Your article mentions 5 reasons consumers may opt for non-ethanol fuel options. I believe 3 of the 5 reasons might be considered “agenda-driven”. I submit these agendas might take second place fast (in the privacy of the fuel pump) if this consumer knows he, or she, can save $5.00/fill by making the proper grade selection (which would give them the most cost effective BTUs providing maximum mileage).

    Do agendas have a price? In reality, I think they do in this case. I believe it happens at the pump on an everyday basis by most people i.e. “If I can save $5.00 right now, at this instant, should I?” “Yes I should!”

    I don’t have a “dog” in the “Big Oil vs. Ethanol” fight and debate. I could probably argue both sides pretty effectively, if I had to.

    I’m just saying the consumer, in general, is poorly informed on how to make the proper fuel selections at the pump ( on a cost per BTU basis). Isn’t this where some part of “conservation” starts?

    Again your article is intriguing to me. Good work!

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    • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 9:26 am

      But, consumers concerned of quality of fuel and environmental concerns of their purchase. Ethanol has many attributes that make gasoline better. It dries out moisture from fuel storage. Remember, the water puddling inside tanks? The cans of alcohol to dry out winter stalled auto’s? The slug of water from fueling stations? Gasoline has long utilized ethanol to dry out the fuel. Some ethanol plants never went out of production, from the 70′s per such need. Ethanol is a natural detergent as well. Engines that burn E85 are shockingly clean of carbon deposits. The fuel cleans up the typical crud of petro, including injectors. Ethanol, despite claims of short shelf life per moisture retention has boosted ability of fuel to over winter. It will depend on your environment, but many including myself can a test to the benefit. Michigan had long ago been regulated to E10 regular. Not much concern, fanfare, or notice.

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      • By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 11:54 am

        Forrest,
        I confine my study to relationships of physics and economics i.e. fuel mileage and cost-per-mile…as it relates to the consumer . I’m not saying you don’t have valid points regarding emissions, environment, and other hot debates such as carbon emissions.
        As my original post said:
        ” I don’t have a “dog” in the “Big Oil vs. Ethanol” fight and debate. I could probably argue both sides pretty effectively, if I had to.”
        What drives my study is based on consumer awareness of mileage and cost-per-mile when considering ALL available fuel options at the pump.
        Please don’t misinterpret that I don’t support options at the pump. I support as many options as possible. I wish every pump was a blender pump and had 6 choices. Choice is good. My calculations do not factor in the decisions each individual has to make, independently, regarding considerations outside of economics of their fill, and the miles it get them at a given cost. You make good points.
        Respectfully

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  5. By Dotherightthing on September 5, 2014 at 12:33 am

    The place where the flex owners have a leg up on others if the government forces E15 on the consumers. A lot of car manufactures do not want to warranty E15 in non-flex cars. Minnesota plans to force E20 on their consumers. The governments will be hard to find when consumers have trouble with their cars.

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  6. By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 9:16 am

    In today’s vehicles, with the latest ECMs (engine control modules), mileage is nearly a linear relationship to the BTU content of the fuel used.

    Don’t confuse octane ratings with mileage relationships. Octane primarily controls pre-ignition or “ping”, depending on the CR (compression ratio) of a specific engine. Most standard performance vehicle engines today have an 87 octane requirement. Again, Octane-requirement is generally related to CR and “ping” control.

    So, if we can take octane out of the mileage discussion, go to this site by the Department of Energy http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byfuel/FFV2013.shtml
    and divide the E-85 mileage by the “Gas” mileage. The reciprocal of this result is the “mileage penalty” to be assigned to E-85. If you are interested in the methods used to obtain this data go to: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml

    The point this makes is that the “mileage-penalty” (of the vehicle tested) is equal to, or nearly equal to, the “energy-density-penalty” of E-85. E-85 (with 85% ethanol) has about 81,935 BTUs per gallon. Summer blend Regular E-0 (and premium) has about 115,000 BTUs per gallon. This represents a 28.75% energy-density-penalty for E85 compared to E-0. Compare this 28.75% energy-penalty to the mileage reductions in the any of the tests.

    This relationship can generally be considered to hold true across all the fuel blends at the pump proportional to the respective energy-densities on a BTU basis. See picture below to save you the work of doing the math.

    [link]      
    • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 10:00 am

      Not true. Octane is one of the primary drivers of efficient combustion to work preformed. EPA ratings are just math calcs per BTU. They are not road testing mileage. You are really purchasing torque ability of engine and fuel capability. Horsepower is good for grinding out power such as race cars that have no need of efficiency. But, consumers whom interested in cost per mile achieve it with high toque. One of the problems with ethanol in general is the typical car inability to exploit the fuel attribute. Modern autos have or will have the ability to adjust operation parameters to maximum efficiency per ethanol octane. The higher octane, the earlier spark ignition, lower rpm shifts, higher compression per Atkinson cycle, and higher final drive ratio per ability of the higher torque fuel. Cummings just announced a 2.8 liter spark ignition engine for delivery van market that has outperformed diesel per torque and carbon reduction. The engine can decrease carbon footprint 80% burning cellulosic ethanol. Over 50% using corn ethanol.

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      • By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 10:51 am

        Forrest,
        Thanks for your time and reply. I’d be very interested (and most thankful) in finding a good source of data which substantiates that octane increases mileage for the vast majority of the vehicles on the road today. That being said, 1) in a cost effective manner and 2) when based on usual cost spreads between these higher octane grades and 3) where a vehicle has an 87 octane requirement from the manufacture . It would be great if you could steer me to this data. I can’t find it.
        Thanks again – and most respectfully.

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        • By Robert Rapier on September 5, 2014 at 11:28 am

          Octane doesn’t increase mileage, but octane can allow for higher compression engines which can. In practice, this isn’t being achieved. See the link in my response to him above. I always take these claims that there isn’t much of a penalty with E30 or whatever with a big grain of salt, given that it’s anecdotal evidence and no independent tests have confirmed that it’s true.

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          • By rlhailssrpe on September 5, 2014 at 1:34 pm

            Intuitively, this does not make sense. Compression ratio is an engine design parameter and the higher the ratio the higher the octane rating that is required to prevent pre-ignition. The highest compression ratios are found in race cars, high performance engines in which operating cost is not a concern. Thus, from your argument, ethanol fuel would be ideal for race cars and indeed many burn pure alcohol. But the reason is safety, alcohol is miscible, mixes with water which, unlike gasoline, is life saving in hosing down a burning wreck.

            Are you saying that a high compression engine is needed to exploit ethanol’s octane characteristics? If so, the American fleet will not garner any advantage from ethanol until engines are redesigned. And the lower energy density issue would be the cost determinant.

            Do you have an independent reference, e.g. SAE, for this topic?

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            • By Alex Johnson on September 5, 2014 at 3:26 pm

              Yes, the idea is that with higher compression engines you could get more power per cubic inch. In this way you could make a slightly smaller engine, get the same horsepower, and increase your fuel mileage due to the lighter weight. This is the basic idea of Fords Eco-Boost. More power from a lighter engine to increase fuel efficiency.

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            • By rlhailssrpe on September 5, 2014 at 3:52 pm

              Alex – Of course this is true (engine energy mass and volume density). We knew this before WWII, with high compression, high octane aviation gasoline. But those power plants had 100 hour tear down requirements, wholly unsuitable for a family car.

              My point is that the American vehicle fleet can not use high octane fuel, with our current engine designs. What we discuss is the life cycle costs for a fixed fleet propulsion due to a changed fuel. If low energy dense ethanol provides a useless characteristic for my car, why buy it?

              {An aside – I have friends who are watermen who have been destroyed by
              ethanol fuel. It tears up small engines, requires constant overhauls. The O&M costs have forced people to leave the life
              style.}

              It is not at all clear why the government mandated ethanol except Senator Ethanol, Bob Dole’s, explanation: It comes from corn. There are 38 states that grow corn and each one has two Senators. That explains it all. The US has an entirely worthless industry due to corn lobbyists.

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            • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 5:23 pm

              Well, if nothing less, ethanol saves your money. Octane, oxygenates, detergent, water absorption are expensive additives historically to fuel industry. Ethanol provides premium fuel characteristics to plain gasoline and it’s cheaper than gas. Out west the “super unleaded” is 30 cents cheaper than regular. Also, economist claim the ethanol competition per fuel cost dampening ability is powerful. They put ethanol cost savings to consumer much higher. Remember the gasoline spikes in cost per any hiccup within supply chain? Doesn’t happen nearly as much, thank you ethanol. BTW, flex fuel vehicles a good device to ensure competition. If some international problem threatens gas supplies, flex vehicles can change refueling pumps.

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            • By Alex Johnson on September 9, 2014 at 12:02 pm

              Your reason for why the US uses ethanol doesn’t explain why the rest of the world is adopting it as well. Ethanol is being exported all over the world. E5 mandates are popping up in India and smaller Asian countries. Even countries in the middle east that have cheap access to oil are using it. I know those places don’t have corn, so why are they adopting it as well?

              I’m sorry to hear about your friends bad luck with engines but I have yet to figure out what causes one engine to fail and another to go on for years with no issues. We have a Farmall 350 gas on the farm from the 1950′s that grandpa has been running on E10 since it was allowed in Minnesota. We still use that tractor 3-4 times a week for little things around the farm and haven’t had trouble with anything except alternators over the years. Why is that engine fine? Why haven’t our snowmobiles, my lawn mower, or snowblower failed yet? I don’t know. But I really struggle to believe its all due to ethanol. The entire state of MN has been running it since the 90′s and I see a lot of old mowers out every week. I see old boats running all summer. And then I hear stories like yours. I’m not trying to discount your anecdotes over mine, just trying to make sense of it.

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            • By Robert Rapier on September 9, 2014 at 12:26 pm

              “Why haven’t our snowmobiles, my lawn mower, or snowblower failed yet?”

              I will share one more anecdote. Take it for what it is; an anecdote. When I moved to Hawaii, I couldn’t find E0 in the town I lived in. So I started putting E10 in my lawnmower. After using it for about half a season, it blew out a half dollar-sized hole in the engine block. Oil went everywhere and I could actually see inside the cylinder. Pieces of shrapnel went everywhere.

              Was ethanol the culprit? I have no idea. But it wasn’t an old mower, and it suffered a catastrophic failure of the engine block. Even if I could prove that ethanol did it, do you know who is responsible financially? Me. So there are some hidden costs (not necessarily in this case, but there are documented cases of problems and they were borne by consumers).

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            • By Alex Johnson on September 9, 2014 at 12:49 pm

              Good point Robert, and I can appreciate that those are real costs. But every engine failure can’t just be blamed on ethanol by default. Engines fail. They’re bound to due to the expansion and contractions as well as the forces inside of them. We had the same thing happen to a diesel semi. The chuck of the engine block shot out with such force it punched a hole in the hood of the truck. Of course this could not be blamed on ethanol, but if it had been a gas engine it may have been, consciously or not.

              With the speed that much of today’s manufacturing is done at, and the focus being on making product at the lowest cost, I think it causes new products to fail more often. In that case which is easier for a company, to take the heat for using sub-par alloy’s in engines to save money, or blame a controversial fuel? The fuel/consumer will get blamed every time, at least until enough of them fail to warrant a recall. At which point blame has been heaped upon the fuel for so long no one cares that the product was recalled. Its all the fuels fault.

              I feel that ethanol gets the rap quite a bit. Everyone complains about having to change their fuel filters after switching to E10 for the first time after using E0 for years. But what they’re missing is the junk had been building up in their tank that whole time and the ethanol finally carried it through the fuel system. So yeah, you had to change your filter because ethanol cleaned out your tank, but why aren’t people mad that the E0 fuel they were using was leaving junk in their tank in the first place? With all the special advertised additives that refiners talk about what is falling out of their fuel? Why is it considered a better idea to let water vapor pool at the bottom of your gas tank instead of getting it out of there as soon as it collects? It just doesn’t make sense to me.

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            • By Forrest on September 9, 2014 at 2:34 pm

              I have the luxury of fixing all my equipment per my mechanical ability. Sometimes I go to garage to get an estimate or receive free install. I catch so many many false claims. It is laughable how dishonest these shops are. It’s been three in a row lately. They really flip to humble servant when discovering that I intimately know the car and auto mechanics. I caught a transmission shop, brake shop, battery install, front end repair, and gas pump installer. That’s all within 10 years. Robert, your problem is typical per rod breakage. Small engines need oil change more that seasonal. You will hear the tell tale sign of knocking before catastrophic failure. Also, the oil level is important, since they use dipper splash lube system. Sometimes a mere fraction of cup of oil will be needed. Especially, if old engine that starts to burn oil. Double that if you have steep hill to mow. Best be protected with high pressure additive such as moly as the engine could go unlubed for short duration. Moly Kote is a good product. Two cycle engines will seize typical from lack of lube or lean conditions. EPA hates two cycle engines per the high air emissions. Years ago they settled on not banning the engines if they could adapt 50:1 oil mix. Two cycles engines now have coatings to limit friction per the ability to run with minimum oil. I wrecked a few engines (before ethanol) and discovered the problem. Bump up the oil mix to 32:1 or lower and you will have no problem. Of course the small engine mechanics complain of ethanol as the culprit. I know some folks whom modified weed whacker and lawn movers to E85 and have had zero problems. Some have the four cycles running on high blends with no mods. Ethanol appears to have the ability per engine lean operating condition to not be as damaging as compared to gasoline. E85 would be a great fuel for small engines and double benefit for two cycle. Lower pollution, more oxygen, and cooler chamber temps.

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            • By rlhailssrpe on September 9, 2014 at 12:55 pm

              Thank your for you thoughts.

              The world uses what it has. Few nations have the oil, or money that we have. Brazil uses mostly ethanol because they have vast lands planted in sugar cane, the base fuel source. It was (I am not current) illegal to import it into the US, for two reasons. Our sugar monopoly, mostly in Florida, charges 3 – 4 times the world price due to this barrier, and our corn lobbyists keep it out.

              Unlike oil based products, alcohol absorbs water, particularity in hot humid conditions. This is great at the race track as a hosing a wreck makes it not burn. But it is lousy in an engine, if left for any length of time. Constant use and replenishment works but long term storage (days or weeks) force an overhaul. I am told it has ruined boating in the Chesapeake Bay. The tanks must be constantly drained.

              It is possible to design a pure ethanol engine. Henry Ford first thought that was the future as every farmer had a still. But one tank of gasoline would destroy an “ethanol” engine. The octane ratings are different (anti knocking).

              Next year there is a lobbying effort to subsidize fuel pump mixers, via the FDA farm program. My main objection is that government giveaways created an industry because private investment walked. That is not the America I once knew.

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            • By Alex Johnson on September 9, 2014 at 3:14 pm

              Your information on Henry Ford’s engines is a bit off. It was a mix of the fact that Standard Oil had so much sway, as well as prohibition that lead to the disuse of ethanol as a fuel. (There are even some theories that Rockefeller helped bring about prohibition to end the use of ethanol as a fuel and only agreed to help end it once Ford agreed to not make ethanol engines anymore) Check out this timeline from Wikipedia, it handily shows that the fuel of favor was ethanol in the early stages of internal combustion engines. Even some of the same benefits were touted (clean burning, anti knock, renewable) so its not like this is a new debate. This has been ongoing since the beginning of engines.

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_alcohol_fuel

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            • By rlhailssrpe on September 9, 2014 at 6:06 pm

              I direct you to your Wikipedia link and the talk link. Dr.Bill Kovarik, PhD, who wrote his thesis on the industrial history of ethanol. He writes that this Wiki link contains significant errors.

              I find this is normal among controversial topics, particularity on energy. Competing commercial interests rewrite historical facts. We are being buried with lies. I do not accept it but it is what it is. My interest are the technical reasons, pro or con, on ethanol in ICE, particularly O&M costs. What level of mixture can a vehicle tolerate? I have not found information from SAE type experts, just cheer leaders. I do know that boating, in the Chesapeake bay, is being destroyed due to massive, frequent engine overhauls. Why?

              I do know that in the Johnson, Sam Rayburn, John Connally era, that Texas oil men favored themselves for tens of billions from giveaways. The corn industry followed suit with massive subsidies. All of it came out of our back pocket.

              I no longer trust anyone on economical energy, particularly government and large corporations.

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            • By Alex Johnson on September 10, 2014 at 10:46 am

              I see, I was unaware of the errors. I simply know that ethanol was around, and fell out of favor due to lower priced petroleum and found the link interesting in that regard.

              As to looking for un-biased facts about ethanol, good luck. The only way to get research done on the topic is to fund it. Once you fund it the results at looked upon with skepticism depending on what side of the issue the funding party sits on. Thats why I’ve decided to do my “testing” myself. For example that DOE article I sent you is controversial because ACE funded it. The rebuttal to that was posted by Robert R not long after which debunks it. But when I run the different fuels myself I have my normal MPG at E10, it dips 2-3 MPG when I go to E20, but then comes back up to what I normally get on E10 when I run E30. So I tend to believe the fist study because of my own experiences. Its worked for me, probably 70-75,000 of the 110,000 miles I’ve put on my car have been E30 since there is a pump near my office. If I lived next to a body of water maybe things would have turned out differently but so long as its working for me, and I keep on saving money doing it, I’ll keep using it.

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          • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 3:59 pm

            There are a couple things going on here. As Robert Frye mentioned the ECM and oxygen sensor will adjust fuel to complete combustion. Meaning the chemical oxygen from the ethanol will require ECM to squirt more fuel per stoke. All else being equal with auto, gas mileage will decrease as now were just burning fuel to minimize pollution. This the problem with engine technology that can not adapt to the benefits of ethanol fuel. The fuel mpg loss is from the ability of ethanol to induce more oxygen to engine. This effectively like having more cubic inches of engine. This the reason ethanol tears up race track. Unless the auto is programed to utilize parameters of this higher ethanol fuel content, it merely burns more fuel. Modern engines can adapt timing, compression per Atkinson cycle, and valve timing. Also, Modern automotive technology has ability to sense the ethanol content per octane increase. So, boost pressure will increase, timing will advance, compressing increase and transmission will gear up quicker per the benefits of ethanol fuel. The engine efficiency increases as does torque output. A truly flex fuel vehicle would save 10th gear for E85 and 9th gear for regular. Some auto models had modest ability for this in past years. Older tech cars had the best mileage on ethanol blends as they did a poor job on feedback or in open loop. I have had a couple vehicles that only lost max 15% on E85. I would not run these vehicles max output per the lean burn. I have read combustion engineers claim if engine and transmission optimized for E85 only….the car would achieve parallel mileage per gasoline only. Also, published articles from auto engineers claiming E30 fuel a sweet spot per the need to optimize engine technology. Meaning with high turbo DI engines this fuel will support small efficient engines that maximize engine efficiencies. Lower or higher ethanol content would decrease mileage.

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            • By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 6:21 pm

              Forrest – please excuse me for stepping in here. Maybe it’s a big “no-no” to do so. If it is, I’m truly sorry. I don’t blog much. But I wanted you to see this site:
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_Variable_Compression_engine
              Read that this project is tabled…and by whom (if one can believe this source).

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            • By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 5:01 am

              It’s a clever way to increase compression, but far to expensive for the benefit. The common trick with variable valve timing is to keep a valve open a short duration to pass chamber air. This will limit compression. By keeping both valves closed the engine achieves max compression.

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      • By Robert Rapier on September 5, 2014 at 11:27 am

        “EPA ratings are just math calcs per BTU. They are not road testing mileage.”

        Road testing mileage has been done. Your comments are true in theory, but flex fuel vehicles can’t achieve really high compression ratios or they would no longer be flex fuel. I addressed this issue a few years ago after the ethanol lobby paid for a study that seemed to indicate what you suggest above.

        So another study was done by NREL. They found “All 16 vehicles exhibited a loss in fuel economy commensurate with the energy density of the fuel.” You can read about the study, with a link to it, here: http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2009/09/13/an-urban-legend-falls/

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        • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 4:21 pm

          I remember that trial. Ethanol fuel will developed more HP, but it’s wasted per lack of need. If the increase in torque could be translated into higher gear ratio, that would help ethanol fuel a load. The way EPA now credits flex fuel vehicles it may promote manufacturers to E85 only vehicles.

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  7. By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 9:27 am

    This chart did not come through on my previous post. Here it is -

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    • By Alex Johnson on September 5, 2014 at 3:13 pm

      Robert, I agree ethanol has lower BTU values, but it also allows for a more complete burn of the fuel. This chart assumes complete burn efficiency. If that was true there would be no need for your catalytic converter. The oxygen in the ethanol means there is less soot/unburnt fuel so its not a true “penalty”. There is actually work from the DOE showing a weird plateau in mileage between E20 and E35 for certain model cars that puts it on par with E0. Combustion dynamics isn’t as easy as simple BTU numbers. If it was we’d be burning powdered coal in our engines.

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      • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 4:20 pm

        The chemical formula for ethanol burn is simple CO2 and water. If engines were designed to maximize efficient ethanol combustion, there would be no need for catalytic converter. Ethanol is pure, just about food grade. Buffet warmer is often plain alcohol fuel. Some indoor heaters promote ethanol fuel use per the elimination of toxic fumes.

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      • By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 6:02 pm

        Thanks Alex.
        Can you please provide a link to the DOE data you mention. I would really appreciate it. Thanks again.

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        • By Alex Johnson on September 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm

          I saw in another post that Robert R also has a study showing results contrdictory to this one, but here it is.

          http://www.biofuelswiki.org/Home/OptimalEthanolBlendLevel

          Also, here is a slide deck from Ford from their presentation to the DOE highlighting the more complete burn of fuels when mixed with ethanol (slide 12, notice the soot flame in the gas vs no soot production with ethanol)

          http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2014/03/f12/ft_12_agarwal.pdf

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          • By Robert Frye on September 9, 2014 at 5:16 pm

            Thanks Alex.

            I’ll first check the sources and try to find who financed the tests on the Biofuels Wiki website. Were they not commissioned by: The American Coalition for Ethanol? I’ll have to read further and first eliminate conflicts of interests in any data generation.
            Keep in mind I need independent, hard, repeatable data which substantiates BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT that we can, in fact, defy the laws of BTU physics and economics – combined – pursuant to fuel economy – with todays vehicles. So far, I haven’t found the data meeting this criteria.
            However, thanks again, Alex.

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            • By Alex Johnson on September 9, 2014 at 5:27 pm

              Yes, it was funded by them, but good luck finding completely independent research. The money always has to come from somewhere. Like I was saying my best guess is the more complete burn of the fuel provided, such as in the slide deck from Ford.

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      • By Robert Frye on September 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm

        Alex – re: your comment about coal in your last sentence above…
        Read about “Coal-To-Liquid” (CTL) technology.
        There are several reasons we don’t get our BTUs through this process.
        One of them being the end cost of BTUs.

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    • By Robert White on September 5, 2014 at 3:30 pm

      Don’t see any data, can you please share what octane level the E0 is and what is the hydrocarbon in these ethanol blends? RFG? Natural gasoline? Unleaded? Suboctane?

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      • By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm

        Sorry about that Robert White! My reply to your questions are above. I meant to reply to you – not myself. See: “Good points to clarify, Robert. Thanks-”

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    • By Robert Frye on September 5, 2014 at 5:51 pm

      Good points to clarify, Robert. Thanks-

      In this particular chart, the E-0 I’m referencing are both Reg. UL 87 and Premium 91-93 grades (having same BTU density) which can be commonly found at the pump in many gas stations across the nation. From what I understand, much of the Reg. UL 87 found today is a splash-blend of 84 octane plus higher-octane-Premium because many of the refiners are now “pipe- lining” 84 octane (since about September 2013). Yet the vast majority of vehicle manufactures require 87 for “ping” control. Some exceptions may be some states at higher altitudes.

      That said, octane is NOT know to be a contributor to mileage in vast majority of vehicle engines produced today – according to numerous experts (see posts below). Saab, however, does make a variable-compression-engine which may be an exception to the rule. This engine is quite rare on the road today, especially in the States. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saab_Variable_Compression_engine
      Please see the posts I’ve made just a little lower for a data link by Department of Energy which are tests done on dozens of vehicle under controlled conditions on a pretty sophisticated dynamometer test station.

      I will defer to someone like Robert Rapier regarding your question on the hydrocarbon chain structures. He knows this chemistry “pat”.
      Thanks for the reply, Robert. (there’s a lot of Roberts on this blog)

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      • By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 5:26 am

        I was wondering how the UL 87 octane alcohol free was blended. It would be pricey if they had to special blend per refinery. The common blend stock has trade acronym RBOB. This blend stock formulated to achieve octane and vapor pressure requirements after 10% ethanol added. The blend stock would make a terrible fuel straight up. The summer blend of E0 would have more BTU as compared to winter blend as the use of light or the -tanes required to boost vapor pressure and these elements have less BTU. I think RBOB undergoes a change up to? Motorist all know winter cold weather pulls down gas mileage, but they may be unaware the winter fuel supply has less BTU that doesn’t help either. Before the RBOB + ethanol fuel….unleaded always achieved better mileage as compared to premium. This again was do to light -thanes that have less energy, but can boost octane. Some always put premium Shell into their new car thinking the fuel is good for engine. Well, anybody with knowledge of auto technology advised the extra cost was fruitless. Same misconception with alcohol free unleaded fuel. My sister had a new Ford hybrid and made sure she treated the engine to expensive alcohol free fuel. After a couple years when becoming more practical and flipped to E10. Same impulse to take your new car baby to dealership who is uniquely qualified to treat the car per company spec. Well, after a few years of being hosed with expensive service, most switch to normal cost effective service that don’t polish their floors and provide pamphlets to inspire customers.

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  8. By Frogwatch on September 5, 2014 at 10:03 am

    For boat users, ethanol free fuel actually is a necessity regardless of what the new marine engine manufacturers claim. Marine fuel tanks MUST be vented in a 100 % humidity environment causing water uptake for ethanol fuels. This causes failure of engines when fuel sits for even a few days as it does for most marine engines. The ethanol based fuel has caused several deaths when it ate through fuel lines and fuel tanks causing fires. A tiny fuel leak in a car is no serious problem but in a boat is a major problem of immediate life threatening danger. I think that ethanol free fuel should be mandated for all marinas

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    • By Forrest on September 5, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Historical boats with the fiberglass fuel storage a rare problem with ethanol. They even had problems with plain gas. Gasoline with water foments a witches brew of caustic chemicals that do great harm as well. Ethanol with phase separation problems will still burn within engine, but could lean engine out for problems at full throttle horsepower for long time. The way to correct for this problem is to dump more ethanol into tank. Most tanks, if the fuel cap in place have few problems. But, education is key to fuel problems. How long since last fuel up? I know of some ethanol tests where consumers are using glass jars open air to test this phenomenon. They post of incredible shelf life. I have never had problem with open gas containers even with cover off. Of course E15 would greatly reduce the danger. Also, E85 fuel if engines were turned to the fuel would enjoy zero water contamination problems, greatly reduced vapor pressure, more power, cooler engine temps, and greatly reduced environmental contamination of waterway and air.

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    • By Alex Johnson on September 5, 2014 at 3:10 pm

      I don’t know about that. In Minnesota we’ve had E10 mandated since the 90′s and a lot of farmers who fish have been running E10 in their boats the whole time. I don’t know of anyone who’s had problems with it. Personally, our cruiser was left all summer, every summer on the boat lift at the lake and we haven’t had problems with it yet. We’ve had that boat since I was a kid and it still fires up every spring.

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    • By Robert White on September 5, 2014 at 3:29 pm

      Deaths? I have seen some outrageous claims on the internet, but would love to see the proof that ethanol caused “several deaths”. I work in the industry in this would be news to me.

      I personally have been using ethanol in marine applications for over 20 years, never had an issue. In fact, just was around a jet ski over the Labor Day weekend that was stored with E10 in it, no stabilizer added, and sat all winter. Fired right up and ran all weekend on the lake.

      Every boat manufacturer warrants the use of up to 10% ethanol today, and has for many years. It is truly housekeeping. Do the routine maintenance, and you won’t have an issue.

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  9. By aed939 on September 5, 2014 at 12:34 pm

    Maybe the ethanol is produced with GMO corn, and the consumers want GMO-free gasoline ;)

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  10. By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 5:48 am

    I lost track of Robert Frye’s point of BTU, but wanted to respond. I think he was saying BTU rating of fuel should be the rating. Interesting their is talk of this, especially within ethanol people, for a couple reasons. One is road tax. Ethanol has lowest BTU rating and per most reasonable evaluations gets hosed per gallon measure tax. Diesel fuel has much higher BTU and utilized upon heavy trucks. Some states do tax the fuel higher, but most states tax ethanol fuel as gasoline equal. Gallon measure can be an indicator of efficiency when comparing same fuels, i.e. diesel vs diesel. But, with the mix of fuels, such as propane, ethanol, biodiesel, electricity, hydrogen, etc it may be easier to measure fuel and tax fuel on BTU basis. It also would be good to measure efficiency. This would also line up with desire of carbon tax as BTU in general equals carbon. Ethanol likes the idea per the high efficiency of the fuel. Also, BEV would and should be paying road tax and this would be a good way forward. The EPA magic box calculations to come up with equivalent MPG is just to shady and untrustworthy.

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    • By Robert Frye on September 6, 2014 at 8:33 am

      I’m not sure it’s a topic relevant to this blog. Perhaps it shouldn’t be discussed here. Maybe the moderator will scold me.

      BUT, the above being said, Federal and State Fuel Taxes are
      a whole “another story” where one sees little transparency regarding gross
      amount collected, where it actually goes, and how it’s managed with regard to
      its “sold-as”, intended purpose.

      Fuel taxes are the “golden nugget” for the tax coffers in the U.S. and world-wide. It’s an “easy” massive tax. The good news is – look up the taxes in Norway, the EU in general, and world-wide and take, at least, a little solace.

      We all pay it, we all accept it, and few question it, especially at the federal level (even though the state taxes per gallon are, in most cases, higher than the federal tax). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_taxes_in_the_United_States

      I just began my study on this a few months ago. Valid, current data on federal fuel taxes (other than what we pay) is hard to glean i.e. just as though we’re not supposed to have it. This makes me suspicious and fortifies my search.

      QUESTIONS:
      With the advent of lower BTU grade options at the pump, is it the same an “automatic” fuel-tax increase? If not, why not? If it is, why? And by how much increase, or decrease, on gross federal and state fuel tax receipts pursuant to both questions (of course the states will vary) Think it through on what you know about mileage penalties and energy densities and national consumption.

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  11. By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 6:37 am

    Some additional thoughts:

    . It may work to cost advantage and improved emissions desire of EPA for the refining industry, petro chemical engineers, and auto to evolve gasoline fuel supply to vapor pressure standard blending. About half the problem of pollution with ICE is the plain vapor emissions. The cost for boutique blending and seasonal change up is high. Consider ethanol is rock solid standard to blend with. Also, the blend pump cost continue to drop as the pump becomes more popular. This technology could easily adapt to continuous blending per vapor pressure needs. By adding or subtracting ethanol blend an accurate vapor pressure can be achieved on any given day. Engines will run better on blends with higher octane as long as minimum 87 the low end.

    .E85 may evolve to a truck fuel per the very high torque achievement of the fuel. Spark plug heavy duty diesel like engines. Also, the fuel may become the race or ultra performance fuel for sports. This would require E85 strict blend quality control.

    . E30 should be considered and maintained as standard high test fuel for next generation automotive.

    .Small engine, chain saw, two cycle, marine all should consider E85 fuel transition per pollution control, torque increase, chemical oxygen content, and cooler operating temps. The fuel would be less harmful upon waterway spill. This again would require consistent E85 blend.

    Ethanol has been utilized per special blend with ignition additive for the diesel engine. I would think military whom is ultra concerned with hardening war equipment to be fuel flexible would be interested in this. It would not take much to manufacture flex fuel diesel. If diesel fuel tankers easily destroyed, cargo truck could transport inflammable sugar. Stand alone ethanol processing equipment is compact and reliable even upon foreign land.

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    • By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 7:37 am

      BTW, Ethanol an be easily fumigated within air intake. This is a low tech method to save 30% diesel fuel. Some have utilized standard hardware store products for the purpose. Military in a pinch could likewise conserve diesel fuel. One ethanol process manufacturers specializes in standard shipping container setup for commercial scale ethanol refinery. The process can utilize sugar or starch inputs. This should be attractive for military optional fuel production. Energy for the operation per heat and power of gas turbine generator. These units can be ethanol fueled.

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  12. By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 12:50 pm

    Life Cycle Associates just finished a study of Chicago air quality and the effects of E15 fuel to the same. Use of E15 fuel as compared to unleaded (E10) within the light duty vehicle sector. Green house gas is calculated to be decreased 1.5 %. Reduction in potential to form ozone, lower than plain gas. Evaporate emissions down as well. Cancer risk due to improved air quality decrease of 6.6%. Exhaust carcinogen level decrease per ethanol ability to displace benzene and 1,3 butadiene.

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    • By Common Sense on September 7, 2014 at 10:44 am

      Does the study factor in increased fuel use due to lower fuel efficiency ?

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      • By Forrest on September 7, 2014 at 11:24 am

        The study was on air quality per fuel change to E15. Efficiency should not change, nor be a factor.

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  13. By Russ Finley on September 6, 2014 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve collected a few responses to Robert White’s comments into a single comment. We are all biased and it is good to acknowledge that fact. Robert works for the ethanol lobby so at least we know his bias. Bias does not necessarily mean that your reasoning or facts are wrong. A debate is essentially the display of opposing biases for an audience to judge.

    I am not sure why it is surprising that a fuel that can be used in 243 million vehicles, all motorcycles, and all small engines (on and off road) would have more spots to fill than a fuel that can be used in 16.5 million vehicles. Seems pretty simple, but since it deserved an article, let’s correct a few other things

    You are not surprised that there are six times more roadside gas stations catering to motorists who want to avoid ethanol than there are stations catering to motorists who want to use E85?

    …and motorcycles don’t need ethanol free gas. Ethanol free gas has always been available at marinas and airports for reasons we are all familiar with. It is becoming available at roadside gas stations for motorists purely as a result of market driven consumer demand. Pretty simple really.

    What states don’t allow the sale of E0? Even states like Missouri, which has a mandate, also allows E0. Minnesota is the same.

    All states that have made it illegal to sell gasoline without ethanol in it have caveats for things like aviation fuel, antique cars, and recreational vehicles. Although it is being allowed, technically, selling ethanol free fuel in those states to ordinary motorists for use in modern cars is illegal. According to Wikipedia, at one point there were ten states mandating that only gasoline with various percentages of ethanol could be sold. Some of those mandates, like in Florida, have been overturned. Others, like in Hawaii, may be overturned if they haven’t already been overturned. From Biofuels Digest:

    In Hawaii, proposed legislation in the state’s House of Representatives would see the requirement to blend E10 eliminated. The reasons behind the push is an attempt to counteract rising gas prices in the state that have gone up 41 cents a gallon over this time last year in Honolulu and Wailuku and in Hilo.

    Robert White continues:

    There is no additional cost for a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) for the consumer. Hasn’t been in the 16 model years they have been produced.

    I’m sure it depends on the car but GM’s Vice Chairman Tom Stephens says it “adds as much as $70 to the production cost” of a flex-fuel car. Consumer reports says: “Making cars E85-compatible costs automakers about $200 per car, according to some estimates.” It isn’t possible to pin the exact cost down for every car but obviously the additional parts are not free.

    E85 does not have a 30% fuel economy penalty.

    The penalty varies from car to car and more importantly, by the amount of ethanol in a tank of E85. See Robert Frye’s chart in his comment. See also Robert Rapier’s comment about the National Renewable Energy Lab study. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, because E85 may actually contain anywhere from 51% to 83% ethanol, it will get roughly 15% to 25% worse mileage than E-10, depending, or about 17% to 27% worse than ethanol free gasoline. Note that a 27 % penalty for 83% ethanol content is close enough to round to or simply say “roughly 30%.”

    Ethanol is selling for roughly $1/gal less than gasoline for fuel blenders, definitely a nice discount for users of E85

    Again from the U.S. Department of Energy:

    The cost of E85 relative to gasoline or E10 can vary due to location and fluctuations in energy markets. Though typically cheaper per-gallon than gasoline, it is often slightly more expensive on a cost-per-mile basis.

    Robert White continues:

    If they fear E10, they should read their owner’s manual. Every automaker since 1981 has endorsed and warranted the use of E10 in their vehicles. Believe the people that manufactured your vehicle, not someone that blogs.

    I made that same point in my article. Consider taking some of your own advice on the issue of E15.

    The market price of corn has returned to below production cost (simple research to do before writing an article).

    Costs of ethanol and corn vary over time. Simple economics. Using a single data point to extrapolate is pretty pointless. See graph below for a more realistic impact on corn prices (simple research to do before writing a comment):

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/CornPrices.jpg

    If the whole food for fuel argument still has any belief, there should not be an issue this year for anyone.

    Tripling the price of corn is a very real food issue for the poorest of the world who survive on basic staples like corn meal. Harsh fact of life, among many.

    Simple economics, when there is not a market, prices go down. There will be plenty of corn going to waste this year, or much being sold at a loss.

    That is correct. Simple economics also explains the present low price of ethanol. Ethanol producers have to lower their prices in an attempt to balance oversupply (lack of demand). What a shame that they can’t jack their prices to just below the current high price of gasoline to make a large profit. This is what happens when the government meddles with the market on such a grand scale.

    There is less corn acres planted today that in the early 1930′s.

    We called that the Dust Bowl years. There is a great PBS documentary on that subject. We don’t want a repeat of that disaster.

    There is only more conservation land being planted today because the conservation programs were cut by Congress.

    Farmers were not trying to capitalize on the record high price of corn?

    From the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition: “To a significant degree, this reduction tracks changes in CRP enrollment expected as a result of market forces …”

    From the National Wildlife Federation : “High commodity prices have reduced demand for CRP in recent years …”

    Farmers have to adapt and find a way to make a living, but they have done with all crops, not just corn.

    Not sure what you are trying to say.

    For those that want to pay more for imported products, I am glad they have a choice.

    Are you referring to cars, computers, cell phones, tools, food, clothing and just about everything else or just car fuel? Note that E85 is the only product on that list as a result of government mandated consumption.

    .

    Ethanol has helped lower their price of fuel..

    Studies on that topic don’t agree. It has also increased the price of fuel. See quote above about Hawaii fuel prices. Corn ethanol has for many years and until just recently tripled the price of corn.

    .

    Ethanol has also provided billions in tax revenue..

    Just as much tax revenue would have been paid by oil refiners instead of ethanol refiners if ethanol didn’t exist. Are you suggesting that cars that get high gas mileage are a bad idea because they reduce tax revenue?

    …countless jobs..

    Countless is actually not a bad choice of wording. In economics there is a term called “job destruction.” Before one can claim that any given new industry has created jobs you have to first prove that is hasn’t destroyed just as many. There is no proof that corn ethanol created more jobs than it destroyed.

    …and helped many in rural America return to their hometowns, or simply survive..

    Survive? By that you mean maintin their rural lifestyle rather than move to urban centers where the jobs are, like the rest of us? I have written many articles about corn ethanol and I agree with you on this point in that corn ethanol is essentially a round-about wealth redistribution scheme for the farm belt. I can’t say if that is overall a good thing or not. When did you last meet a saddle maker, lumberjack, buffalo hunter, or fur trader? Should we have created similar schemes to keep their lifestyles afloat? The market will always find ways to meet the demand for food. Preserving small farm businesses may not be the way the market does that.

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    • By Robert White on September 9, 2014 at 10:51 am

      I am not sure how to explain my “surprise” comment any better. If there are more than 20 times the engines that can use gasoline (w/ or w/o ethanol), and even the flex-fuel vehicles can use those too (perhaps they should be included?). It is like comparing diesel to E85. There are a lot more engines that can use it, so having more stations offering it should be a shock to zero people. And, if you think E0 has just been available at airports and marinas, you should make some calls or hit the road.

      You failed to mention a state that requires ethanol in every gallon. It is not true in Florida, they even dropped their mandate completely. Missouri doesn’t, Minnesota doesn’t and Hawaii requires it in only 75% of their fuel.

      The intent of the 75% mandate in Hawaii was to bring back sugar production in the state. All fuel is imported. That effort was unsuccessful to date, but ethanol still remains cheaper on the global market than ethanol. If you have something to suggest otherwise, please share.

      I didn’t say there was no addition cost to produce an FFV, I said, “There is no additional cost for a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) for the consumer.”

      You proved my point on fuel economy, will leave it at that.

      If your new statement on fuel economy is accurate, say 27% in worst case scenario, and the price of ethanol today is ~50% the price of gasoline, not sure how it could cost more per gallon OR per mile.

      Not sure what your point on E15 is, but if you read our materials you will find such advice. If you are concerned about using ethanol-blended fuels, read the research conducted and how the decision was made to approve, read your owner’s manuals, talk to your automaker, make an informed decision.

      I grew up on a farm, I know well how the price of corn affects the lives of people trying to raise it. I also am very aware that if fluctuates. I found it somewhat entertaining that you started your chart a year after a large drought, large prices, but that would have shown an issue with the logic. Or, perhaps the drought before that. I saw yesterday that the price of corn today is the same as it was in 1975. Unfortunately, not true of inputs and ultimate production cost. If the logic of RFS drives corn prices, what gives today? Do we just have to wait until next year and you can hope there is another drought?

      World hunger is a real deal, has been for decades, if not centuries. If you look at the global hunger rate, or those that have to deal with it daily, the number has dropped since the RFS was put into place. In fact, it has dropped 17% since 1990, according to the World Food Programme.

      If you are going to quote anti-farmer organizations, I am not sure how to respond. The number of additional acres put into farm production is still less than the number of acres Congress cut from conservation programs in 2008 and again this year. If the market was driving it, why didn’t they convert all they could?

      Now E85 is mandated by the government? Why don’t we have more stations if that is true?

      Corn ethanol has tripled the price of corn for many years? Your chart above shows two, and they happen to be in back-to-back drought years. I am not sure how corn ethanol caused the drought.

      I wasn’t referring to motor fuels taxes, but you know that.

      This is a new one, don’t see that often, what jobs did ethanol destroy?

      Actually, I just met some of those folks last month in South Dakota. I still live in the heartland, and my hometown is lucky to have an ethanol plant. While it seems we should have all just packed up and moved to the big city, I am not sure what that would do to a couple of your key points. If not one farms any longer, seems that food prices & corn prices would be an issue for you.

      It is obvious that you are against ethanol, maybe just corn ethanol, or maybe just anything that competes with petroleum. This website is known for that. My attempt was to point out the leaps that were made in this article so that others would do their own research. They don’t have to take my word on it, little of this response, or my initial one, were my opinions. Don’t be sheep, do your own research, form your own opinion.

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      • By Robert Rapier on September 9, 2014 at 11:27 am

        “It is obvious that you are against ethanol, maybe just corn ethanol, or maybe just anything that competes with petroleum. This website is known for that.”

        This website is known for debunking nonsense. Anyone who doesn’t have their ethanol blinders on can see that there has been a lot of mythology about ethanol promoted by the ethanol lobby. I seek to get to the underlying truth.

        We have people who write for this site that are pro-ethanol, and I personally am not anti-ethanol. In fact, I have written a lot about steps that should be taken to move the Midwest to an E85 standard. But I do insist that we have an honest debate about the issues. There are legitimate issues to be discussed, but the ethanol lobby likes to hand wave them away and pretend they aren’t there.

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  14. By Forrest on September 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    General comments on Ethanol Industry- The field corn cost vs food cost has been long studied. I have read no reports on corn cost increasing overall food cost. It was an accusation that sounded credible, but mostly foundation less. Food costs primarily a factor of labor, capital, and fuel costs. However, field corn cost is a factor for chicken and cattle production. Perdue was one throwing a fit as they benefited immensely from gov’t supported corn overproduction and didn’t like paying market price. Cattle got hit with consumers demanding healthier grass fed beef. Consumers also disgusted with corn syrup products. So, as these extremely low cost corn components done away with by consumer demand, prices increased per improved quality. As long as I can remember foreign farmers disgusted with U.S. subsidized corn as they could not compete. Current trend for international farmers is sustainable. If farmers do good, they feed the populace. BTW, ethanol has a proven track record per tempering gas price spikes and yes the fuel per BTU is cheaper than gasoline per CBOT. So, the net effect of ethanol has a positive effect on holding cost of food down.

    The point of having more ethanol free pumps vs E85 is an interesting comparison, but a bit of a stretch to claim consumers are making a choice to avoid ethanol per some popular demand. For instance, western states have always had plain ethanol free unleaded. They introduce Super Unleaded fuel aka E10. As far as I can tell the typical gas sign only advertises cost of Super Unleaded. Also, appears most use the fuel as the price difference is 30 cents. I have always liked this approach, as consumers do not like to be regulated to anything. Good to focus ethanol as a Super Unleaded as well per positive product perception. Michigan has mandated ethanol, but place warnings on pumps…”Warning, this fuel may contain up to 10% ethanol”. Ya, that helps the ethanol image. Also, the warnings on E15 or E85 must be a political compromise per petrol lobbyist to alarm citizens of danger of ethanol….

    The RFS can be portrayed as government regulated consumption. Meaning the voice of consumer is scuttled per Washington elites. It was introduced to stabilize a developing energy source. Back in Bush years the country was spiraling per crude oil import cost fluxuations. The Left hammered Bush per media fan flaming public to both enrage, disgust, and fear mongering. Conversely, the price of fuel nowadays is of little concern. Why is that? The RFS is an ingenious market device to preserve viability of competition. Petro has long track record of profit and hard ball competition, not always to benefit of the consumer. Ethanol is a tiny budding industry to this competition and needs a safe harbor to survive. Much of the market place is not consumer driven, but consumer manipulated.

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    • By Forrest on September 7, 2014 at 8:16 am

      The point of job creation per ethanol. Well, yes, one can safely state if ethanol has comparable lower mileage that it would produce more jobs and tax revenue per gallon sales. But, more importantly ethanol is actually producing fuel in the here and now. Crude oil is just a harvesting technique. It has no energy production, only pumping gallons. Also, one can say ethanol especially cellulosic ethanol is much more labor intensive as compare to pumping crude, piping crude, or shipping crude per giant tankers. Robert R. makes that point per the fuel competitiveness. Ethanol is trucked up and down roadways as corn and cellulose stocks. Now, this advantage is to petrol, but remember the country was totally dependent upon this energy source for many decades. The huge investment in infrastructure is a testament to petrol’s low labor needs. Ethanol is just climbing to this advantage. However, given this disadvantage it is very complimentary to ethanol to be the leader upon lowest cost of fuel use. Meaning ethanol future is bright and all trend lines are positive. Ethanol has a very positive job creation resume. The additional fuel stock does not deter petrol sales or development. Meaning the international market will more than gobble up what is produced.

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  15. By CharliePeters on September 7, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Corn fuel ethanol increase ozone?

    Dr. Stan’s California water & fuel supply opinion

    http://mediaarchives.gsradio.net/radioliberty/121213d.mp3

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    • By Forrest on September 7, 2014 at 7:57 am

      Ethanol from cold start engine with port or body injection will produce aldehyde (wine smell) than can be active with sunshine to ozone. Note, this only occurs upon cold start conditions and easily detected per the wine smell. Also, aldehyde is not itself a health concern as the emission is often described as pleasant per wine glass odor. The E10 fuel has more capability for this than plain gas. The DI engines have no such problem. Also, E15 produces less ozone than plain gas. Life Cycle Associates study of Chicago air quality, see below post. Remember the trick often told and attested to? If your old car had problems with tail pipe inspection, just fill up on E85 and make sure your car is warm before the test.

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  16. By Robert Frye on September 7, 2014 at 9:06 am

    INTERNAL COMBUSTION ENGINES ARE THERMAL MACHINES

    A) FUEL EFFICIENCY is a form of thermal efficiency, meaning the efficiency of a process which converts chemical-potential-energy of a fuel – to kinetic energy or work.
    B) When comparing the chemical-potential-energy of different fuels, the common denominator is a measure of BTUs in each fuel.

    C) The FUEL ECONOMY of an automobile is the fuel-efficiency-relationship between the distance traveled and the cost of fuel (BTUs) consumed by the vehicle.
    “The ABC’s of internal-combustion-engine-physics”

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    • By Forrest on September 7, 2014 at 11:50 am

      “When comparing the chemical-potential-energy of different fuels, the common denominator is a measure of BTUs in each fuel.”

      Don’t mistake common denominator verbiage as the only determinate to MPG. Meaning their is a whale load of factors to efficiency and mpg improvements. Fuel quality, fuel characteristics, engine design to exploit those characteristics, transmission, roadway, tires, and hundreds of others. Road tar or asphalt has very high BTU concentration. Also, miles per gallon is not a good measure of efficiency. BTU’s per mile a better measure. Also, consumers mainly concerned of pollution and low cost of fuel expenses. Why do most Americans dislike diesel cars? The Nutshell Fuel Economy Review is correct, just that it appears to malign fuels with lower BTU content. Ethanol fuel per the review would shine bright. Low cost, efficient, and least cost motor fuel. Also, the trend line for cost improvement and improved engine utilization a big factor for ethanol.

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  17. By Robert Frye on September 8, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Here is an article from the Omaha World Herald.

    http://www.omaha.com/money/lower-prices-the-selling-point-for-gas-with-higher-ethanol/article_b2576f61-39bf-53ed-88b1-245f9cae2b21.html

    The third paragraph down you will find this statement:

    “The savings were more than decent. Pierce’s E85 cost $2.89 a gallon, versus $3.47 for E10. On a 15-gallon fill-up, that works out to almost $9. Done weekly, that’s almost $40 a month.”

    1) How accurate is the above statement?

    2) Use what you know about energy densities (see BTU chart), mileage penalties, and respective fuel costs (defined in the article) to estimate what Mr. Pierce ACTUALLY saves or loses. Lets see if we get the same numbers -

    EPA dyno-test-data on a 2013 Dodge Grand Caravan (E-0 vs E85):
    http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/noframes/32810.shtml

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    • By Forrest on September 8, 2014 at 11:49 am

      It’s not quite that simple. As noted below EPA MPG rating are just simple BTU calculations and not based on road tests. As RR posted, a test sample did drop mileage according to BTU drop, but again this is just a small sample. First, the Dodge mileage drop is 30%, that’s over the worse case calculations of -27%. E85 has an ethanol range from 50% to 85%, RF had the exact number on his post. So, if your getting E50% it’s a bargain, with low mileage drop. Yesterday went past an E85 pump that was $1.20 below unleaded. I will grantee anything close to a dollar difference will always go to ethanol advantage. Also, modern engine technology can sense octane improvement and will advance ignition timing. This alone will throw the mpg calcs off to ethanol advantage. They do other things such as EGR increase, valve timing, shifts, etc. Really, it depends on particular engine ability to advantage ethanol fuel. Ethanol fuel will produce more torque and advantage operator to quicker take offs, better trailer towing capability, better high altitude power. It’s akin to having a chemical turbo for making engine more powerful. With ethanol you could use a smaller engine. If your shifting manually you can shift earlier, saving fuel in town. Also, E85 has very low vapor pressure, which in turn greatly lowers that side of emissions, now about 50% of auto total. Also, all the carcinogens displaced for healthier air.

      I followed a auto enthusiasts engineer whom decided to custom built an E85 engine. He tricked out the Honda for incredible power. He also ran his own programmer to tweak engine to E85 optimal settings. The car would beat his old unleaded MPG upon normal road travel. He couldn’t burn unleaded in the engine any more, though. Also, some of the testing per EPA is or was skewed per utilization of test fuel. This was brewed per Petro Engineer specs to maintain constant benchmark for testing purposes. It’s extremely expensive fuel and not close to typical fuel supply. Test samples of gasoline often tweaked as their is no standard gasoline per fuel supply. Their is over one hundred chemical compounds floating about the brew in ever changing makeup. You guessed it, petrol would brew up advantage test fuel to compare with ethanol. EPA has now financed the expensive process to certify more normal unleaded petrol for more accurate tests. Much of the small engine fuel line tests or polymer tests were bogus. The MPG ratings might be off per this practice as well. Toluene utilized as octane booster if not utilizing ethanol for the boost. Toluene is nasty stuff, attacks plastics, and registered per EPA for health effects. Ethanol is the way to boost octane, period. It has all the good stuff to make plain gas better and do so cheaper and healthier.

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      • By Robert Frye on September 8, 2014 at 3:45 pm

        Thanks for your reply, Forrest.
        (if this goes to “see more”, please don’t miss my questions at the very bottom)

        Lets’ eliminate some of the variables mentioned.

        1) Ethanol % in E-85:
        You may have missed that the article says it’s E-85, with 85% ethanol. But, please feel free to assign any % of E wanted for E-85. Just stipulate what % is used.

        2) DOE & EPA Fuel Economy Tests:
        You state: “EPA MPG ratings are “just simple BTU calculations and not based on road tests”. How Vehicle are tested are at: http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/how_tested.shtml

        If you’ll go to this site and also read all the links on the left, you’ll see these tests are not “simply calculated”, but data generated by performance on controlled, sophisticated dynamometers programed to simulate various road-driving conditions, wind drag, terrain, etc.
        This is probably better than road tests (when comparing fuels) because all conditions are precisely programed and EQUALIZED across the production vehicles and models tested, taking into account the various tested model’s ABILITY TO OPTIMISE different fuels. If someone can come up with better, more credible, and fair testing methods, I’m sure they’d love to hear of them.
        I think most would agree that we seldom, if ever, get the same conditions twice when testing our own MPG on our various tests. The EPA signed off on these tests. Aren’t they the same guys who mandate E-fuels?

        3) Vehicle In This Case Study:

        Lets’ agree to confine this study to the stock production vehicle Mr. Pierce owns and is written about in this article. I can’t confirm this, but I’m fairly confident Mr. Pierce HASN’T “tricked-it-out”. It’s probably as “stock”, as “stock” can get.

        4) Summary:

        Forrest, you sound like pretty capable gent. If you prefer not to use the Dodge Caravan and BTU data, feel free to use your own methods and calculations. Is Mr. Pierce mistaken on his true savings? How would you advise Mr. Pierce on his fuel purchases (for his vehicle) if he were your father or grandfather? Don’t confuse him with things he won’t likely understand. Give him good SUCCINCT advice for 1) HIS situation, 2) TODAY, with 3) HIS vehicle and pocket-book in mind.

        Thanks again Forrest.

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    • By Forrest on September 9, 2014 at 8:34 am

      They stopped making Dodge Caravan in 2007. I have read up on EPA test method. It can be utilized for general comparisons of MPG model to model, but not in estimating your personal mileage. Their testing results were wholesale adjusted twice per gross percentage reductions. This doesn’t bode well for their claim of accuracy. The alternative fuels estimates of MPG just a math calculation. Best to utilize real life mileage per tank fill-ups. Many, including myself keep records of mpg. The readout mileage in my car can vary 4 MPG and typically 2 MPG higher than actual. My MIL auto will gradually decrease and only accurate for short reset period. My particular 1/2 t pickup beats unleaded cost if thirty cent spread on E85. But, I have migrated to splash blend lower blends than E85, per my nonflex truck. I remember a farmer whom excited of ’14 flex Focus purchase that kept good records. Fuelly is a good web site to record and discover MPG of vehicles. It is shocking the vast spread of mileage. The 2014 Ford Focus range from 19 to 42 MPG with the mean about 32 to 34 MPG. This new owner of the flex car reports 30 MPG on E85 as typical per his country location and probably road trips. Use these real numbers to calculate the cost savings upon fueling up on E85 with fuel spread of $.58 spread and note currently that is a poor spread. Around here it’s typical $1 spread.

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      • By Forrest on September 9, 2014 at 8:47 am

        Oh, I see now the Grand Caravan is not a sub-model. Fuelly has 13 to 27 mpg per the flex model on unleaded, probably E10. The mean is 19 to 21 but appears the 17-21 MPG a better range. Doesn’t appear to be a popular car.

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      • By Robert Frye on September 9, 2014 at 10:18 am

        Thanks Forrest.

        You state: “Around here it’s typical $1 spread”.
        I assume when you say “typical”, you mean common and usual. Is this a correct assumption?
        Please provide where “around here is”. Cities and station names would be helpful. I’ll respectfully need to verify that for my research documentation.

        http://www.e85prices.com/

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        • By Forrest on September 9, 2014 at 11:16 am

          My favorite closest station Shell at x66 I-94, but the Speedway truck stop across the way pretty good. I’ve had min $1 spread for going on one year. I’ve mentioned this before, but the story of good ethanol spreads appears to be linked with those ethanol plants hooking directly up with retail. RR mentioned this once as a solution. By keeping out of petrol supply chain the cost and supply is improved. It doesn’t make sense to hand over your product to adversary. Even if the adversary owns the traditional supply chain. This does not have to be the case for E85 fuel. The field to tank efficiency is incredibly efficient upon this distribution. A lot of funny business going on upon traditional route. CBOT prices often below $2/g for ethanol yet by the time E85 get to retail it’s $3.48/g or worse? Also, brand name gas stations will not allow E85 prices to be on marquee. Some will put up a cheap sign on ground with price to inform public. Some licenses even forbid sales of “competing” products. Independents appear to fully support ethanol and have realized the opportunity to increase traffic sales. E15 price spread makes your product appear very competitive, especially with customers discovering the premium fuel characteristics, with additional benefit of reduced pollution. The blender pumps double the benefit and cost of the pump has dropped. The pump manufactures have already projected this flex pump will become the standard as customers love choice.

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          • By Robert Frye on September 9, 2014 at 11:54 am

            “Shell at x66 & I-94″
            “Speedway Truck Stop across the way”
            What city and state, Forrest?
            Any others?

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            • By Forrest on September 9, 2014 at 1:48 pm

              Better yet why don’t you look up “Yellow Hose” for listing of participants whom sign up for program to always price E85 at one dollar below unleaded. I believe this is a Michigan thing. Did you check E85prices.com? You can download an apt to post updated prices and station finder. I don’t use the service, but they have the best data base. Government data is way obsolete. Around here the E85 stations follow freeways or rural towns within close distance to ethanol plant. Lansing, Battle Creek, and Grand Rapids have all good prices. Upper peninsula not so good. Are you trying to find cheaper E85? Where do your live and do you use high blends of ethanol? Best to spend some time as consumer of ethanol blends to get better information. Nothing better than reality.

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            • By Robert Frye on September 9, 2014 at 2:04 pm

              Question repeated:
              “Shell at x66 & I-94″
              “Speedway Truck Stop across the way”

              These two stations above – what city and state, Forrest?

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            • By Forrest on September 9, 2014 at 2:37 pm

              Why is this important? I don’t like giving personal info out as a practice, but if it will help your cause….Mattawan, Michigan

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            • By Robert Frye on September 9, 2014 at 4:21 pm

              Thanks Forrest -
              You stated:
              “but the Speedway truck stop across the way pretty good”.
              Speedway (of Mattawan) Prices AT 2:00 PM today:
              $3.599 for Reg.
              E-85 is $2.999
              The person I talked to wasn’t sure if “Reg.” was E-0 or E-10
              Which is it? Seems like an E-0 price based on today’s market. What do you think? You are close by – check it out. Also double check the E%
              If so, on a 20 gallon fill of E-0…it would cost an extra $12.21 to get the same number of BTU’s from E-85 (if it’s 85% E).
              If it was E-10 (for 20 gallons) it would cost an extra $9.36 to get the same number BTUS from E-85 (if it’s 85% E).
              The Shell E-85 is priced a dollar cheaper, as you said.
              If the Shell is E-0 (with their respective prices of $3.599 and $2.599) …it would cost and extra $0.98 to get the same BTUs (on 20 gallon fill) from E-85 (if it’s 85%).
              If you find my assumptions are wrong on E% – I’ll be happy to re-run the numbers.
              Thanks again, Forrest. Remember I don’t have a “dog” in your fight with “Big-Oil” …my mission is strictly “cost of BTUs on a comparative basis between fuels – for the consumer”.

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            • By Forrest on September 9, 2014 at 4:57 pm

              It’s all E10 in Michigan. Also, you don’t know what the exact ethanol content and you don’t know the actual MPG of vehicle or driving conditions. If it were all BTU driven, why the huge variance upon mpg numbers per the fuely website? Not to many consumers are shopping for BTU as diesel would be a top seller. Ethanol would do better in high torque requirement such as hill climbing, high wind, high gear ratio, or pulling trailer. It all depends on particular engine technology and vehicle. A small engine flex fuel is better such as comparing a 4 cylinder E85 pulling same load as V-6 gas. Also, depends on ability of engine to advance timing (popular in newer models), change compression per valve timing, and ability to utilize EGR. The EGR is a potent strategy per engine technology especially for ethanol as the fuel is better adapted. They push exhaust gas into combustion chamber to cut down oxygen content, whereupon low hp needs of the vehicle at met, the engine need not just waste gas to balance fuel mixture per pollution concerns. It’s akin to making the engine smaller. A couple years back the X-Prize winner for four passenger car won top MPG circuit testing per E85 ability to do this. Beating out even diesel engine. Also, consumers like the premium quality of fuel which is often described as smoother and more peppy. Not to mention consumers like buying renewable fuel, less polluting fuel, and a fuel that apparently produces more jobs and tax revenue per gallon.

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            • By Robert Frye on September 9, 2014 at 6:47 pm

              Please read Robert Rapiers opinion at the following link:
              http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2009/09/13/an-urban-legend-falls/

              An Excerpt:
              “Note that NREL is pro-ethanol, and the goals of
              blending more ethanol into the U.S. gasoline supply would be more easily accomplished had the ACE-sponsored study been confirmed. Instead, the NREL study gave the expected results: As more ethanol was blended, the fuel economy
              fell commensurate with the energy density as a linear trend. None of the outliers found in the previous study were observed.”
              You are more than entitled to your bias and opinion Forrest, but please provide some solid, independent, repeatable data on the numerous claims you are making through out your posts.

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 7:03 am

              Oh, thanks for allowing my bias. Weren’t you the guy whom had no dog in the fight? Just an honest broker looking for info all full of thankfulness for providers? I thought we shared open minded review comparison of fuel. I’m not against petrol, as stated before. I like and thankful for the limited resource. I assumed you would equally be thankful for ethanol. You know since ethanol makes gasoline a better fuel. You seem to be caught up in BTU ratings, but that is only one character trait of fuel, granted an important one. I bet your sad that ethanol wasn’t utilized per history for octane boost, you know since they chose deadly lead instead. The heavy metal that we hear so much about affecting health. Very sad to think of the tonnage of lead sprayed upon populace. After the inventor of tetra ethyl died of lead poisoning you would normally suspect the heavy metal dangerous to good health. I bet your said that gasoline doesn’t contain more ethanol, you know since the fuel first displaces the most unhealthy element, i.e. E15% reduces cancer rate 6%. You must be happy that ethanol makes more jobs. Iowa had little problem with recession per the investment dollars of ethanol. It is great that the fuel can extend the fuel supply isn’t it? Your happy ethanol is renewable, right? That the carbon rating is so low and the emissions so low.

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 7:13 am

              You must be happy of use of ethanol within gas as the additive superior in both cost and improving fuel character of gas. Nice to not utilize the nasty aromatics per the health problems of petrol based octane boosters, right? Nice that ethanol is cheaper than all those other additives.
              If BTU’s were the only determinate of mileage…why does the auto industry claim they need higher octane fuels to improve efficiency? Should they instead use diesel fuel? Also, why is the Diesel cycle more efficient than Otto cycle? You know, since it’s not a factor of BTU. How can they make more efficient engine with the same fuel, if BTU is the only truth. Same with huge variances within MPG of market upon real world experiences of driving public?

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 7:32 am

              I did read that study that you linked to, back, was it seven years ago? I maintain the same evaluation. The test, basically a test of oxygen sensor. Ethanol carries liquid oxygen a much sought after trait of fuel combustion efficiency. All things being equal, the fuel map of vehicle will squirt more fuel into combustion chamber once the oxygen sensor pick up the element on exhaust side. Some of the cars originally did get better mileage upon test. This was an indicator to testers that the oxygen sensor not bright and shiny not detecting every oxygen element. BTW, this is quite typical of real life vehicle inventory. The emissions system of auto’s totally engineered around gasoline as this fuel the biggest problem. EPA’s primary concern of high ethanol blends is the engine light will come on if detecting high blends. This is only for non flex vehicles as they have not gone through the costly EPA certification. I was reading of GM employee whom had access to company paperwork. The bill of material for flex fuel vehicle almost the same as non flex, all other things being equal. Just the eprom (or whatever the new engine software device) and sticker. Also, ethanol high level bends, not much concern per air emissions, so this leads me to believe the EPA just holding up auto companies per gaining wealth.

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 7:45 am

              The best fuel comparison for consuming public is to purchase the fuel and keep track of mileage log. Their is a ton of variables upon MPG. So, reality is best and more accurate. Also, knowing the individual fuel attributes a good thing. For instance I know of truck owner whom was not worried of pulling his trailer per his underpowered, but good MPG vehicle. He fills up on E85 when trailer pulling for additional power. What would his fuel cost be if E85 wasn’t an option? To run a beefy gas guzzler around for light duty trips. So, how to compute that advantage? Same with snow plow trucks that only need top torque for short season. Some people just want more power and chose E85. I do think E85, if it were not for all the benefits mentioned above, will continue to serve public as an alternative fuel. Meaning nice to have options, if for instance ISIS can achieve wrecking Middle East fuel supply. BTW, expert analysis of terror groups claim they profit heavily from expensive crude oil sales. This the profit that keeps these groups afloat.

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 7:51 am

              Ethanol, also, can claim much praise per the ability of small business and poor countries to once again invest in good farming equipment and practices. This is a good factor in feeding the populace. Ethanol is a simple pure molecule that can easily processed to compete against petrol as the Petrol supply chain requires massive international corporation investment and technology. Most citizens think the poorer among us getting a break a good thing. Ethanol is potent per the competitive ability to keep petrol honest. Meaning we need not be hostage to a few choices or suppliers that have been accused of collusion.

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 8:10 am

              Reality testing was good for my fuel purchase comparison. My pickup only loses 15% on E85 typically. It does vary seasonally and trip wise. Winter I chose less ethanol content, primarily as the truck does not have flex fuel status. I have years of data on switching back and forth with ethanol content, concentration, and running plain E10. The vehicle has consumed much ethanol over the years and has zero issues per the 260k mileage. I had another car, just sold that acted identical. Now, I supposed if I overhauled the entire emissions system the gas mileage would drop, but I’m happy the way it is. Also, knowing the net effect is superior to plain gas per overall emissions. Note that European environmental standards different that U.S.. They have different opinions on what should be controlled. Europe is more concerned of overall pollution stream. U.S. stresses over getting the specific results per engine. Meaning the U.S. will not give a high mileage vehicle a break, if the model needs to violate a small percentage of emission. For example diesel high mpg is given more leeway per the overall pollution stream. In U.S. the standards were just out of reach for diesel back some years. U.S. had to make vehicles with less MPG for EPA certs. The overall pollution stream was bigger. This doesn’t make sense to the primary mission of EPA does it? Also, can’t the international community come together to standardize important objective of pollution control. Thus giving car manufactures a break. Why does the U.S. EPA attempt to separate the fly poop from pepper and do so with zero consideration of cost vs benefit? My suspicion per normal bureaucratic creep is to gain power, job security, and wealth.

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 8:16 am

              For instance EPA priority for auto emissions is to dump extra rich fuel per exhaust to light up converter. This is horrible for short trip pollution. Also, since auto emissions are custom for petrol concerns the same trick doesn’t work for E85 as the fuel burns to clean to quickly light up converter. Now is this a bad thing or a good thing? Basically, engine technology has totally been abducted to emissions standards game as defined by EPA. This the most costly concern to manufacturers. It’s not to consumers as they are more practical with money. Consumers don’t like to spend ever more money on lessening results as they want to continue to afford vehicle transportation.

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            • By Forrest on September 11, 2014 at 7:41 am

              Refer to this link for interesting info:

              http://www.hindawi.com/journals/isrn/2012/219703/#B13

              It’s a Italian ’12 study of ethanol effects on engine thermal efficiency. Some key points: My comments in parentheses.

              1. All engines achieved correct air fuel ratio. “So, it would appear modern cars are mostly flex fuel capabile.”

              2. Efficiency increased with ethanol content, E10 gained 3.2%, E20 = 5.5%, E30 = 5.8%, E85 = 9.9%

              3. Head temperature decreased with increasing ethanol content. “Small engine manufactures take note”

              Also, the study had graphs on pollutant stream that greatly decreased per increased ethanol content. All the tested engines had ability to change spark advance. These engines typical, but not upon the current state of art of utilizing higher blends of ethanol. Meaning they have a long road to improve engine efficiency, double that with high blend fuels.

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            • By Forrest on September 11, 2014 at 7:55 am

              Another factor on not being able to calculate MPG with book values of fuel mix. E85 gasoline portion can vary upon who is doing the blending and region of country. Because the large ethanol content has superior fuel characteristics for combustion and emissions the gasoline portion can be inferior to other base stocks. From RBOB, regular gas, natural unprocessed gasoline, and other over inventory fuel stock. Best to determine MPG is real world tests. Also, good to test different blends and test for trips vs regular driving. Some one else post of experience (mine also) the use of ethanol change up will occur something like this. Poor mileage, but upon a gradual improvement trend finally stabilizing if keeping consistent mix.

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            • By Forrest on September 11, 2014 at 9:12 am

              Two cycle engines most vulnerable to lean operating conditions as the engines designed to be light, low cost, and max horsepower per weight concerns. While per years of personal experience E10 fuel no problem other than higher idle speed. It is adjustable, but not much of a problem. In theory E15 could increase the threat of lean condition, if these engines haven’t been adjusted for the fuel. Chain saw’s run to so extreme high performance, professional loggers have long been accustomed to tweaking fuel hi lo jets for minor changes in fuel, mix, atmospheric conditions and BTU variances as well as condition of spark plug. They operate on the fringe of failure to burn fuel more completely, develop horsepower, and operate at max conditions. The sales are driven by horsepower and weight. Boat motors have similar marketing concerns. Enter E85 a fuel that will achieve more torque and horsepower and accomplish the feat with less head temperature. Piston failure upon high performance two cycle engine the most common catastrophic failure. The piston doesn’t get a break to decrease temps as compared to four cycle engines. Also, the small engines pollute more per hour than your large vehicles. So, again E85 if it were a stable blend of ethanol and gasoline would be a natural. Some claim lube oil within two cycle mix is more unstable upon ethanol mix. I haven’t found this to be true, but nonetheless it happens frequently with plain gas of old. One should always shake the fuel can for optimum fueling. Same if you worry of phase separation per extremely humid long term fuel storage with fuel cap missing. Vigorously stir the mixture will mitigate the danger as well as avoiding max horsepower use until the mix is burned. If you want maximum protection of two cycle running on E85 switch to more expensive, but much more protective vegetable oils. They have reputation of working well with ethanol. Also, lean conditions often encountered upon small engine abuse will not be as damaging upon E85 fuel. These attributes well documented. The roadblock to this change over, probably due to lack of widespread availability of E85 and probably the inconsistency of the blend. Also I suspect the EPA is holding up (as bank robber) the manufactures per costly certification. I hope not as that completely goes against the agency’s commission to promote low emissions. Note, I am not saying your current small engines can run E85, it is just a post of the sensibility of manufactures to start producing engines specifically for the fuel advantages.

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            • By Robert Rapier on September 10, 2014 at 11:13 am

              “Oh, thanks for allowing my bias. Weren’t you the guy whom had no dog in the fight? Just an honest broker looking for info all full of thankfulness for providers?”

              I know why he is asking the questions. It isn’t that he is or isn’t thankful for ethanol — that’s not the issue. He is trying to get the best possible data for how ethanol impacts fuel economy. Your comments are helping him get to that point, but don’t mistake his counterpoints for arguing against ethanol. That’s not what he is doing.

              He is trying to calculate the financial impact — good, bad or indifferent –when someone fuels up with various ethanol blends. He is trying to answer the question “At this point in time with today’s prices, which fuel is the most cost-effective for me?” That answer may change from week to week, but he is trying to make sure that he is basing it on the best possible data.

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            • By Forrest on September 10, 2014 at 11:55 am

              I think your right, but his claim of BTU the only indicator is incorrect. The best and easiest evaluation is to personally test the fuel per the personal transport. That would include such factors as altitude, hills, age of vehicle, driving style, need for power improvement and technology of engine. Also, the percent of ethanol is hard to determine as is the unleaded alternative fuel comparison. Meaning the exercise would be speculative if going by gross BTU numbers. It would be nice to have some personal experience upon the fuel, as well. This can’t be a one tank venture, but over time with good records the experience and costs and benefits will become self evident. Reading reports a good academic exercise, but one can only hope to generalize upon ones personal expectations. In general when price has high differential the better ethanol fuel becomes as one would expect. Now days not a big expense either way. Also, most will have additional evaluations to fuel other than pocketbook. I do think ethanol fuel benefits has only slightly been exploited and future trend line should favor ethanol. For instance the EGR value to minimize fuel use per low horsepower need is a big plus for ethanol. Down sizing engines and turbo boosting with DI all favor ethanol fuel characteristics. Same with increasing compression raito’s. But, one must remember the auto technology in near future could only benefit from E30. Meaning E85 is fine but Otto engine technology will not be able to maximize the fuel benefits. E85 then would only be in position to cost compete per BTU. The diesel side of things appears to be interested per Cummings recent engine development. You may see farm tractors utilizing the fuel in future. Also, small engines per lack of pollution control ability should look into E85 fuel. Especially the two cycle folks and marine use. Racing has long preference for the fuel. I could see EPA agreement to single fuel high performance sports car to E85 per consumer desire. There is a long learning curve still ahead how to properly use alternative fuels. Ethanol has long history with petrol and together than can achieve more for countries best interests.

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            • By Forrest on September 23, 2014 at 8:14 am

              “my mission is strictly “cost of BTUs on a comparative basis between fuels – for the consumer”.

              The consumer interest per fuel choice would probably rank #1 quality fuel, #2 lower cost, and #3 environmental benefits. Ethanol improves the quality of fuel for a host of benefits. Ethanol lowers the cost of gasoline per blend stock cost, lower cost ethanol, and eliminating costly of additives. Ethanol improves environmental rating of gasoline. At what point you chose to indulge in higher level blends of ethanol is a bit of personal preference, availability, cost, and ability of vehicle. BTU is not a direct gauge to mileage upon modern engine technology. Mercedes-Benz tested their fleet vehicles per E20 and found no change in MPG as the fuel’s higher octane more than offset the -4% in BTU of fuel loss. Their “Blue DIRECT” engines good to run E20. Particle emissions down 50%. GW gas emissions of the cellulosic ethanol side enjoy 95% savings. Of interest Oak Ridge Lab finds E30 blends deliver 13.7% efficiency increase per engine downsizing and EGR utilization.

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            • By Robert Frye on September 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm

              “BTU is not a direct gauge to mileage upon modern engine technology”.
              I’m not talking about future engine designs. I’m talking about the overwhelming-vast-majority of the cars on the road today (underline “today”). The average age of the cars on the road today is said to be 9 – 11 years old. You tell me what that CR is….and if it’s optimal for the COST PER MILE benefits you mention.
              My debate centers on 1) the vast majority of vehicles on the road TODAY and 2) typical price spreads between different fuel options at the multi-grade pumps-also providing E-grades.
              It wouldn’t bother me a bit if E-grades were priced to the “cost- per-mile advantage. I would welcome it. But, typically (underline “typically”) they are not….today. Forrest – I don’t question whether there will be future technologies. I already agree, there will be –
              Again. 1) TODAY with 2) typical vehicle on the road, with 3) typical price spreads on fuel grades. I can’t seem to gets these 3 points across to you for some reason – why?
              If you find I’m wrong – show the unbiased, independent, peer reviewed data.

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            • By Forrest on September 23, 2014 at 6:10 pm

              We have no data for your car. Your particular driving habits, operation altitude, engine condition, and E85 blend, will not accurately translate per standard testing to accurate mileage. This is why EPA has a devil of a time when they test each model on plain gas as consumers complain when getting a wide range of mileage. In general your mileage will go down 10 to 27 percent given standard conditions of unleaded vs E85. If you want actual test results, test yourself. This is more accurate. Also, best to maintain records for longer duration and upon different blends. In general non flex autos, cars of older year do the best per lack of ability to trip check engine light. These older cars have less ability per oxygen sensor feedback. These cars and trucks lose roughly 15% per my long experience upon multiple vehicles. Also, there is is per much personal testimony and anecdotal evidence of consumer experience likewise. Now this assumes you don’t attempt to overhaul your pollution control system. Were talking of common cars in common condition. New cars with bright shiny oxygen sensors, with no ignition advance per knock sensor, with no Atkinson cycle variable valve timing do the worse as they also probably have no engine programing to optimize per ethanol combustion. This class of engine designed just to burn ethanol at the lowest engineering cost and claim flex fuel status. This an abuse of earlier flex fuel models as car companies harvested much mpg fleet credit for doing so. So, the old teck gas guzzlers magically became “Green” per ability to burn ethanol. If your just on the hunt per damming accusations check in to API testing and website as they spend a fortune on negative advertising per fear mongering. They focus on quality of fuel as ethanol quality has much potential to hurt petrol image. If you want ethanol defense check into bio fuel sites with links for testing, reporting, economics etc.

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            • By Robert Frye on September 23, 2014 at 1:00 pm

              I already agree that E-10 is typically the “lowest cost-per-mile” fuel choice in A) today’s typical retail markets for B) todays typical car on the road.

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  18. By Aaron Walsh on September 8, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Looking through the 5 points here, I notice some inconsistencies. When I read the title, I thought we were focusing on folks who put ethanol free gasoline into FFVs. It’s fine to have that discussion, but it’s not quite the same thing as E10 versus E0 (which it sounds to me is more of the focus for this article). With the food argument brought up in point 3, I begin to question the authenticity of the article. The notion of ethanol use causing food prices to go up seems so old that it predates ethanol, and it has been used and milked dry. Number 3 above is consistent with all arguments utilizing the “food vs fuel” debate – never even giving openness to the idea that food prices increasing may have another factor involved. $4/gallon diesel anyone?

    Now granted, I’m an ethanol supporter and activist. But it seems like “food vs fuel” is a one-sided argument.

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  19. By newpapyrus on September 9, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    There’s no logical reason to use crops to make ethanol when you can use urban an rural biowaste to make methanol which can easily be converted into carbon neutral gasoline.

    Marcel

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  20. By Russ Finley on September 10, 2014 at 2:33 am

    I am not sure how to explain my “surprise” comment any better.

    It’s surprising that there are 7 times more stations selling E0 than E85. Why? Because in a free market, supply strives to meet demand, i.e., the number of gas stations serving a given fuel will be roughly proportional to the number of motorists seeking that particular fuel, E0, diesel, E85 etc. To put it more simply, there are 7 times more people trying to avoid ethanol in their gasoline than there are people trying to burn E85. It isn’t from a lack of Flex fuel cars, which have been in production for 16 years. It’s because 90% of people who own them don’t go out of their way to burn E85. The dearth of E85 stations is and example of supply meeting demand.

    …if you think E0 has just been available at airports and marinas, you should make some calls or hit the road.

    Strawmen arguments don’t work in a comment field. I never said E0 has “just been available at airports and marinas.”

    You failed to mention a state that requires ethanol in every gallon.

    Again, that isn’t what I said. Why your hair is on fire about the legality of selling E0, I cannot say, but here is what I said:

    All states that have made it illegal to sell gasoline without ethanol in it have caveats for things like aviation fuel, antique cars, and recreational vehicles. Although it is being allowed, technically, selling ethanol free fuel in those states to ordinary motorists for use in modern cars is illegal. According to Wikipedia, at one point there were ten states mandating that only gasoline with various percentages of ethanol could be sold.

    Robert White continues:

    The intent of the 75% mandate in Hawaii …Hawaii requires it in only 75% of their fuel.

    I’m unaware of any Hawaii legislation called the “75% Mandate.” The legislation I’m referring to requires/required, and I quote from the legislation, “that gasoline sold in the State for use in motor vehicles contain ten per cent ethanol by volume.” It does not say that 75% of the gasoline sold in the State for use in motor vehicles contain ten percent ethanol by volume.

    The intent of the 75% mandate in Hawaii was to bring back sugar production in the state. All fuel is imported. That effort was unsuccessful to date, but …

    All correct, except that part about 75%. They are burning primarily corn ethanol. You can read the legislation introduced to overturn the law here:

    The legislature finds that the ten per cent ethanol requirement has not yielded the lower fuel prices or energy independence that was expected when the law was passed. The legislature further finds that, to the contrary, the ethanol requirement has helped keep fuel prices high by forcing refiners to import the ethanol additive. Despite several planned ethanol plants and an abundance of vacant sugarcane land, no plants have been built and a meaningful quantity of ethanol has yet to be produced in Hawaii. Producing ethanol in Hawaii remains economically unfeasible unless subsidies are provided. As a result, gasoline prices in the State will continue to reflect the added expenses of purchasing ethanol from foreign suppliers and transporting it to the State.

    Robert White continues:

    …but ethanol still remains cheaper on the global market than ethanol.

    And again from the U.S. Department of Energy:

    The cost of E85 relative to gasoline or E10 can vary due to location and fluctuations in energy markets. Though typically cheaper per-gallon than gasoline, it is often slightly more expensive on a cost-per-mile basis.

    Ignoring your debate partner’s previous responses also doesn’t work in a comment fied. It provides him/her a chance to reiterate their point by simply copying and pasting it again:

    Costs of ethanol and corn vary over time. Simple economics. Using a single data point to extrapolate is pretty pointless (simple research to do before writing a comment). See graph below for a more realistic impact on corn prices:

    http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/CornPrices.jpg

    Robert White continues:

    If you have something to suggest otherwise, please share.

    Not sure what you mean by that. If you want me to suggest other ways to save consumers money, reduce the loss of conservation reserve land, reduce the size of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone, reduce the cost of food …well, driving any car that gets about 2% better gas mileage than what one now drives instead of using replacing 10% of the gasoline in your tank with ethanol would do the trick.

    I didn’t say there was no addition cost to produce an FFV, I said, “There is no additional cost for a flex-fuel vehicle (FFV) for the consumer.”

    ???

    You proved my point on fuel economy, will leave it at that.

    I’m pretty sure I didn’t.

    If your new statement on fuel economy is accurate, say 27% in worst case scenario …

    That wasn’t my statement. That came from the U.S. Department of Energy. That worse case scenario would be the purchase of a tank of E85 that actually contains 85% ethanol instead of the minimum allowed blend to call it E85, which is 51%. Let me cut and paste what I said earlier:

    According to the U.S. Department of Energy, because E85 may actually contain anywhere from 51% to 83% ethanol, it will get roughly 15% to 25% worse mileage than E-10, depending, or about 17% to 27% worse than ethanol free gasoline. Note that a 27 % penalty for 83% ethanol content is close enough to round to or simply say “roughly 30%.”

    Robert White continues:

    …and the price of ethanol today is ~50% the price of gasoline, not sure how it could cost more per gallon OR per mile.

    I would hope that at least some Energy Trends readers must be rolling their eyes at your repeated attempts to portray this temporary tanking of ethanol prices as the past and future normal. The price is low right now because ethanol refiners can’t sell enough of the stuff. If it continues to be this low relative to gasoline there will be bankruptcies. They are trying to unload it.

    Not sure what your point on E15 is, but if you read our materials you will find such advice

    Please provide readers with the link to your website that advises them not to use E15 unless their car warranty specifically allows it.

    I grew up on a farm …

    …but you are not a farmer?

    I know well how the price of corn affects the lives of people trying to raise it. I also am very aware that if fluctuates.

    Yet you pretend that ethanol does not follow the same rules …

    I found it somewhat entertaining that you started your chart a year after a large drought, large prices, but that would have shown an issue with the logic.

    I find it somewhat entertaining that you didn’t mention that for the ten years following the year the chart started the price of a bushel of corn averaged $2.00.

    I saw yesterday that the price of corn today is the same as it was in 1975.

    You have repeatedly mentioned that the price of corn is presently low. How does that one data point nullify all of the years it was at record highs?

    If the logic of RFS drives corn prices, what gives today?

    Simple RFS logic:

    Supply exceeds demand = too much ethanol = low ethanol prices and less demand for corn. Less demand for corn = lower corn prices.

    Do we just have to wait until next year and you can hope there is another drought?

    I don’t follow. All else being equal, droughts reduce supply relative to demand, increasing corn/ethanol prices. This is an ethanol glut problem caused by an oversupply of ethanol relative to demand, caused in part by the blend wall forcing the EPA to reconsider blending percentages.

    World hunger is a real deal, has been for decades, if not centuries. If you look at the global hunger rate, or those that have to deal with it daily, the number has dropped since the RFS was put into place.

    Explain how increasing the price of food has helped the World Food Programme accomplish that goal.

    If you are going to quote anti-farmer organizations, I am not sure how to respond.

    What is an anti-farmer organization?

    The number of additional acres put into farm production is still less than the number of acres Congress cut from conservation programs in 2008 and again this year. If the market was driving it, why didn’t they convert all they could?

    Could you provide the link and calculations to back that assertion? If the market were not driving the increase in conservation reserve land plowed under while the price of corn was tripled, explain why some wouldn’t do so to capitalize on that record high price?

    Now E85 is mandated by the government? Why don’t we have more stations if that is true?

    I’m telling ya, strawmen arguments don’t work in a comment field. I just did a search on this page for the term ” E85 is mandated” and found only your reference. Nobody said that but you.

    Corn ethanol has tripled the price of corn for many years? Your chart above shows two, and they happen to be in back-to-back drought years. I am not sure how corn ethanol caused the drought.

    It tripled the price for three years: 2011, 2012, 2013. The average price over the three proceeding years was doubled.

    I wasn’t referring to motor fuels taxes, but you know that

    When you said “Ethanol has also provided billions in tax revenue” I was supposed to know that you were excluding motor fuel tax revenue? There is no proof that the taxes paid by the ethanol industry exceed the losses to the economy from negative impacts of corn ethanol, higher corn prices etc etc or from potential jobs that would have been created by other industries from the capital spent building a government subsidized ethanol industry.

    This is a new one, don’t see that often, what jobs did ethanol destroy?

    Hmm, how can it both be a new one and one that you don’t see that often? Answer: all of the jobs that would have been created by the capital that was instead invested in ethanol via government fiat, impact on the fishing industry by the dead zone, lost conservation reserve land, high prices of corn, land, other crops, etc. Read The Parable of the Broken Window.

    Actually, I just met some of those folks last month [I suspect you mean the handful of people employed in the local ethanol refinery] in South Dakota. I still live in the heartland, and my hometown is lucky to have an ethanol plant

    I have nothing against farmers (small business owners), and really don’t know if the wealth redistribution is a net gain for the nation or just one for the heartland.

    While it seems we should have all just packed up and moved to the big city, I am not sure what that would do to a couple of your key points. If not one farms any longer, seems that food prices & corn prices would be an issue for you.

    No one will farm? That’s absurd. Every small farm that failed was bought up by a bigger farm. The price of food would almost certainly drop if the government stopped propping up small farms. Good for consumers overall, not good for small farmers. As I said before:

    I agree with you on this point in that corn ethanol is essentially a round-about wealth redistribution scheme for the farm belt. I can’t say if that is overall a good thing or not. When did you last meet a saddle maker, lumberjack, buffalo hunter, or fur trader? Should we have created similar schemes to keep their lifestyles afloat? The market will always find ways to meet the demand for food. Preserving small farm businesses may not be the way the market does that.

    It is obvious that you are against ethanol, maybe just corn ethanol, or maybe just anything that competes with petroleum.

    As I said in the article that I’m not sure you read, I drive an electric car.

    It’s obvious that you are against petroleum. Your point?

    We are all biased and it is good to acknowledge that fact. Robert White works for the ethanol lobby so at least we know his bias. Bias does not necessarily mean that your reasoning or facts are wrong. A debate is essentially the display of opposing biases for an audience to judge.

    To borrow your words, my attempt was to point out the leaps that were made by you so that others would do their own research. They don’t have to take my word for it, little of this response, or my initial one, were my opinions. Don’t be sheep, do your own research, form your own opinion.

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  21. By Russ Finley on September 10, 2014 at 11:25 pm

    The following is my response to Aaron Walsh’s comment found here.

    Looking through the 5 points here, I notice some inconsistencies. When I read the title, I thought we were focusing on folks who put ethanol free gasoline into FFVs. It’s fine to have that discussion, but it’s not quite the same thing as E10 versus E0 (which it sounds to me is more of the focus for this article).

    Good points.. When editors coin a title they tend to prioritize its attention grabbing qualities over conveyance of article content. And thank you for letting readers know that you are an ethanol supporter and activist.

    With the food argument brought up in point 3, I begin to question the authenticity of the article.

    To me, that seems like a strange thing to say. On the other hand, if you have been utterly convinced by the corn ethanol lobby that oil prices are to blame for food price increases and that there is no correlation between corn prices and food prices then I can see why you might say something like that.

    The notion of ethanol use causing food prices to go up seems so old that it predates ethanol, and it has been used and milked dry. Number 3 above is consistent with all arguments utilizing the “food vs fuel” debate – never even giving openness to the idea that food prices increasing may have another factor involved. $4/gallon diesel anyone?

    Now granted, I’m an ethanol supporter and activist. But it seems like “food vs fuel” is a one-sided argument.

    I highly recommend that any reader out there wanting to know with certainty the statistical correlation between food prices and corn prices to read this article:

    FACT: Since the Renewable Fuel Standard went into effect, corn, not oil, has driven food prices with a near perfect correlation.

    It’s a short, easy to read, analysis debunking the ethanol lobby quote, “FACT: oil, not corn, drives food prices. Near perfect correlation.”

    Some excerpts from the article:

    Where to start with such sloppy “statistics”?

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  22. By Robert Frye on September 24, 2014 at 2:44 pm

    See this article from the Institute for Energy Research:

    http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/analysis/will-epas-final-decision-rfs/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=will-epas-final-decision-rfs
    Some hard facts and points for some here here.

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    • By Forrest on September 26, 2014 at 9:26 am

      You know that institute is shill organization, right? Here is RFA comments on the building of the wall. http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/big-oil-builds-the-blend-wall

      It is very interesting to follow the ethanol business from the beginning. Most folks have no idea the torturous path required for successful business start up. Especially, if the business is going up against established competitor with deep pockets and well connected to status quo political machinery and have reliable cronies. I’m not an fossil fuel opponent, but do support the production of bio fuel per benefits of consumers. Gov’t agency is in the mix to. The science is corruptible as well as the science upon picking winners and losers. The RFS was national law set up to pull biofuels to production and consumption per benefit of national interest. It was not a lassez-faire game upon obligated parties to merely wait for conformance problems, all the while actively hurting the public image of obligation. Six years ago the entire fuel sector knew E10 fuel mix would not be enough to meet federal regulations. This is why ethanol went to EPA, to test E15 qualifications and approval. It appears also the reason the campaign launched by petrol to fear monger the public, as the solution voided the blend wall concerns.

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      • By Russ Finley on September 27, 2014 at 1:19 pm

        Grammar tip; you have misused the word “per” roughly 86 times under this one article. The word has been used (correctly) by all others roughly half a dozen times.

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      • By Cl1ffClav3n on September 29, 2014 at 8:33 am

        Following this thread, it is apparent that we have personal anecdotes on one side (same tactic used by snake oil salesmen throughout history), and hard data from published studies on the other. The federal government is kind enough to publish the diminished MPG results and studies on the corrosiveness of ethanol in pipelines. It even publishes the energy-corrected price of all major fuels on a quarterly basis in Table 2 of the documents posted here http://www.afdc.energy.gov/publications/search/keyword/?q=alternative%20fuel%20price%20report ). Even after 8 years and billions and billions of dollars of crop program and RFS program subsidies, corn ethanol today is $1.17 more per gallon than gasoline and soy biodiesel $0.62 more per gallon more than petroleum diesel according to DOE when the price is corrected for their reduced energy content (i.e., reduced MPG).

        BTW, pretty sure it’s isopropyl alchohol, not ethanol, in your sanitation wipes.

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  23. By Ike_Kiefer on September 27, 2014 at 8:52 am

    “Others fear that gasoline with ten percent ethanol might harm their car. This is a rational concern only for owners of older cars.”

    Actually, accelerated corrosion is a rational concern for all car owners, and for all vehicles and infrastructure that handle alcohols. The other physical and humanitarian concerns are very rational as well, as further explained below.

    Ethanol increases corrosion of fuel distribution systems and engines compared to pure hydrocarbons. Period. Alcohol molecules unlike hydrocarbon molecules are polar (have a non-uniform electrical charge distribution), and thus conduct electricity in solution, greatly accelerating galvanic corrosion compared to pure hydrocarbons which are unpolarized. Alcohols, unlike hydrocarbons, are corrosive of metal, plastic, polymer, fiberglass, and elastomeric rubber that forms the seals and bladders and gaskets in many fuel systems, particulary for aircraft. Alcohol’s much greater affinity for water (E10 can hold 27 times as much water as gasoline (4 tsp/gal v. 0.15 tsp/gal) and E15 and E85 far more) amplifies its corrosive nature. Any water in the fuel system brings ethanol out of uniform solution with hydrocarbons and instead concentrates it in aqueous water-alcohol phase at the bottom of tanks or pipelines. This stratification into heterogeneous layers also amplifies corrosion (http://www.ornl.gov/sci/ees/itp/documents/ORNL%20Ethanol%20Pipeline%20Corrosion%20Literature%20Study%20Final%20Report.pdf).

    Oxygen is present in large amounts in ethanol, comprising 35% of its mass. Oxygen is naturally very destructive of carbon-chain organic molecules (this is why there is so much talk about the benefits of anti-oxidants in the health literature these days). Mixing alcohols with hydrocarbons accelerates oxidative instability, which greatly reduces the shelf life of the fuel as it more rapidly polymerizes into gums and pastes that block filters and don’t burn cleanly. Since oxygen is heavy compared to hydrogen and carbon, and is readily available from the atmosphere, it is unnecessary and efficiency-killing to haul this extra mass around in the gas tank. Ethanol with its high oxygen content dilutes the energy density of the fuel and reduces the miles per gallon (mpg) of the vehicles it fuels by 3.3% for E10 and 28% for E85, other things being equal.

    For all the above reasons, ethanol is strictly prohibited in commercial aircraft and military tactical vehicles and petroleum pipelines. It has to be transported by truck and train to the refineries and is mixed with the gasoline just before it leaves the refinery for the gas stations. Methanol is far worse across this spectrum of effects than ethanol. The negative attributes of alcohols indisputably make them more damaging to engines and fuel systems and the nation’s liquid fuel infrastructure than pure hydrocarbons.

    There are a host of other aspects in which ethanol is inferior to gasoline including, amazingly, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The biofuel tax and subsidy provisions still in effect are increasing annual GHG emissions by 5.4 millon tons of CO2-equivalent annually and costing the government $2,500 per ton according to the National Academy of Sciences and respected Yale economist William Nordhaus (http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=18299). The EPA and National Academy of Sciences also agree that the current Renewable Fuel Standards (RFS) program and corn ethanol in particular have increased lifecycle emission of both particulates and ozone, likely causing the death of 245 more Americans each year than if straight gasoline had been used instead of E10 (See EPA’s admission on page 7 of http://www.epa.gov/otaq/renewablefuels/420f10007.pdf). The EPA has also hypocritically granted itself a permanent waiver for E10′s violation of Reid vapor pressure limits that increase emissions of volatile organics and promote smog formation (42 USC § 7545(h)(4)). Oxygenates were originally added to gasoline to reduce carbon monoxide emissions. Another of the many ironies is that E10 has actually increased carbon monoxide emissions as well.

    The soil and water pollution risks of adding ethanol to gasoline are also profound. Ethanol, in fact, operates exactly like the infamous MTBE oxygenate additive to increase the water solubility and soil penetration plume depth of any leaked hydrocarbon fuels with which it is mixed by 25-40 percent (http://phys.org/news/2012-11-impact-biofuel-aquatic-environments.html). Thus the BTX components of gasoline (benzine, toluene, xylene) are more environmentally damaging in E10 where they readily penetrate the soil and mix with water, than in straight gasoline, where they float on top of open water and can be easily skimmed or allowed to evaporate, and where they remain above the water table in ground spills. A blue ribbon panel of experts commissioned by the EPA in 1999 recommended discontinuing the use of all oxygenates in gasoline including both ethanol and MTBE for all of the above reasons (http://www.epa.gov/oust/mtbe/brp_usts.htm). The federal law requiring fuel oxygenation expired in 2006 because the carbon monoxide problem was cured by engine computers and oxygen sensors. It is only political vote-buying, not the environment or climate, that drives the government to continue the farm program and RFS biofuels mandates and RIN subsidies for corn and fuel ethanol.

    As to the benefit of increased octane, this is often overstated. The octane boost achieved by ethanol in gasoline is actually quite moderate. At 10% concentration in E10 it increases pump octane number/anti-knock index (PON/AKI) by only 2-3 over straight gasoline to 92-93, The effect plateaus at higher concentrations; E85 octane is only 94-96, despite erroneous higher claims by many advocates (“Changes in Gasoline IV.” Renewable Fuels Foundation, June 2009). This octane boost could be easily achieved with pure hydrocarbons by blending in fractions of butane, iso-butane, pentanes, and aromatics that are currently discarded by refiners from their gasoline formulas to make room for the mandated ethanol. The hydrocarbon octane blend would also not necessarily bust the Reid vapor pressure limits like the ethanol approach. It is also worth noting that octane is not an energy boost as many mistakenly believe, but is actually a measure of resistance to ignition from compression. The same effect can be achieved by water injection directly into the cylinder, and this was how it was done for aircraft in WWII. But the water was carried in separate tanks and injected at the carburetor. Alcohol and water are still used this way by racing enthusiasts today. But neither water nor alcohol are a smart choice to put in the gas tank.

    The author is correct about the correlation between oil prices and corn prices, but it less a result of direct food competition than agricultural resources competition. Corn, like all intensively cultivated crops, whether intended for food or industrial use, is critically dependent upon fossil fuels for its production. It uses huge amounts of ammonia fertilizer made from natural gas, equipment and transportation fuel made from petroleum, herbicides and pesticides made from petroleum feedstock, and processing plant energy from natural gas and coal. When the energy return on investment (EROI) calculations are done, corn ethanol only returns 1 unit of new energy for every four units of existing energy invested, and that meager surplus unit of energy is the credit given for distillers dry grain cattle feed byproduct. There is no energy profit in the liquid fuel itself (
    http://wici.ca/new/resources/occasional-papers/#no.4 ). Since nearly 80% of the energy in a gallon of US ethanol is from fossil fuels, the price is naturally and inextricably linked to petroleum. But it is worse than that. The price of ethanol is also consistently higher than gasoline when compared on an equal-energy content (equal mpg) basis. The Department of Energy is kind enough to perform this analysis quarterly and the most recent results are that E85 ethanol is $1.17/gal more than regular gasoline ($4.82/gal v. 3.65/gal) (see table 2 of http://www.afdc.energy.gov/publications/search/keyword/?q=alternative%20fuel%20price%20report ). And the split is not closing over time, despite the $6 billion per year in federal subsidies since 2005 and the $8 billion cheated from motorists each year by giving them gallons of ethanol in their gas tank with only 67% of the energy content but charging them the full gasoline price.

    The environmental impact of fuel ethanol is huge and needless. US corn cultivation requires nearly 1,300 gallons of water per gallon of ethanol fuel energy compared to 22 gallons or less for the same amount of fossil fuel energy (www.waterfootprint.org). It is also a land hog, and requires 19 times more acreage per unit of energy produced than PV solar panels, delivering only 0.315 watt/m2, compared to ~6 watt/m2 for solar and 300 w/m2 for a newly-fracked Marcellus gas well. The USA already dedicates 129 million tons a year of corn to ethanol production (greater than the 85 million tons that is Russia’s entire annual grain harvest), and this only supplies 10% of the fuel volume and 6.7% of the energy for our cars. Making enough corn ethanol to supply 100% of our gasoline and diesel needs would require 711 million acres of land, more land than all 525 million acres of forest in the lower 48 states. The fertilizer runoff from midwest corn farming is the largest single contributor to the persistent eutrophic dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico that plagues the coast lines of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama in hypoxic and toxic algae blooms covering a water area the size of Connecticut in a good year (http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/05/tech/gulf-of-mexico-dead-zone/).

    There is no international stability or national security improvement from bioethanol. The UN humanitarian organizations and the World Bank recognize that all this biofuels competition for water, land, and fertilizer minerals is directly responsible for a large fraction of global increases in food grain prices and growing international food insecurity, and have banded together since 2011 to petition the G20 nations to repeal their biofuel portfolios (Price Volatility in Food and Agricultural Markets: Policy Responses. World Bank, 2011). The revolution in Egypt that toppled Mubarak began as bread riots protesting the end of government food subsidies due to the skyrocketing cost of grain. It is also noteworthy that the US is already more dependent on foreign mineral imports than upon foreign oil imports. Corn requires huge amounts of non-renewable phosphate and potash fertilizer minerals which are already 11% and 75% imported to the USA today, respectively. Scaling up biofuels would increase the global pressure on these finite resources and increase US dependence upon foreign mineral imports. BTW, we get much of our phosphate from Morocco, and Islamic kingdom in the volatile Maghreb region of North Africa where Al Qaeda has been resurgent.

    To sum up, there is no energy independence or reduced emissions or economic benefit from ethanol in gasoline, but rather a host of negative and even destructive consequences. It is a bad practice that only exists because of political force and is an affront to the rational mind and the educated conscience.

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    • By Forrest on September 27, 2014 at 6:50 pm

      I believe you should respond to my personal experience with ethanol use per Groucho Marx quote, “who are you going to believe me or your lying eyes?”. I have used high blends of ethanol for many years, with a wide variety of vehicles and small engines. It’s really not that dangerous. But, if you found information on the internet it must be true. I’ve had to design products to avoid any possibility and trouble shoot other products per galvanic corrosion problems. If you incur galvanic corrosion it’s not ethanol’s fault. Ethanol has much less reactivity with material as compared to carbon fuels. Look at the Parker oil ring compatibility chart for quick reference. Gasoline has a long history of water problems and corrosion. Water and gasoline do promulgate caustic brew, resulting in corrosion and material attack. Also, premium brands of winter blends fuel of bygone era utilized alcohol to dry up moisture problems. Remember the can’s of Heet to keep carburetors from freezing and auto’s from stalling. Ethanol has detergent ability for keeping injectors clean. It prevents the varnish, gunk formations, and carbon deposits. Historically, it has been a popular fuel additive for such purpose. Also, I’ve never had to replace a fuel filter other than recommended factory preventative maintenance suggestions. Filter inspections revealed a perfectly good operating filter. I don’t change fuel filters any more. Federal regulations for reformulated gasoline per the oxygenate additive to minimize air pollution is abandoned, since the nation went to E10 fuel. Western states that had limited supply of RBOB base stock were granted a 1 psi vapor pressure exemption upon summer driving season. The exempted fuel still healthier for man and environment as compared. Chicago cancer rate projected to decrease 6% per E!5 fuel, alone. Ethanol environmental benefits are steadily increasing per improvements in engine technology, processing, farming, and scientist evaluation. Some process plants are able to enter California low carbon fuel market. The technology is ablaze with wide variety of supporting and promising capabilities. Also, ethanol makes gasoline a healthier and environmentally friendlier product. What’s wrong with that? No need to fear oil dominance upon fuel market. They are the 200# gorilla as compared to ethanol chimpanzee status.

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      • By Forrest on September 28, 2014 at 8:07 am

        I remember growing up with plain gasoline and experiencing the common water and corrosion problems. Motor boats utilized a see through filter to intercept engine damaging water and filter to block rust particles. Motoring public was careful to purchase gas from popular stations per the experience of filling up with water laden gas and rust particles if filling up on sour old gas. It was not that uncommon to stop and help tourist stranded on the roadway. We had those steel gas cans that often rotted from water gas acids. When fueling small engines we were advised to use fine mesh screen funnels or use cloth filters to intercept dirt, rust, and scale. This was all before E10 fuel. Our farm tractors and small engines had sediment bulbs to capture water and rust particles before hurting engine. You could see a gooey mix of petrol and water sloshing about the bottom. We did have to winterize small engines for easier start up next season. I helped resorts run their boat motors dry of gasoline for winter storage. I you didn’t do this it would take much fresh gas, priming, and cranking to start sputtering engine. You were in big trouble with full tank of year old gas. Fresh gas could dissolve the varnishes, parrafins, gunk, etc. Typically, the spark plug had to be removed to prime piston directly. The fuel industry had to improve product quality per additives to absorb moisture and to increase octane. Some ethanol plants never went out of production from the Jimmy Carter Gasohol service years for the additive market. Also, per general health one could mix a ethanol with tomato juice and suffer little as compared to MTBE shot of poison. Or how about sanitation wipes with ethanol vs the health advice to quickly wash exposed skin per gasoline contact. Chafing dishes will often utilize a alcohol product with no air emission concern. Some vent less in the home heaters utilize ethanol fuel with no need of catalytic converter present. They do warn of conditions that could asphyxiate oneself per loss of oxygen, but not per poisonous emissions concern. As a problem child, I once squirted some water into my Dad’s truck fuel tank. He didn’t make it far and had a devil of a time to eliminate the contaminate. Back then engine deposits from gasoline were so destructive, some utilized the potentially dangerous act of full throttle engine and water poured into carb. For experienced mechanics this thermal shock clean or dislodged some carbon deposits. The advice of slow drivers was to occasionally utilize full throttle highway operation to dislodge carbon. Modern times, consumers can view U-tube engine inspections of clean combustion chamber with E85 fuel use. Also, the analysis of cleaner oil per E85 lack of dirty hydrocarbon contaminates. There is a U-tube of pickup driver worried of running out of fuel before getting home. He spotted the distant neighbor watering some shrubbery and stopped to use water hose with fuel tank of ethanol. It worked fine. Also, U.S. often acts as if the ethanol fuel is new and disregard Brazil experience of decades use of E20, hydrous E100, and E85. All of their vehicles must use high blend ethanol, even present day with discoveries of large crude oil deposits. They adjust ethanol content of fuel automatically per sugar cane production. This year they have a poor crop. Remember, the Environmentalist condemnation of our country for not following up Jimmy Carter lead of ethanol fuel production, as Brazil suffered little per the crude oil spikes of Bush years. Bush put in place a tremendously successful program to promote production and use of biofuel. We quickly gained number one status per the effort. Ethanol is a friend of consumers, fear not.

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    • By Robert Frye on September 28, 2014 at 5:28 pm
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      • By Robert Rapier on September 28, 2014 at 6:15 pm

        That is his paper.

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      • By Cl1ffClav3n on September 29, 2014 at 8:14 am

        Yes. Jesse Ausubel reposted it on his site. The original is at the link I provided in my comment.

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        • By Robert Frye on September 29, 2014 at 11:42 am

          I’m a little confused. Is Ike Kiefer and Cl1ffClav3n the same person? I’m assuming they are. Correct me if I’m wrong.
          Regardless, In my opinion- what you present is pretty compelling and well backed up with hard data and facts. I really appreciate your approach to this debate and the search for the truth.
          I realize this is a pretty ambiguous question, but how do you see the reality of this whole ethanol era (and debate) playing out in the end?

          I suspect you have thought about this. Can you please
          share your opinion with us?

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          • By Ike_Kiefer on September 30, 2014 at 8:24 am

            I have corresponded extensively with Cliff and Robert. They are generally the best sources of objective information on biofuels I have found and their sources and hyperlinks are always worth following. I never rely on them or others to summarize the research for me, but always read it for myself. In my papers I include exhaustive citations and footnotes so that anyone who wants to can duplicate my voyage of discovery. When I began to focus on energy in my literature research, I started out optimistic about the potential of genetic engineering and algae biomass and microbes excreting pure fuel. But I have come to see the centrality of energy balance and EROI in everything from biology to economics. EROI is the fundamental yardstick for measuring a primary energy source candidate. Because of the physical limits of photosynthesis, there is simply no way to produce both the quantity and quality of high-EROI power needed by modern civilization from agriculture. Period. The best use of biomass for energy was already discovered six millennia ago — firewood. Making it into charcoal reduces its EROI in return for easier transportation and better performance of what’s left when you put it in the firepit. Trying to make it into liquid fuel is so energy-costly it leaves no net energy on the plate. If we were not drowning in an abundance of fossil fuel energy, nobody would be wasting fossil fuel making biofuel, solar panels, or windmills. We would simply be conserving and improving efficiency and reducing rather than increasing the energy intensity of energy production. Instead, we have been increasing the energy intensity of energy production (decreasing EROI) and increasing the cost of energy with a spending spree on major duplication of already sufficient energy infrastructure with new “renewable” electrical generation capacity and transmission and biorefineries, all with very low capacity factors and net energy output, and all while demand has actually decreased. The macro view is just as important as the micro.

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    • By Forrest on September 29, 2014 at 8:40 am

      Why is ethanol transported by truck? Some like to offer the explanation, that ethanol will damage pipelines. There may or may not be some truth in that, but we must frame such information within the reality we have little experience upon the activity. Modern pipeline construction and operation have ability to ship multiple products by separating fluids via pipeline pigs that can brush, inspect, and clean. So, as ethanol fuel production quantities increase to make pipeline transport an attractive option, interest is increasing in the capability. The biggest problem to date, is for ethanol, as the fuel cleans the oxidized carbon residue from pipe and gains a dark color.

      “Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, L.P., which transports two million barrels of petroleum products per day, is evaluating the potential for shipping ethanol via pipeline in response to requests from its customers. After extensive laboratory research spanning the last 24 months, the company says that it plans to test ethanol shipments this fall in a 16-inch pipeline linking the large fuel markets of Tampa Bayand Orlando, Florida.”

      Also, oil products shipped per pipeline tend to travel from outside or border areas of country toward center. Ethanol travels the opposite direction. Meaning, pipelines not much value. Also, don’t confuse or think of static evaluations. Ethanol is chemically different as compared to the 50 organic compounds that have been isolated from oil. Our knowledge on oil products gained per trial and error of long use. Modern day we have better tools to evaluate possible problems, but still need to do real life evaluations. No investor would approve trials upon expensive investments without much potential value of new market and much lab testing. Meaning ethanol status of not approved for pipeline, old vehicles, or military use does not infer it will damage the hardware. It just means it’s untested to satisfaction and we have an unknown present. There may be some specific circumstance, alloy, plastic, combinations or environmental conditions that could pose a problem. Filling up jets and tanks with ethanol probably a bad decision. Also, as we gain knowledge of transporting ethanol the engineering can accommodate the fuel per minor changes. Meaning it never accurate to do a wholesale condemnation of the fuel. For example natural rubber doesn’t hold up well with ethanol. Not a problem as the is elastomer was long obsoleted per cost and improved product selection. Also, the accelerated corrosion tests have limited value. The tests often present bogus conclusions. If ethanol testing uncloaks corrosion weakness, fixing the weakness will improve the corrosion resistance period. Meaning if your assembly is susceptible per material selection or design for galvanic corrosion you have a problem, ethanol or no ethanol. I remember a sensational pic on ethanol damage for a small engine fuel orifice. The component had a fur of corrosion. I recognized the corrosion from personal work on the troubling phenomena, where supposedly excellent corrosion resistant material would quickly fail. Ethanol or no ethanol. The discovery was machinist would arbitrarily use high speed steel cutting tools. The wear fragments would impinge on machined part and impart a perfect galvanic chemical cell.

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      • By an American on November 7, 2014 at 8:20 pm

        I have lost a generator, 2 gas powered weedeaters and a 5,600.00 outboard engine to ethonal laced gas. I will only buy rec90 nonethonal gas and you treehuggers can kiss my a$$. If you do a luttle research past the propaganda put out buy the commie government, you woyld see that. Any engine with a vented system will be destroyed. By ethonal laced gas.

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        • By Forrest on November 8, 2014 at 6:49 am

          Been there, done that, but this was during the pre E10 fuel supply so I can’t blame ethanol. Did some research and found the problem was EPA regulation. The agency was attempting to do away with the two cycle engine per the air pollution. Manufacturers were able to appease the regulators with low ash 50:1 oil mix. Manufacturers had to promote and specify the mix as EPA was watching for any underhanded regulation avoidance agendas. So, now equipment has warning to never use any oil or mix other than quality 50:1. Manufacturers had to apply coating to piston and wear surfaces per lack of lube oil. Equipment manufactures have spent a lot of money in attempt to toughen up engine for 50:1 oil mix. Some did better than others. I simply went to 32:1 mix and problem vanished. This has been my standard mix for all two cycle engines. I have the same engines as you, but have not suffered any problems since the new oil mix even with ethanol. I do not use expensive 50:1 oil, but standard cheap air cooled 2 cycle oil. Make sure your not using boat oil for hot air cooled engines. Some problems that you probably are familiar with, but other frequently get caught upon. Shake the gas can every time before refueling, when making original mix be sure to dump oil in half filled can to prevent oil sticking to gas can surfaces, utilize the entire measured of oil as the viscus oil will keep much behind. Rinse oil measure with gas to pick up residue or just measure a tad more to accommodate left behind oil. Also, mechanics have picked up on the trick to blame ethanol for every damaged engine as easy appeasement to mad customer (blame the government). Pay attention to your engine as telltale indicators can be easily foretell of ensuing problem. Shut down the engine and let cool. Add a tad more oil or my favorite additive for oil problems, “Motor Coat” is great stuff and can save an engine in early stages of failure. BTW, two cycle engine do run on the ragged edge of failure and not good to run these wide open prolonged cycles, If ever cooling is compromised the engine will self destruct. The piston has no stroke to cool down as every down stroke is a hot power stroke. Ethanol is perfect fuel for two cycle for this reason. The combustion chamber will run cooler upon proper air fuel adjustment or mod. The engine will develop much more power and emit less damaging emissions. It’s not worth it for me, but know of some professionals that are very happy converting their fleet of small engines to E85. Competition chain saw engines cost $10k each and burn any fuel once adjusted for. E85 often utilized within competition with nitrous oxide. I hear often the synthetic oils are superior choice for two cycle engines, but per my experience I will never go over 32:1.

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  24. By Forrest on October 1, 2014 at 7:04 am

    When reading posts or comments on the unsuitability of ethanol for energy, the author often states things like poor energy return or low net energy. Also, we should not utilize farmland. Or ethanol is unsustainable per taking more energy than it produces. These points of interest have been recycled for a long time. There doesn’t appear to be much current research upon the subject as science has moved on? The argument appears academic and not of much value per the work of making it happen. Economics a more effective and real time evaluator per consumer demand. Read yesterday the wholesale price of E85 down to $1.68/gallon with a discussion of prices that low, can the ethanol people be making a profit? Nonetheless, I found this short essay on the subject http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/articles/hof/HofJuly07.html that was a good, quick read circa 2007. The current data for ethanol is much improved. For example corn crop 2014 is projected to hit new record of 272 bushel corn per acre and processing plants about 3.1 gallons per bushel. It should be noted, best farming practices routinely break 300 bushel per acre with maximum yields pushing 500. Michigan State University has active R&D effort per the goal of achieving average crop yield of 300 bushel/acre. If your interested in technology and biology, following the ethanol industry news a very interesting practice.

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    • By Forrest on October 1, 2014 at 7:24 am

      Make the 2014 average corn crop 172 bushels per acre, my mistake. Some will scratch head per the tremendous return of energy per cellulosic ethanol. Per review of Poet’s process it becomes apparent. First, all the fossil fuel energy required to grow corn is all ready accounted for with corn ethanol. The stover is unused product that is easily baled per 25% rate. The stover never touches the ground if harvested (every 4th pass). The round baler accumulates stover per direct chute discharge of combine which pulls the baler. These round baler equipment is relatively compact and inexpensive running about 1/5th as expensive as square baler. Also, the cellulosic process plant generates bio gas and the energy rich lignin that has as much energy as coal per pound. Many evaluations of cellulosic put the fuel rating as negative GHG emission.

      [link]      
      • By Forrest on October 1, 2014 at 7:43 am

        Also, I read comments such as we have to much farmland already, and that it should put to rest in land bank per wildlife need. Well, it should be noted that many real estate investors whom have no interests in leasing or farming utilize the fed program as tax shelter. Per local experience the weed infested resting land is of little value to anyone especially wildlife. I have done what now apparently is apparently rediscovered science of making discerning observations of nature. Homesteads have tremendous ability to support and attract wildlife, more so that nature left to the slow and low production of natural processes. I did a one year daily walkabout per old growth forest nature preserve, that was studied and managed by local university. I’m not impressed. What is a very attractive development for wildlife; the farming of perennial cellulosic feed stock. Species that are most vulnerable often from the loss of native grassland that once was common in Midwest. Studies of the wildlife and farming of switchgrass very positive. The practice of late fall harvest and alternating grass stand harvest most productive for wildlife.

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        • By Forrest on October 1, 2014 at 8:06 am

          Some think farmland is destroyed gradually per the practice. Well, it depends as per depression dust bowl days and old farming practices…yes. Modern day practices improve fertility of farmland and sequester carbon. For example low till farming practices improve water, energy, and soil protection. Modern fertilizers improved per air emissions and retention of nitrogen for plant utilization. Technology has improved accuracy of seeding and utilization of expensive fertilizer and chemicals. Satellite and drone use continues to improve information stream. Corn roots sequester carbon and improve fertility of soil reaching to six foot depths. Mold inoculation appears to magnify the ability of the corn plant. Some farm practices that dramatically improve yield, improve environment, and lower cost. Consistent seed depth the promotes consistent and competing corn growth. As the corn plant competes with it’s neighbor on even basis the yields of corn kernel jump. Accurate fertilizer placement and timing make a big difference. MSU is experimenting with 20″ rows with much success as well as mixing corn hybrids. By the way as corn farmers push the technology per attractive marketplace benefits the result is shadowed by all farm produce.

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  25. By Robert Frye on October 1, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Read this state code pursuant to labeling at the pump.
    Is it still in effect? How does a law like this get passed?
    Seems deceptive to me – how about you?
    —————————–
    Ohio Code 1345.021
    Ethanol blended or mixed into gasoline.

    (A) As used in this section, “retail
    dealer” means a person who owns, operates, controls, or supervises an
    establishment at which gasoline is sold or offered for sale to the public.

    (B) When ethanol is blended or mixed into
    gasoline that is sold or offered for sale to the public, it is not an unfair or
    deceptive act or practice in connection with a consumer transaction for a
    retail dealer to fail to disclose either of the following:

    (1) The fact that the gasoline contains
    ethanol;

    (2) The percentage of ethanol that is
    contained in the gasoline.

    (C) If a retail dealer elects to disclose
    any of the information specified in division (B) of this section, the dealer
    may make that disclosure in any form, using any type of sign or label and any
    size or style of letters, at the retail dealer’s discretion.

    (D) A retail dealer shall not be required
    to disclose the fact that gasoline contains ethanol and shall not be required
    to disclose the percentage of ethanol in the gasoline by any law, rule,
    resolution, or ordinance of any agency or department of the state or any
    political subdivision of the state.

    Effective Date: 03-21-2002
    http://codes.ohio.gov/orc/1345.021

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  26. By Forrest on October 2, 2014 at 7:59 am

    Strong currents for Ethanol future:

    Urban Air Initiative, http://fixourfuel.com/ , and Chicago Air Quality Study are alerting citizens to health hazards of unleaded gasoline as well the recent health alerts of ultra fine particles per fuel combustion. This is pushing interest in higher ethanol blends. Also, automotive is pushing for E30 fuel and not particularly excited about E15. It appears E30 blend provides maximum health benefits per ability to replace the aromatics i.e. benzene, toluene, and xylene that currently produce emissions of ultra fine particles among other health concerns. Also, the E30 “Super Premium” fuel has ability to push octane up to levels required by advanced engine technology. Meaning the fuel can enable more efficient engines that utilize carbon fuels more efficiently i.e. low GHG emissions.

    The new engine developed by Cummings featuring small efficient high torque E85 engine will soon be available for large delivery vans. This may usher in to the mix an attractive alternative to diesel. Also, this may have a large impact on farm tractors per the ability to utilize local fuel and improve carbon rating of ethanol.

    The blender pump is projected to become a popular feature of gas stations. The technology improves the carbon and cost rating of ethanol as the pump allows ethanol to become a separate supplier of fuel and avoid being run by the petrol side. Meaning local ethanol production can be supplied directly to retail. This is an efficient distribution system and improves customer’s choice to apply maximum competitive forces to fuel suppliers. Also, the pump very flexible and allows maximum choice to consumer.

    The pure CO2 emission stream upon the brewing process of ethanol is gaining much attention as point source control of the pollutant is much easier. Meaning ultra low dilution upon our atmosphere make it virtually impossible once the gas is mixed in. Current techniques comprise sequester per deep well injection, selling gas to beverage companies, and transforming gas to plastic production. One clever use of pure CO2 is algae farming as the process requires large quantities of the gas. Algae technology is gaining much attention per process abilities to generate fuel, chemicals, etc.

    Locations of ethanol process plants appear to commonly have excellent wind power. If this power can be utilized on site by a wind turbine and contribute to the plants carbon rating and low cost of operation…this would be a good thing. If ethanol plants continue the cogen of cellulosic they will achieve self sustainable energy requirements and in doing so bump up carbon rating for both fuels. Finally, if ethanol plants could utilize waste heat so often produced by industry this would be a good thing. For example the popular quick response hot air natural gas turbine for power generation has tons of unused waste heat. The process of ethanol distillation is not a high demand on quality of heat.

    [link]      
  27. By Robert Frye on October 4, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Michigan State University Says: (published yesterday)
    “E85 is a blend of 51-83 percent ethanol and gasoline, depending on the time of the year and location.”

    They go on to say:
    “One of the factors influencing demand and consumption of E85 fuels is fuel economy. E85 blends will generally get 15-25 percent less miles per gallon than regular gasoline. Engine and vehicle performance is not reduced, but since there is less energy (BTU’s) per gallon of ethanol, it takes more E85 to make the same trip.”

    Above posted on October 3, 2014 by Dennis Pennington, Michigan State University Extension at: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/news/burning_e85_fuel_in_your_vehicle
    —————————————

    My Take Away:
    The above mileage penalty Michigan State mentions is directly commensurate to the range of “ethanol- BTU- content” (51%-83%) of E85 of which they mention in this same article.

    Additionally, in this same article, they link to the Carbon Green Bioenergy LLC “Yellow- Hose-Program” http://yellowhose.com/ which provides a calculator (“Calculate Your Flex Fuel Savings”). This calculator is based on a direct linear relationship based on “cost of BTU math”.
    My Summary:
    Both Michigan State and Carbon Green Bioenergy LLC agree “fuel- economy” is based on cost per BTU – in the vast majority of today’s vehicles.

    [link]      
    • By Robert Frye on October 4, 2014 at 7:55 am

      Addendum to my “Michigan State” post above:
      My post is specific to E-85 and FFVs as sited in the linked article

      [link]      
      • By Forrest on October 4, 2014 at 1:26 pm

        All things being equal, E85 has the highest conformity to BTU calculations as the article explains the engine technology is tuned to plain unleaded fuel, for example compression is low to accommodate unleaded. This is probably why lower blends of ethanol are expected to be more popular. For example the recent fleet test of Mercedes MPG with E20 fuel. No mileage drop per the advanced engine capability. Those cost calculators utilize BTU calculations as an easy/rough approximation. But to determine real results one must rely on actual price per gallon and actual mileage. Meaning the only way to know is to run a personal test with your car.
        The article made the point of testing E85 fuel on a tank or
        two to establish MPG as starting point to make cost calculations. So, BTU is an unknown variable at the gas pump and of little use other than academic punditry. Whats needed is a cost per mile calculation, with real cost and real mileage. Notice the article points of sub par gasoline being used with ethanol. That the addition of ethanol made the fuel preform to regular standards. So, E10 job/mission is to improve sub par gasoline and make it possible to preform well. That’s another reason ethanol saves consumers money. The additive makes it possible to burn sub par gasoline that is less expensive. Also, some engines have the ability to use EGR gas to dilute oxygen and ensuing fuel use upon low horsepower needs. This would advantage ethanol fuel more. Same with advanced timing per engine knock, advantage ethanol. DI and extreme turbo boost is a new paradigm that greatly tilts to ethanol favor. One factor upon combustion engineerig that favors ethanol. While ethanol is high octane, meaning it won’t explode unless forced to by spark, once it is ignited the fuel has superior flame speed as compared to other fuels. This results it maximum pressure of combustioon chamber and the resason often stated of ethanol has exceptional torque values. When an engine achieves higher chamber pressures, it will result in higher efficiency. High torque is akin to high efficiency. This makes carbon fuels work harder and pollute less CO2 per the effort. One reason the article had E85 fuel contributing up to 52% less GHG emissions. Isn’t that great! You have to admit it is a pretty easy affair to probably save money and lower your emissions 52%. Doesn’t sound to painful of way to save the polar bear cubs, :) .

        [link]      
        • By Robert Frye on October 4, 2014 at 3:08 pm

          “For example the recent fleet test of Mercedes MPG with E20 fuel. No mileage drop per the advanced engine capability.”
          Are you referring to the “Clariant-Sunliquid” (ethanol producer) tests?
          Can you please provide a link to who actually performed this test, their methods, and the actual, replicated, fuel-economy data?

          [link]      
          • By Forrest on October 4, 2014 at 4:56 pm

            You might review this link http://domesticfuel.com/page/3/. Good luck obtaining their test records and data. It’s a private foreign company spending R&D money for their benefit. U.S. automotive have already claimed they could achieve the same results with E30. The fuel has many benefits to both efficiency and pollution. That would be the sweet spot to advantage gasoline, ethanol, man, and environment. It’s a super premium fuel that would enable maximum engine efficiency of car manufactures and do so upon a fuel that would eliminate the most unhealthy component of gasoline.

            [link]      
            • By Robert Frye on October 4, 2014 at 5:20 pm

              So Forrest…in other words – are you saying you CAN NOT back up your statement made above…with a source and corresponding data?
              This statement – of which you made above:
              __________________
              “For example the recent fleet test of Mercedes MPG with E20 fuel. No mileage drop per the advanced engine capability.”
              ___________________

              [link]      
            • By Forrest on October 4, 2014 at 5:34 pm

              You got me, I can not provide the back up data per my statement. You have high standards, sorry not to meet them.

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  28. By Soccerslider on October 6, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    Sure cars built after 2001 can run on E10.
    However, anything without electronic fuel injection cannot adjust the air/fuel ratio. So older cars, boats and small engines with fixed mixtures optimized for gasoline will run too lean, run too hot, will not idle and cannot develop full power. Since ethanol percentages vary every time you buy gas, the only way to run these engines is to re-tune these engines to optimize for 10% ethanol.

    It just plain sucks to have have to rebuild perfectly good carburetors. I also cannot believe it is a net gain when my classic car runs fine on the regular gas that it was designed for, but pings like crazy with E10 unless I use premium.

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  29. By Robert Frye on October 8, 2014 at 3:46 pm

    Which fuel grade would you put in your FFV – and why?

    [link]      
    • By Forrest on October 8, 2014 at 7:10 pm

      Well, just a few hours ago, already made the decision per $2.09/gal E85. But, if you want to understand why I chose the fuel.
      1. It produces more jobs and road tax revenue per fill up.
      2. It has high octane, equivalent to race fuel
      3. The fuel rated half GHG emissions

      4. The ethanol fuel part has no carcinogens
      5. The ethanol part has no possible terrorist support connections
      6. The ethanol fuel component part is renewable
      7. The fuel economizes the nonrenewable portion for future needs
      8. The fuel decreases farm subsidy per increase farm revenue
      9. The fuel supports expensive farm technology, making farms more productive
      10. The fuel decreases carbon build up within head

      11. The fuel acts as an expensive detergent additive, comparable to premium.
      12. The fuel minimizes oil carbon build up
      13. The fuel minimizes moisture problems
      14. The fuel greatly reduces vapor emissions
      15. The fuel may reduce military need

      16. The fuel a product of small business which I support
      17. The fuel produces more zip upon acceleration
      18. The fuel can increase trailer towing ability of vehicle
      19. The fuel lowers combustion chamber temperatures (always good)
      20. Supporting ethanol, will increase distribution and investment of the fuel

      21. Auto companies in turn, would build more efficient vehicles
      22. The purchase of high ethanol blends supports domestic product
      23. The purchase of high ethanol blends decreases trade deficit
      24. The purchase is a vote to increase diverse fuel supply
      25. The purchase is a vote to increase fuel competition
      26. The purchase a vote to decrease fuel price spikes
      27. The purchase empowers choice per consumer desire
      28. The fuel purchase spurs innovation
      29. The fuel choice spurs auto technology for efficiency.
      30. The fuel lacks offensive odor
      31. The fuel is less explosive per car accidents
      32. The fuel is less explosive per fuel pump repair
      33. The fuel is less dangerous to skin contact
      34. The fuel is less dangerous per inhalation

      35. The ethanol part is less dangerous per waterway spill
      36. The fuel is less dangerous for transport.

      I guess thats enough, but could go on, such as environmentally less dangerous to produce, (explosion). Less volatile to measure future production (its easy to determine). Less dangerous to produce as to accident worker rate. Has a high rate of improvement per chemistry and biology. Doesn’t effect wild life as much. Spills less environmentally damaging. Etc

      [link]      
      • By Robert Frye on October 9, 2014 at 9:39 am

        Forrest – you should buy some Carbon Green Bioenergy LLC. stock shares.

        [link]      
  30. By Ike_Kiefer on October 28, 2014 at 9:28 am

    DOE finally reveals the truth about what RFS has been doing to the energy density and MPG of American’s motor fuel supply. http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=18551 .

    [link]      
  31. By Robert Frye on October 28, 2014 at 5:08 pm

    A CNG retail pump near me.

    A semi-tractor just filled up prior to my taking this picture.

    Watch a video on the Cummins/Westport ISL G engine.
    http://www.cumminswestport.com/natural-gas-academy-videos/engines

    [link]      
    • By Robert Frye on October 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm

      If my math and conversions are correct the $2.10 GGE is less than $2.39 DGE
      (Diesel Gallon Equivalent)
      Correct me if I’m wrong

      [link]      
      • By Robert Frye on October 28, 2014 at 6:22 pm

        I’m looking into what it would cost to convert a Case IH Steiger 450 to a Cummins Westport ISX 12 G CNG engine to determine hours and years to payoff.
        Since most farms generally have central fuel locations (not over the road) – doesn’t it make sense to use CNG power to produce corn for ethanol – which results in less energy? (huh! – part of that doesn’t make sense does it) Darn it!

        [link]      
        • By Forrest on October 29, 2014 at 8:04 am

          Steyr is making a CNG tractor with Fiat engine. Farm shows have displays of available kits to convert unleaded tractors. I read it’s getting more popular to utilize raw seed oil and gasoline mix for diesel tractor owners. This has been tested by university to be perform exactly like diesel, with the exception of 10% power loss. The conversion requires kit install. Diesel owners can also utilize a kit install to fumigate ethanol within intake to decrease diesel fuel costs.
          I do think it makes much sense to utilize NG as Class 8 truck fuel alternative. Pickens Plan had it right to utilize the NG within this fleet as they could quickly justify per large fuel use. Best to utilize NG per domestic needs as LNG transport to exports has a low returned compared to easy to transport oil products. Same could be said of ethanol. It does appear to be wasteful to utilize such a wonderful fuel per the easy task of space heating. Biomass can just as well accomplish the task and do so with much better environmental benefits. Remember the generation of ethanol will return more per the use of fossil fuel when compared to gasoline. People often forget that crude oil to gasoline process takes much energy.

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        • By Russ Finley on October 30, 2014 at 10:32 pm

          …that’s one bad ass looking tractor.

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          • By Robert Frye on November 1, 2014 at 2:53 pm

            I just spent considerable time (on phone) talking to a Cummins distributor about a conversion from OEM Case IH Steiger diesel to an ISX 12 G compressed-natural-gas engine. He said it can’t done legally due to EPA regulations. One can’t order a ISX 12 G in the crate ($43,000+Freight) unless it’s a replacement for a documented blown-up engine in a truck which was equipped with one as OEM. Plus EPA has it classified as an on-road-engine and none (of this model) have been approved for off-road. Several other hurdles as well – but won’t go into them here. How’s that for EPA’s “crow-bar-approach” to innovation which would be certain to be cleaner AND more economical. It’s not the same as my earlier years where innovation could be born and built from the bottom up. The EPA is out of control as the hand they hold over the most of us, especially on the farm. They recently proposed new regulations where if it rained they would have jurisdiction and could be in control of the mud puddle. These new water regulations are now in the public comment phase for a few more days. This huge bureaucracy scares the “bee-gee-bees” out of me. AND, I don’t think there is any chance of reigning them in – in my lifetime.

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          • By Robert Frye on November 1, 2014 at 3:47 pm

            Russ,
            You think that’s bad-ass???
            See my “PLANET PULLER”- 1500 HP concept tractor. Has electric motors driving tracks similar to big mining dump trucks. Cab is small because it is driverless and is run by RTK GPS programing and broad band. Pulls a 120′ Dominator soil worker. Most the components are already on the shelf, out of the mining industry. Many other features – but will never leave my concept file, unless you like it A LOT and have A LOT of money. Let me know if you want to fight EPA in building this prototype.

            [link]      
            • By Russ Finley on November 1, 2014 at 11:11 pm

              Diesel-electric locomotive?

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            • By Forrest on November 8, 2014 at 6:57 am

              The image has no articulated steering, might be a problem? The advent of low ground PSI track tread should be an improvement to soil compaction problem.

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    • By Forrest on October 29, 2014 at 8:19 am

      The Westport engine is impressive. The technology utilized for development of the Ethos engine as well. When Ethos project started in 2011 they had goals to accomplish 50% reduction in GHG emissions by utilizing E85 fuel. The 6.7L diesel performance could be accomplished within the 4.5L engine as E85 expected to generate more power. Later they dropped to 2.8L engine with GHG emissions dropping to 80% per efficiency and cellulosic processed ethanol. Unlike diesel this engine can accommodate start stop technology. Amazingly the engine develops twice the power as compared to size. The E85 optimized engine is also hooked up to Allison transmission optimized for the engines high torque and ability to start stop. They plan on utilizing the setup for large van delivery truck market. The project a great indicator of what is possible when engine technology is optimized for high ethanol blend fuels. Hopefully, the auto market can get their higher ethanol blend engines to perform likewise.

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      • By Ike_Kiefer on October 30, 2014 at 2:11 pm

        Engines can be optimized for power or for range and payload, or for emissions. Nothing that is done to an engine can add energy to the fuel. Range, and payload, not horsepower, is where lower fuel energy density is most apparent.

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        • By Russ Finley on October 30, 2014 at 10:29 pm

          For example, diesel has about 10.5% more energy per gallon than gasoline.

          The 2014 diesel Beetle gets 23% better mileage than its gasoline counterpart.

          23-10.5 = 12.5% better gas mileage thanks to its higher compression ratio once you account for the additional energy in a gallon of diesel fuel.

          Designing an engine to take advantage of the higher octane rating of ethanol could result in a similar improvement in gas mileage of roughly 12%.

          But when you account for the lower energy density of ethanol you would still get about 18% worse mileage than with gasoline.

          30%-12% = 18%

          These are rough numbers but all things being equal, a gallon of ethanol won’t get you nearly as far as a gallon of gasoline.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_density
          http://www.epa.gov/greenvehicles/find/index.htm
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Engine_efficiency

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          • By Forrest on October 31, 2014 at 5:48 am

            But, combustion engineers claim the ethanol portion of high level blends increase the gasoline side much more as well. For example the E30 Super Premium blend upon modern high efficiency engines attain the same mileage as gas only. The efficiency of E30 engine is improved and resulting GHG emissions decreased sharply. The fuel displaces the most unhealthy components of gasoline not a bad result as well.

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            • By Forrest on October 31, 2014 at 8:01 am

              Not only is the diesel engine improved by higher compression, but the diesel cycle is inherently more efficient than Otto cycle. It comes down to building maximum chamber pressure after ignition. The Diesel cycle has multiple, maybe hundred of ignition points as a result the PSI increases quickly. The pressure is proportional to efficiency and torque. Ethanol has excellent diesel fuel characteristics and will run higher compression. The fuel ignites hard, but once ignited the flame speed is quick. These are two good characteristics of fuel. Diesel engines CR a starting point for E85 engine per Cummins development with spark ignition. The compression is still inadequate for compression ignition. Even though, the spark ignited Cummins E85 engine is graded to same efficiency as diesel. Probably because the flame speed of ethanol is so quick. Micro particles review of diesel very troubling per recent health news. This is a new discovery that went entirely unregulated. No easy answers as one component of clean diesel fuel was determined to be 25x more unhealthy. It was an additive to make the diesel run clean. Diesel manufactures were playing around with 5 cycle engines. They claimed thermodynamic advantage to run a 2rd compression cycle with hot gases. That this improved efficiency slightly and burned more of the micro particles. Some experimented with water injection for 5th cycle and doing away with typical cooling system. Also, hydrous ethanol injection for same as ethanol appears to lower micro particles emissions. Intake fumigation with ethanol is helpful, but introducing 2rd fuel source has never been well received by consumers.

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            • By Robert Rapier on October 31, 2014 at 10:42 am

              “For example the E30 Super Premium blend upon modern high efficiency engines attain the same mileage as gas only.”

              What is your source for that information?

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            • By Forrest on October 31, 2014 at 2:39 pm

              The E30 Super Premium Grade was well reported on. Automotive first started the discussion per need of high octane fuel per the low pollution CAFE needs in future. It was during the E15 sabre rattling episode of petrol. This looks like a good article, haven’t had time to read, but plan to http://www1.eere.energy.gov/bioenergy/pdfs/b13_west_2-b.pdf. Really, you guys need to get out more. Also, Ricardo has pushed the extreme boost engine utilizing high blend ethanol as the engine of future. The most advanced engine technology needs high blend ethanol for max performance. And, yes, it is a whale more than BTU/gallon. Actually, GH emissions are more concerned of efficiency per carbon and not so much with gallon measure. Expect tax to follow likewise. Ethanol is top performer in this category. Ethanol has fuel attributes than enable more EGR, higher boosts, higher compressions, advance of timing, and higher torque. I’m not sure why, but it appears stop start technology for high torque diesel like engines more effective as well. The boost and high utilization of EGR ability of ethanol fuel will make the engine have characteristics of variable displacement. We waste much fuel, currently, upon high HP engines big displacement engines that spend most of life in low HP range. Also, ethanol high torque ability with matching drive will improve efficiency. This is not the case presently per the unleaded fuel handicap. Ethanol makes gasoline a better fuel. I think most don’t understand that statement and drive into ditch with BTU only mentality. Actually, the study of high boost ethanol led to the knowledge Ford utilizes in their Eccoboost. It was originally a twin fuel with ethanol DI. The engine has plenty room for efficiency if tuned to high blend ethanol. The engine is bred for the fuel.

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            • By Robert Rapier on October 31, 2014 at 3:13 pm

              I am aware of the study that was paid for by the ethanol lobby and subsequently debunked by NREL as I reported on that at the time: http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2009/09/13/an-urban-legend-falls/

              Just trying to figure out if you are talking about that or something else. I understand the theory, I just haven’t seen any actual test results validating it.

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            • By Forrest on November 1, 2014 at 6:26 am

              An European straw to ethanol process back some weeks published results of their internal study with Mercedes Benz support. MB tested their vehicle fleet of a particular engine well suited to mid level ethanol blends. It was E20 reported not to have any change in MPG. The linked article provided above had Ford data on E20 preforming well for MPG, also. But, above that the point, the point of E30 obtaining maximum chamber pressure. This is the point for my interests. The high boost DI engine offers much for efficiency per my comment above. They 2,000 RPM apogee for chamber pressure probably due to pumping efficiency. Meaning dynamics of gas flow for spilling out minimized at this RPM. This is true for most engines, they have max efficiency at this RPM, although this doesn’t mean max GPM. Why is this of interest? This will allow higher drive ratio and bump up highway mileage. Lot’s of tricks to make auto efficient and much to compromise. Ethanol really opens the door to more ability.

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            • By Forrest on November 1, 2014 at 6:42 am

              Also, must comment on the article points of best use of ethanol not the E10 and not the E85. That is good logic as E85 status is alternative fuel. Meaning if oil industry get’s major disruption we can rely on E85 sales as backup for some motorist. This alone provides a stabilizing force to country. Also, very stabilizing to know they have enough corn in the bin to 4-5x ethanol output and still feed livestock. The distillery grains produced more than enough for the task. This is just an emergency move, but very possible. I do think E85 will probably become more popular within high performance auto and racing markets for power and lower emissions. It should also be utilized in small engine market for same reasons. Two cycle engines would gain much per oxygenate quality of fuel and cooler chamber temps. The recent Cummins high toque engine depicts the fuel may gain popularity as truck fuel? As I understand the technology the perfect flex engine may be the natural gas and E85 as they can share similar engine conditions for max efficiency.

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            • By Robert on October 31, 2014 at 1:07 pm

              Forrest,

              I’m going to paraphrase Samuel Langhorne Clemens

              “Provide your sources and facts first, and then you can distort them as much as you please”.

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            • By Cl1ffClav3n on November 1, 2014 at 3:12 pm

              This forum really could use someone as sensitive and hostile to
              intellectual laziness and deception as Mark Twain to be a moderator.
              We can’t see the trees for the Forrest.

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          • By Ike_Kiefer on October 31, 2014 at 10:58 am

            It is important to compare apples to apples. There is no “gasoline” engine or “diesel” engine or “ethanol” engine that is representative of all in that class. Most auto engines today are optimized for emissions, not horsepower or range. If we compare the MPG of a gasoline engine optimized for range to a diesel or ethanol engine likewise optimized for range, we will get numbers with relative ratios closer to the ratios of the volumetric energy density of their fuels. If we compare the MPG of a gasoline engine optimzed for emissions (typical passenger car today hobbled by EPA regs), to a laboratory or hotrod ethanol engine optimized for MPG or horsepower, we will get skewed numbers. Same if we compare the MPG of a gasoline engine optimized for emissions to an ethanol engine optimized for MPG. This fudging of the underlying engine tuning parameters is behind many of the false claims that octane can somehow overcome low energy density — it cannot.

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            • By Russ Finley on October 31, 2014 at 11:09 pm

              These are all valid points but controlling pollution is mostly a matter of innovation and engineering. You are not necessarily limited by thermodynamics. For example, compare the mileage of the very dirty 2006 diesel Jetta to the very clean 2014 diesel Jetta:

              http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbsSelect&id=21893#

              The diesel cycle (which has a higher compression ratio than the otto) is inherently more efficient than the otto cycle for the reasons explained below:

              http://nptel.ac.in/courses/112106133/Module_4/8_Comparison_of_Otto,Diesel,dual_cycles.pdf

              All things being equal (like fuel energy density), the diesel cycle will get better gas mileage than the otto.

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            • By Ike_Kiefer on November 1, 2014 at 3:01 pm

              Higher temperature, higher pressure, higher thermal efficiency — it really is the thermodynamics that govern. But even in a narrow category like polluting emissions, it is complicated. Diesel engines are generally lower than gasoline engines in all but one category: particulate emissions. However, these are the emissions considered most deadly by the EPA in terms of premature mortality. High-efficiency diesel engine’s higher temperatures cause more atmospheric N2 nitrogen to break down and participate in producing NOx.

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            • By Forrest on November 2, 2014 at 6:30 am

              Is this why cars pass emissions test with just a test pipe in place of catalytic converter? Part stores in bygone era sold “test pipes” to avoid costly replacement of converter and told customers to fill up on ethanol blended fuel beforehand. Yes, the modern auto is engineered around emissions and EPA has the rule book. But, all of it is per petrol needs as ethanol portion pretty much not a concern. Enter in the politics of petrol that brewed up standard test fuel for use in EPA ratings. The brew maximized pretrol and minimized ethanol benefits and had no base upon reality of fuel supply. Ain’t that tricky. EPA caught onto the ruse and have now spent another fortune on standard fuel blend that is more relevant to fuel supply. And why is it so expensive and hard to have a standard brew of petrol. Well, there is no such thing. Petrol is awash in varying chemicals, that vary per geological influence. The petrol engineers only approximate analysis as they only worry of majority of chemicals. Same with emissions as it would be impossible to accurately control exact emissions. Same with BTU calculations, you can not have an exact number and on top of this natural variance, blenders and/or refineries have their own special brew formulations.

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            • By Forrest on November 2, 2014 at 6:47 am

              Enter into the mix, extremely pure ethanol, produced in extremely reliable and accurate process. The chemical is one simple molecule. How easy is this to control emission and measure exactly. Engineering technology hasn’t even began the task of utilizing pollution control technology to improve the waste stream as the emission are pretty much minimal as compared to competition. How much more could efficiencies be increased per lack of concern of pollution control? Also, how accurate the fuel for thermo calcs and BTU needs. Cold start emissions of E85 often high, but the DI engine greatly reduces the problem. Also, if the engine was designed for ethanol, well this is just a design problem. Will add that European EPA like standards are way more practical per real life concerns. One point, our EPA has maintained course of strict concerns of stoichiometric burn of fuel. The engine passes if this fuel ratio is maintained per oxygen sensor. Problem is, this is not always of concern. Europe emission experts disagree on the U.S. anal concern. Lean burn engines a promising technology that probably will not make it to our shores. Putting engine in lean burn upon low HP conditions not so bad, especially with ethanol as the fuel is more forgiving. How does themal calcs handle that?

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            • By Forrest on November 2, 2014 at 6:59 am

              I knew a Wisconsin gas station owner that sent in fuel samples for BTU testing as he was suspicious of supplier. E10 can back with higher numbers than alcohol free. He claimed much variance of BTU within petrol fuel supply. I know those that maintain long history of accurate MPG logs, claim they can spot seasonal change up of fuel blends.

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        • By Forrest on November 2, 2014 at 6:04 am

          And since ethanol fuel will produce higher ultimate chamber pressure the work per BTU is higher. Why? The crank angle is at optimum position to transfer the pressure to torque. Why is that important? Because torque is a measure of your fuel combustion efficiency. Higher torque per your energy squirt means that the engine will be capable if coupled with complementary transmission gearing will provide the same acceleration at lower rate of fuel consumption. How can ethanol do this? Faster flame speed. Another advantage ethanol has not shared by diesel. As the long stroke diesel compression ratio’s increase the friction of piston increases against cylinder wall. This is because the piston is pushed or pulled at crank angle. The force vector is not straight but increasingly pushed to sidewall. The diesel compression advantage appears to gradually dissipate starting at 19:1. Enter into equation of Thermal Dynamics the extreme boost DI high blend ethanol engine. The engine can operate with low compression ratio enjoy minimal friction loss and receive efficient harvest of exhaust energy to greatly boost dynamic compression ratio above diesel. Diesel can’t accomplish like wise as the extreme boost engine not always at extreme boost and may have to sit at stop light at idle or better with engine off. Thermal dynamics must be tempered with mechanics of harvesting energy and the abilities of fuel character. For example one extremely large piston would enter into the ideal world of thermo, but not practical.

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  32. By Robert Frye on November 4, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    We are charged for fuel at the pump to the nearest 0.001 of a gallon.
    ——————————
    1 Gallon = 128 FL OZ.
    1 FL OZ. = 29.57 ML
    ——————————
    So, they measure down to – and sell to – the nearest 3.78 ML
    There are 4.9282 ML per Teaspoon. A teaspoon = 76 drops.

    So when we purchase fuel at the pump we are being charged for the
    nearest 3/4 teaspoon – or 57 drops of fuel.

    The ethanol industry enters the mainstream at the pump. The ethanol industry’s literature and the press commonly define the E grades such as: “E-10 is 10% ethanol and 90% gasoline”, or “E-15 is 15% ethanol and 85% gasoline”, or “E-85 is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline”. Yet, when you quiz them pursuant to energy densities they say things such as: “Well, E-10 can ACTUALLY have less than 10% ethanol”, or “E-15 can ACTUALLY be 11%-15% ethanol”, or “E-85 can ACTUALLY be 51% – 85% ethanol” – and so on. Almost exclusively, the public associates the E-% with what’s labeled at the pump i.e. E10, E15,E30,E85 . How does this industry reconcile this difference with public perception?

    Weights & Measures is charged with making sure the pumps retain accuracy within tolerances for the consumer. Even though they are miserably under staffed, they often “red-tag” pumps and close them down until recalibrated and passed again. All, in units of 57 drops. http://www.usa.gov/directory/federal/weights-and-measures-division.shtml

    Where is Weight & Measures with ethanol labeling? When, after all, we’re all buying BTUs – whether we know and/or acknowledge it or not.

    Summary:
    They measure down to 57 drops of fuel , yet at the same time, they seem to care less of significant loss in energy densities of which can equate to over 21,000 drops/gal. of fuel in energy terms.

    What am I missing here? Please get me on the
    right path.

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    • By TimC on November 4, 2014 at 1:34 pm

      Your point is a good one. Ethanol-gasoline blends may have less than the E-value, but not more. E10 can have up to 10% ethanol, for example, but not greater than 10%. Implied in this is the assumption that consumers won’t mind getting less ethanol than the E-value suggests, but they don’t want more. In other words, people don’t like ethanol in their fuel, and if they get less than claimed, they won’t complain. I guess that’s a valid assumption, since ethanol consumption has to be mandated in the first place. The next question is: why does the consumer/voter put up with ethanol mandates? I don’t have an answer to that one.

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      • By Robert Frye on November 4, 2014 at 2:18 pm

        Here’s another question Tim…

        Based on the wholesale prices spreads between ethanol and RBOB, what are the odds that a station won’t have maximum E-content (in each of their E-grades) to compete and/or maximize profits?

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        • By Robert Frye on November 4, 2014 at 2:23 pm

          Anyone is free and encouraged to answer the above question I posed to TimC

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          • By Forrest on November 4, 2014 at 6:07 pm

            The price per gallon reflects ethanol content. Also, the same vendor from the same depot is filling all the stations within his allotment. Meaning even Shell get their gas from same depot/hub, but may put some special fuel conditioner in the mix for marketing (doubt it). So good luck searching out lower E10 ethanol content and price comparisons. But, can’t you get ethanol free gas? The gas companies make a lot of money on folks so motivated. Oil puts out a lot of propaganda and spouts patriotism as a back door to market their expensive ethanol free gas. Wonder what they use for oxygenate and how they boost octane? Not with lower cost fuel additive for sure or with healthier environmental friendly chemicals. Sometimes you have to pony up for premium to enjoy all the benefits of ethanol free, but for folks so motivated that’s not to expensive. Oh, I haven’t read the max ethanol content is worded as a result of ethanol hating public. But the ethanol hating petrol industry will push hard on EPA for pump signage that appear to “warn” public. Some of the earlier warning signs were laughable. I have read the public is steadily embracing E15 fuel when available. Gas vendors experiencing sales increase by dumping mid grade or especially if investing in blender pumps. Fools.

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            • By Robert Frye on November 4, 2014 at 7:16 pm

              Forrest-
              You are buying concrete. I’m your concrete supplier. I’m not going to tell you in advance the slump, or the concrete/aggregate ratio. You tell me: “GET LOST”!
              I’m your druggist. You order 500mg Tylenol. I say “I can’t guarantee you what mg. dosage you’ll get”. You tell me: “GET LOST”!
              I’m your grocer. You are shopping for milk. You ask “where’s the 2% milk”? I say: “over there – but it’s not really 2%…even though its labeled 2%”. You tell me: “GET LOST”!
              What strikers home with you Forest, on units of measure of which you spend your hard earned money on? There are hundreds of examples. I bet you have quite a few “per” your steadfast positions.
              I have a very simple question for you, Forrest. It’s “yes” or “no”…and doesn’t require 1700 words and 29 “per(s)”. Try to forget about your Carbon Green Bioenergy stock for just a second or two.
              Do you really condone the egregious hypocrisy of labels which are know to be blatantly and purposely inaccurate? Succinctly “yes” or “no…please.

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            • By Forrest on November 5, 2014 at 6:56 am

              No, thank you. I have absolutely no financial interest in ethanol, nor any friendships that would influence me. It’s just an interest I’ve picked up per my technology and science interests. What you ask for is very expensive and problematic for the industry. Is it really worth the cost burden? For example the gasoline side has wide range of BTU and chemical balance across country. Ethanol is the only strict energy standard within the mix. The supplier has always maximized the ethanol portion of fuel per offering lower cost fuel to retail. You describe as increasing profit, but it could also be described as offering more cost competitive fuel. The ethanol side improves the quality of gasoline so not much of an incentive for wholesaler to minimize ethanol portion. Also, since it is impossible for auto consumer to know ethanol content (unlike milk) the industry has regulations and standards promulgated under watchful eye of EPA and dozens of other consumer groups. They have your back to ensure quality of fuel. The fuel has requirements to minimize environmental damage, improve renewable portion, and engine operation.

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            • By Robert Frye on November 5, 2014 at 7:42 am

              “under watchful eye of EPA and dozens of other consumer groups. They have your back to ensure quality of fuel”.
              OH MY! Do you really believe this? Unless reined in, you will come to despise the EPA – They are OUT OF CONTROL!

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  33. By Robert Frye on November 5, 2014 at 7:06 am

    See the trailer to the movie PUMP

    http://www.pumpthemovie.com/

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  34. By Robert Frye on November 14, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    Based on:

    A) An estimated U.S. daily consumption of 368,000,000 gallons of gasoline type fuels (2013 EIA data). http://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=23&t=10

    B) State and Federal gasoline tax of $0.58 per gallon ($0.184 Fed., plus $0.396 State avg.) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_taxes_in_the_United_States

    C) Assuming that 100% of the above fuel quantity above is 10% ethanol with a 3.25% mileage penalty.

    Then, the Fed and State “automatic-annual-gasoline-tax-revenues-increase”, attributed to ethanol addition, is over 2.5 billion dollars/annum.

    Correct me if my math is wrong based on above facts and assumptions.

    What do you come up with?
    Put yet another way – someone buying E-85 would seem to be paying the equivalent of 77-78 cents per gallon “gasoline-tax” when considering the usual mileage penalty compared with higher energy density E-0 grades.

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    • By Forrest on November 17, 2014 at 9:02 am

      Well, if you’re advocating a BTU instead of gallon measure, that would be an improvement. It would be a more equitable tax per roadway use and GW pollution. Also, read a report of EIA that claimed low oil prices per the U.S. supply will not last long. For every barrel we conserve India and China consumes two. Twenty twenty will not look good for our energy security unless we continue down the path of renewable energy. Ethanol by far the low cost path and easiest to adapt to. We can forestall the shortages of limited petrol supply by pushing biofuel production along and mixing more of the fuel within standard fuel supply. Do so on the RFS timeline per fed law seems obvious choice since it is settled law. The progress will also comply to reducing GW emissions as the ethanol portion will greatly reduce. Seems like a no brainer decision as already within the hand. Automotive would delight in standard higher ethanol blends per high engine efficiencies capabilities. The BTU measure would hurt diesel, but the fuel is loaded with more carbon, hence more GW emission. Also, the micro particle emissions very difficult for high density city residence health. Diesel should be banned from inner city traffic.

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      • By Forrest on November 17, 2014 at 9:16 am

        If ethanol continues to do the heavy lifting per RFS schedule, it still produces only a portion of transportation energy needs. We have battery car developing to alleviate inner city congestion and pollution, fuel cell rapidly developing and within production, and natural gas supply. All of these alternative fuel choices should be promoted per the eventual need to transition. Better to utilize our talent and progress now to continue the endeavor. Big mistake to halt progress per temporary low prices gasoline. Better to ship the fuel overseas and gain revenue upon international need and transition ourselves for future.

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  35. By Forrest on November 22, 2014 at 12:08 pm

    This report answers many of the questions raised by this post

    http://www.fuelsinstitute.org/news/PR111214.shtm
    It’s a study by Fuels Institute on future E85 sales. Nine years out the fuel sales should at least double, but could go to twenty times current sales. Much of it depends on access and flex fuel car production. Just 2% of retail fueling stations carry E85 and 60% of these in only 10 states. Six percent of the car fleet is flex fuel capable. The report will shed some light on blend wall concerns. Basically, not a problem if access is increase and automotive continues to add efficient flex fuel vehicles to fleet.

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  36. By Buddy Alton on December 24, 2014 at 12:01 pm

    I prefer non etoh gasoline because my Harley gets 46mpg on it & 34 on e85 and it runs hotter on e85 so it creates premature wear and shuts down in stop & go traffic. THAT is a safety issue.

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  37. By Len on December 24, 2014 at 2:06 pm

    I use E-85. I save about 60 cents per gallon, average, when gas was $4 per gallon. I have done the math.

    My 2013 5.3L Silverado loses about 12% in fuel mileage and our 2012 2.4L Equinox loses about 15%.
    Yellow Hose, government subsidized price reduction of $1 gave me a reason to use it and save money. I figure 40 cents per gallon difference is the break even point.
    My station owner where I buy E-85 said that it won’t go below $1.59 per gallon. That’s what he must charge. With that being said and gas at an almost six year low the price advantage is coming down.
    I understand that E-85 production is subsidized by our government initially because it costs more to make than regular gasoline.
    I burn E-85 mainly because it is USA made. “Remember” American jobs are important.
    The Renewable Fuel Act is the law. We may as well get used to it for whatever reason we do or don’t like about the whole deal. The percentages of ethanol in all our fuel will be increasing even more leaving us not much of a choice in the future.
    Remember too that subsidies are TAX PAYERS money, “you and me” paying for it so we may as well use it.
    We were all concerned and thinking the world would come to an end when they forced us to use unleaded fuel. We adjusted and moved on. Ethanol will work just fine. Look to
    Brazil. They have been using it for many years.
    We will still need ethanol free gas for the future because small engines that are two cycle
    can not use more than 10% ethanol. That may change if engineers find a way.
    .

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  38. By Forrest on December 27, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    After one pickups on on the steady flow of SAE papers on the endeavor of ethanol tuning for efficient combustion of higher ethanol blends, you will quickly conclude in characterizing the state of art is within the infancy stage. It is amazing how technical these ICE became. Auto companies have invested much to understand efficient gasoline fuel combustion, but until recently, not much effort put forth for efficient ethanol fuel. For example the ignition timing was once bench marked per completion of fuel injection. This was satisfactory for gasoline, but wholly inefficient for ethanol. Think about the requirement for advanced ignition of ethanol and delaying the event per the need to squirt more fuel. The longer duration of injector pulse delayed ignition timing. This would put ethanol fuel at a disadvantage. Consider that Ethanol fuel has character of delayed spark ignition, but once lit the flame speed is fast, faster than gasoline and diesel. This is a good thing, but requires to advance timing for proper efficient max chamber pressure. So, by base lining ignition timing after completion of the injector pulse, the car companies compounded the lower BTU effect to mileage. Meaning they made a good thing bad. SAE papers show the efficiency gain, when correcting the ignition timing for specific ethanol blend to be as follows 3-4% gain for E10. Double that for E20 and about 10% efficiency gain for E85. So, depending on your modern vehicle ability, you should suffer no MPG loss up to E20 and flex vehicles with proper timing would only suffer -15% mileage loss on E85.
    Currently, the state of art for auto technology is utilizing the character of heat of vaporization of ethanol vs gasoline to measure ethanol concentration. The injector would pulse fuel into chamber after intake to detect slight variation in chamber pressure. Lower the pressure the higher concentration of ethanol. This brings up another advantage of ethanol to be exploited by combustion engineers. If your car is attempting more torque, the controller will pulse ethanol in during intake. The cooling effect of this will chill airflow and concentrate the engines ability to draw maximum intake. The character of ethanol fuel is acting like chemical turbo charger intake induction. This will make the engine more powerful.

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    • By Forrest on December 31, 2014 at 8:44 am

      The bad news is almost all engine controllers of spark advance is hedged on fuel injection pulse time. Meaning, the pulse width of injection time will influence timing per the need of gasoline fuel. This the first indication of increased throttle and horsepower demand. The spark will be delayed per this event as to meet the need to avoid piston knock. The knock sensor will also delay spark ignition, but that is after the fact. So, ethanol fuel with its chemical oxygen on board will routinely require longer injector pulse and as result suffer ensuing loss of efficiency. Meaning ethanol’s higher octane value and ability to run more efficient is lost and even suffers below plain gasoline. Some good news is EPA has a new standard test fuel that more accurately matches counties gasoline fuel supply with 10% ethanol. So, this blend will preform to optimum performance. The problem of utilizing higher blends of ethanol efficiently may lie with need for accurate ethanol fuel sensor. Current sensors are to expensive and not utilized by automotive. The detection is made rather crudely and inaccurately by software and inputs from current engine sensors. Also, the detection only utilized for emissions and not increasing engine efficiency. Some good news, Japanese car companies have hired talent to develop their vehicle alternative fuel efficiency. Also, Mercedes Benz has an engine touted and tested to do well with ethanol blends. No loss of MPG on E20 fuel.

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  39. By FreedomToChoose on January 5, 2015 at 10:47 am

    the 10% ethanol has corroded many a weedwacker/lawn mower and light vehicle in my use. Lack of ethanol free gas hampers 100LL replacement efforts in aviation. Yikes. Ethanol does not belong in our gas. It’s not even environmentally better, beyond the urban smog concerns, it pollutes more in an energy cycle sense. But ya know. Farmers like the money so I guess it’s getting forced down our throats.

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  40. By Forrest on January 5, 2015 at 3:40 pm

    I hear testimonies of ethanol fuel damage, yet myself with years of experience on all engines have nothing but praise for ethanol blends. My pickup has 260k on high blend ethanol fuel. Maybe the truck lifespan will be shortened from the fuel use? I do my own mechanic work and know my way around the garage. I inspect for damage or water contamination. Nothing. Myself and others have kept open jars of E10 fuel on shelf, attempting water contamination. Nothing. My only mod was to readjust jets on chainsaw to slow idle. The other saw, nothing. High blends of ethanol could result in hard engine starts if upwards to E60 on nonflex fuel engines. Lower blends ethanol actually make cold weather starting better. Some mechanic shows have claimed to never witnessed ethanol fuel damage in their garage. Other’s whom know little of engines, yet believing the hype such as my younger relative have ruined their converter by avoiding E10 and fueling on 100LL aviation fuel. Do you believe the health department allows leaded fuel? The same department makes it illegal to sand paint on old houses and will make the determination to flunk occupancy permit if pant has detectable lead, that is parts per billion. Why does fuel get a pass when the lead goes directly into air? If ethanol a horrible fuel why do Indy cars utilize the fuel. Same with stock cars running E15. Maybe these experts should inform these race teams that ethanol fuel is bad. I was at air show last summer where in a squadron of trick planes fueled strictly on E85. We better get on the horn to tell them their lives are in danger.

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  41. By Forrest on January 20, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Colorado State University has an interesting Engineering research project on E85 fuel. They benchmark a Yukon flex vehicle operating on unleaded or E85 fuel. Then the vehicle is modified to optimize E85 fuel. Results; no loss of mileage, lower emissions, more horsepower and torque. It is not a difficult or expensive for automotive to do likewise. Per my post below, just the simple alteration to engine controller to advance timing to ethanol performance standards would allow consumers of E20 to not experience MPG loss. Some newer vehicles may already do this? For example the flex Yukon above only lost 11% mileage on E85 fuel and this was upon the normal (unmodified) commercial engine.

    http://cres-energy.org/january-2015-cres-newsletter/

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  42. By Russ Finley on January 29, 2015 at 1:35 am

    I may be oversimplifying things but my point is the same. I agree its a matter of degree, but I also believe that our ability to produce more grain is only limited by the relatively low prices (when compared to historical trends).

    So… if corn was a billion dollars a bushel you would produce a billion times more corn with no negative environmental impact?

    But due to dramatic under utilization of land in the rest of the world there is a lot of room for other nations to increase their production as well.

    With our population slated to increase roughly 40% from 7 something billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if they don’t increase their production.

    Also, your number for the amount of corn thats converted to fuel is overstated. Yes, 30-40% is purchased, but only the starch is used. 1/3 of that goes back out as a feed product.

    Fair enough, … to be more exact, over a quarter of our corn crop 40-(0.3 x 40% ) = 28% becomes government mandated corn ethanol.

    That feed product (DDGS) is cheaper per pound of protein than the corn was originally so that actually makes feed rations cheaper for livestock producers.

    By your own admission …“chicken, pork, and beef producers blame ethanol for their high prices.” If corn ethanol really lowers costs for livestock farmers, then livestock producers would not be against corn ethanol.

    But the exploding pork industry in China has a larger weight on the market than ethanol producers.

    Assuming that may be true, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight, they are additive. One of the two would not exist without politicians buying votes from the farm belt by raiding the public larder.

    The price of corn was dropping this fall, even while ethanol was being produced at record paces.

    Nice try but we produced less ethanol in 2014 than we did in 2013. Source: http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/monthly-fuel-ethanol-production-demand

    Once China dropped their trade ban on American corn the prices rebounded. Yes, ethanol has an impact, but China makes the market respond.

    Again, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight, they are both significant and additive. Reduce the demand for corn by 30% by removing mandated corn ethanol consumption and most ethanol refineries would go bust and corn prices would drop to where they belong. Not good for small farmers who would be bought out by larger farmers, but good for the consumer in general, which is what free markets are all about. Small bookstores are almost non-existent quite simply because don’t have a lobby as powerful as yours.

    I continue to maintain that grain is cheap.

    I maintain that water heaters are cheap. Should we find a way to make them more expensive to help water heater manufacturers?

    Even the “high” grain prices from just a couple of years ago are only high in relation to historical lows.

    True but irrelevant. In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer is king, The producer, be it water heater manufactures or corn farmers must bow to the consumer or you eventually would end up like the former Soviet Union.

    The graph you shared is a very small section of a much larger graph which I have shared below. You’ll see that even recent high’s aren’t that high when compared to the 1970′s.

    Again, that is irrelevant. The point is that corn ethanol has doubled and tripled the price of corn relative to what it would have been without politicians creating mandated consumption to raid the public larger to buy votes from the farm belt. You should not feel guilty about that. If I were a corn farmer I would just accept it as a fact of political life. No need to create an alternate reality for guilt relief. My wife is a physician. Her wage is high because of lobbying from a powerful interest group that restricts the supply of physicians. My oldest daughter is in medical school to capitalize on that high wage. I’m not inclined to create an alternate reality to justify physician wages.

    And thats not just corn, thats wheat and soybeans as well.

    Wheat and soy price increase percentages pale in comparison to corn after 2005 biofuel legislation.

    Modern farming practices have driven grains to the lowest prices in history. I don’t know how else to say it.

    Such is the way of markets, but that was before the corn ethanol mandates. Water heaters and refrigerators and computers and on and on have all also been driven to the lowest prices in history by market competition. Note that they are not in need of government mandated consumption. The problem for consumers (and the godsend for corn farmers) is the spike in prices relative to what they would have been as a result of government mandated ethanol consumption.

    Also, the slip from $6 to $4 is because of a record corn crop and one of the largest projected carryovers in recent history.

    Your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always overproduced themselves into poverty. If water heater makers produced far more than demand they too would overproduce themselves into poverty. Government assistance is the only reason small farmers in America still exist. It’s harsh, but it’s reality.

    The drought and high prices cause a lot of producers to go all out to grow as much as they could. The market response is a drop in prices.

    Again, your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always overproduced themselves into poverty. The high prices were in large part due to mandated ethanol consumption. Reduce demand for corn by 30% by eliminating mandated consumption and watch what happens to the price of corn.

    The drop in oil prices came later. Thats why ethanol companies were so profitable this fall. Abundant, cheap corn, and high gas made for good margins.

    The above sentence is accurate. High gas prices slowed gas demand and therefore ethanol demand, which decreased the demand for corn, which lowered corn prices, which makes for higher ethanol profits …because its consumption is mandated by government fiat. With today’s low oil prices you can expect greater oil consumption, and thanks to mandated ethanol consumption, you will get greater ethanol consumption, which is a good example of how government meddling in markets can hose consumers so badly to favor a given lobby.

    My “take a penny” example was a little muddy. I was implying you could go to the closest elevator and buy it for that. Which you can. I was talking about the raw grain, not a finished product. Yes a marketed product has more cost. But not raw grain.

    … that’s why I called you on what you originally said.

    Farmers are able to grow crops for both. As I mentioned above, African farmland is drastically underutilized. If a grower is getting paid to make a commercial product they’ll grow more to try to make more. Thereby making them able to engage in subsistance and commercial farming.

    You should thank your lucky stars that they don’t become as efficient as an American farmer or even our government won’t be able to protect your way of life. You have a valid point in that if third world farmers became as efficient as American farmers, they would produce a great deal more, but you, as a farmer know that leads to even lower prices due to supply/demand imbalances. And let’ not ignore the fact that our population is slated to increase roughly 40% from 7 something billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if they don’t increase their production.

    This is the point American farmers transitioned through in the 1910′s. If you were only able to do one or the other 90% of the US would still have to be on the farm.

    …and they would still be poor. The days of the small farmer in America may be limited, sans further government support. That’s the way of markets.

    For starters, since 75% of corn still goes to the feed market, no you’re not “primarily a biofuel farmer”. Thats like saying an oil refiner is “primarily a jet fuel (10%) and asphalt (3%) producer”.

    It’s a cardinal sin to misquote your debate partner when the debate is recorded in writing. I didn’t say you are “primarily a biofuel farmer”. Feel free to quote what I really said.

    To say biofuels can’t scale very far is pretty simplified statement itself don’t you think?

    I’m just passing on the conclusions of just about every published science study I’ve read on the topic, so no , not so simplified. Biofuels are quite environmentally destructive, in addition to competing for land for food and biodiversity.

    Kind of depends on what you’re looking at. Brazil would tend to disagree with their sugarcane.

    Cane will produce roughly 8 times more ethanol per acre than corn.

    Corn has taken the American market to 10% saturation.

    Unless you are a corn farmer, that is not a good thing. A mandated 7% improvement in average gas mileage for new cars would displace just as much gasoline for no cost to consumers of corn or fuel.

    Is there any other alternative fuel that is even close to that point?

    Displacing gasoline with a fuel that is just as environmentally worse in its own ways is not a good idea. A mandated improvement in gas mileage would have displaced just as much gasoline for no cost to consumers of corn or fuel.

    Cellulosic plants are being built left and right now.

    No they aren’t.

    Biodiesel has a pretty fair marketshare itself.

    It’s market share is quite small compared to corn ethanol and would also likely collapse sans government assistance.

    For products and processes that really only started reaching maturity in the last 5-10 years that sure looks scaleable to me.

    We have different definitions of scalable. Mine is that corn ethanol use would not expand without mandated consumption and that with expansion comes expanded negative environmental consequences. Remove the government mandate to consume it and the industry would likely collapse.

    Your last point is the one that bugs me the most. That is the completely wrong way to look at the issue of malnutrition.

    I quote my last two sentences below:

    Biofuels can’t scale very far and they certainly don’t help with the struggle against malnutrition for the poorest, who, if they all joined hands would wrap around the planet about 30 times.
    The poor certainly would not grow their own corn to eat if it were cheaper to buy it.

    You continue …

    It is not American farmers jobs to take a loss to feed the world.

    That’s a strawman argument. I never said that it was and no American farmer does.

    Grains are the cheapest they’ve ever been, when adjusted for inflation.

    True but irrelevant. In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer is king, The producer, be it water heater, or computer manufactures or corn farmers must bow to the consumer or we would eventually would end up like the former Soviet Union.

    So its not an issue of availability or biofuels. Look at the location of the malnourished. They’re in areas that aren’t producing enough food because they’re using seed technology from a century ago

    Hunger is largely the result of ineffectual governance preventing economic growth. High grain prices just pour a little gas on that fire. The problems with corn ethanol go far beyond the food price increase issue.

    [link]      
    • By Alex Johnson on February 3, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      “So… if corn was a billion dollars a bushel you would produce a billion times more corn with no negative environmental impact?”

      oh fun, we’re going to start with extreme hyperbole. Yeah if corn were a billion dollars a bushel I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t use it for anything anymore so there would be no environmental impact. So maybe thats the real answer! Tax it out of use. Then no one can complain!

      “With our population slated to increase roughly 40% from 7 something billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if they don’t increase their production.”

      Exactly, which is why I have argued its important to get better seed technology to developing nations.

      “By your own admission …”chicken, pork, and beef producers blame ethanol for their high prices.” If corn ethanol really lowers costs for livestock farmers, then livestock producers would not be against corn ethanol.”

      They blame ethanol because they want a scapegoat. Look at this link from extension.org talking about how much corn it takes to finish out a steer for slaughter. Using his assumptions you get to 4.67 lbs of corn for every pound of meat produced at market. So using $4.00 corn, thats $0.33 of the cost of a pound of beef. Poultry and swine are even more efficient because they’re raised in confinement barns. So your most expensive feed product accounts for 0.06% of the $5.98 I can buy 93% lean ground beef for at the store. One thing you need to learn about farmers is that they all like to complain. Its in our DNA.

      “Assuming that may be true, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight, they are additive. One of the two would not exist without politicians buying votes from the farm belt by raiding the public larder”

      Yes I agree they’re additive, but just as you don’t think its the governments job to mandate fuels, I could argue its not our job to export corn to China. Personally, I’d rather use less foreign oil by utilizing more ethanol than worry bout feeding China’s pork addiction.

      “Nice try but we produced less ethanol in 2014 than we did in 2013. Source:http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/mo…”

      Well “nice try” on your part. Take another look at that chart, the monthly chart doesn’t include December in the 2014 totals. If you look at this weekly chart from the same source, which does have the December numbers, you’ll see that 2014 outproduce 2013, with December actually being the most productive month. http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/weekly-ethanol-feed-production

      “Again, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight, they are both significant and additive. Reduce the demand for corn by 30% by removing mandated corn ethanol consumption and most ethanol refineries would go bust and corn prices would drop to where they belong. Not good for small farmers who would be bought out by larger farmers, but good for the consumer in general, which is what free markets are all about. Small bookstores are almost non-existent quite simply because don’t have a lobby as powerful as yours.”

      Again its a matter of opinion which is the one we shouldn’t be doing. And no, farmers wouldn’t go bust. They’d cut back. It actually happens to us quite often where the price goes from record highs to below production costs one year to the next. We survive. My family has been farming in the same area since the mid 1800′s and its actually the really big guys, who over extend themselves during the good times that hurt more than the little guy. Usually the little guy, like us, has all their land and machinery paid off so our cost of production is actually lower than that of the big guy. As my grandpa said, you can farm 500 acres well, and make more money than the guy who farms 1000 acres poorly. And when the big guys go bankrupt the little guy gets to upgrade their equipment on the farm auction. And out of those ashes, some little guy will mortgage the farm, think they have it all figured out, and try to be a big guy. And when grain prices crash again the cycle repeats itself.

      “I maintain that water heaters are cheap. Should we find a way to make them more expensive to help water heater manufacturers?”

      Well here you’re mixing commodity and retail. Water heater manufactures have complete control over their prices. Farmers end price is dictated by a bunch of suits in Chicago who like to change the price everytime it rains. As JFK once said “For the farmer, is the only man in our economy who has to buy everything he buys at retail – sell everything he sells at wholesale – and pay the freight both ways.” Now you could argue the same is true for oil or nat gas producers, but there is one big difference. Farmers plan all their marketing a year in advance. We try to predict each February or March, while there is still snow on the ground, what the growing season and prices will be like come September and October. Yes you can sell some of your crop on futures to get good prices but not very much of if because you have no way of knowing what your yield is going to be until you’re in the field combining. Oil and gas producers can dial back or increase production on the fly as prices fluctuate.

      “True but irrelevant. In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer is king, The producer, be it water heater manufactures or corn farmers must bow to the consumer or you eventually would end up like the former Soviet Union.”

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Again you’re mixing retail and commodities. My point was that the “grain is expensive” is not true. Its only true when looking back and not taking past prices in context. The historical lows I was pointing out were right before the drought. And even during the drought, these high prices are only high when compared to the previous year.

      “Fair enough but the point is that corn ethanol has doubled and tripled the price of corn relative to what it would have been without politicians creating mandated consumption to raid the public larger to buy votes from the farm belt. You should not feel guilty about that. If I were a corn farmer I would just accept it as a fact of political life. No need to create an alternate reality for guilt relief. My wife is a physician. Her wage is high because of lobbying from a powerful interest group that restricts the supply of physicians. My oldest daughter is in medical school to capitalize on that high wage. I’m not inclined to create an alternate reality to justify physician wages.”

      You’re making quite a few assumptions there. Before ethanol plants began to pop up the government was paying out billions of dollars a year in LDP payments. This was an adjustment paid to farmers to keep them afloat. Yes, ethanol has helped create demand, but when put in historical context its still the cheapest its ever been (see my chart from my previous post). Now the government doesn’t pay out those billions of dollars and corn is kept above the price of production by market forces. Does the ethanol mandate help? Yes, but some ethanol would be needed anyway to cover the oxygenate requirements for gasoline. I honestly believe if the EPA would approve a full range of blends, like Brazil, and the car manufactures would admit that every car they’ve made since 1991 is E85 compatible, which they are, the mandate wouldn’t be needed at all. But the reason that doesn’t happen is that even with as powerful as you think our corn lobby is, the oil lobby is bigger, has more money, and more friends in D.C.

      “Wheat and soy price increase percentages pale in comparison to corn after 2005 biofuel legislation.”

      Did you even look at the chart I had added the link to? Here it is again. http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1188945/commodity_fig15.png&width=450 If you look closely you’ll see that when ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION that wheat and soybean prices directly track that of corn. If you look at the chart corn is on the bottom, wheat is the middle, and soybeans are on top. Thats the official price adjusted for inflation by the USDA. So no it doesn’t pale, they have all kept pace with each other very well. That might not be the better story, but its the truth, and that chart shows it.

      “Such is the way of markets, but that was before the corn ethanol mandates. Water heaters and refrigerators and computers and on and on have all also been driven to the lowest prices in history by market competition. Note that they are not in need of government mandated consumption. The problem for consumers (and the godsend for corn farmers) is the spike in prices relative to what they would have been as a result of government mandated ethanol consumption.”

      Again, you’re comparing retail and commodities. The prices of those other things dropping has to do with improving technology, automated manufacturing, and wholesale stores. Corn has been driven down by better technology but also greater efficiency in fertilizer use, better genetics, and the resulting higher yields per acre. Look again at that chart and show me where the spike from the ethanol mandate is at. I see spikes due to bad weather years, and a general trend upwards for all three commodities. Yes, ethanol plays a part in that demand, but so does the developing worlds demand for protein.

      “Your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always overproduced themselves into poverty. If water heater makers produced far more than demand they too would overproduce themselves into poverty. Government assistance is keeping small farmers in America afloat. It’s harsh, but it’s reality”

      Whats inconsistent about it? Farmers ramp production up and down, demand swings with it. Again your water heater comparison is off because they would slow production just like any other manufacturer. As I said farmers are guessing what will be needed for the next year during the middle of winter cause you have to have everything ready to go once the ground thaws. And again, I would argue, its not the small guys that need help as much as the big ones.

      “Again, your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always overproduced themselves into poverty. The high prices were in large part due to mandated ethanol consumption. Reduce demand for corn by 30% by eliminating mandated consumption and watch what happens to the price of corn.”

      I think the real issue with your understanding of this is the context. You do realize we had a massive drought right? During that time corn was expensive so ethanol plants actually slowed down production. The next year was a better growing season, so now there is an abundance of corn and prices are lower. Like I said above your RFA graph was off, so take another look at it and explain how higher ethanol production lead to lower grain prices. I’d love to hear that explanation.

      “The above sentence is accurate. High gas prices slowed gas demand and therefore ethanol demand, which decreased the demand for corn, which lowered corn prices, which makes for higher ethanol profits …because its consumption is mandated by government fiat. With today’s low oil prices you can expect greater oil consumption, and thanks to mandated ethanol consumption, you will get greater ethanol consumption, which is a good example of how government meddling in markets can hose consumers so badly to favor a given lobby.”

      Your order of events are off. Take another look at that weekly ethanol production link I shared above. Ethanol demand ramped up all fall because corn was cheap. Corn dropping September, right before harvest, because the suits in Chicago got market reports that it was going to be a record harvest (it was). So the actual order of things was corn prices dropped, for months, then oil dropped, because Saudi Arabia, and now recently ethanol has dropped because there was a glut of production. It has now leveled off again. There was actually a time in December where ethanol was more expensive than gasoline, that was because of how fast oil dropped and how much the export market was booming for ethanol. India bought a lot of ethanol over the last couple of months.

      “… that’s why I called you on what you originally said.”

      And thats why I decided to explain it so you could understand that you’re not talking about what you think you’re talking about. When we send grain to foreign markets its not a “finished product”. Its still raw grain, priced the same as it is at the local elevator. Thats why my argument was that you can buy all the grain you want, its the transportation that actually adds the cost. So its not “high grain prices” that are starving people in Africa (this is where my take a penny analogy comes in ) its the cost to get the grain there.

      “You should thank your lucky stars that they don’t become as efficient as an American farmer or even our government won’t be able to protect your way of life. You have a valid point in that if third world farmers became as efficient as American farmers, they would produce a great deal more, but you, as a farmer know that leads to even lower prices due to supply/demand imbalances. And let’ not ignore the fact that our population is slated to increase roughly 40% from 7 something billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if they don’t increase their production.”

      ha, I don’t think the government is doing a whole lot to protect our way of life. And honestly, as those countries get better at ag, more demand for protein will ensue there as well. Every civilization in history has increased its demand for animal protein as it develops. So as these developing countries come into their own they’ll soak up their own production as fast as they make it. I’d be much more worried about where you’re going to put all the people than I am where you’re going to find the food.

      “…and they would still be poor. The days of the small farmer in America may be limited, sans further government support. That’s the way of markets.”

      And again I’ll say the small farmer isn’t going anywhere. Big farmers have to come from somewhere.

      “It’s a cardinal sin to misquote your debate partner when the debate is recorded in writing. I didn’t say you are “primarily a biofuel farmer”. Feel free to quote what I really said.”

      Ok, well I’ll do just that then here is your actual quote. “As a corn farmer, you are largely a biofuel farmer.” That was pulled directly from your reply. So yeah, I said “primarily” instead of “largely” but I would say they’re about the same in this context. If thats not what you meant, please enlighten me. I would say we’re “largely” feed producers. See, it means the same thing. The other cardinal sin of debating in writing is getting too high on your own horse to argue one word difference that doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence at all. It just shows that you have no argument for my rebuttal. So even quoting what you really said, we’re still LARGELY feed producers.

      “I’m just passing on the conclusions of just about every published science study I’ve read on the topic, so no , not so simplified. Biofuels are quite environmentally destructive, in addition to competing for land for food and biodiversity.”

      Check the authors of those studies. I would venture a guess that the authors last names were Pimmentel and Searchinger. They’re about the only two authors I’ve read the continue to argue against biofuels. Every other study done by academics show that biofuels are not destructive, and the most recent ones show that ILUC is wrong so land for food procution isn’t affected. And it never will be, profit margins for producing food products is much higher than that of corn and soybeans. Its a lot more work, but much more profitable.

      “Cane will produce roughly 8 times more ethanol per acre than corn.”

      Doesn’t change the facts of my statement. Biofuels have scaled very well in Brazil. Both corn and cane ethanol are energy positive,and both are done at a very large scale. The fact that cane may be better at it doesn’t change anything.

      “Unless you are a corn farmer, that is not a good thing. A mandated 7% improvement in average gas mileage for new cars would displace just as much gasoline for no cost to consumers of corn or fuel.”

      So your answer to one mandate is another mandate? And not only that, one that would cost the consumer more money since I’m sure car manufactures would hike their prices for the better technology.

      “Displacing gasoline with a fuel that is just as environmentally destructive in its own ways is not a good idea.”

      Again your assumption that ethanol production is more destructive is off. Show me one case where ethanol spills have lead to environmental destruction. Show me a case where ethanol has contaminated drinking water. Take a look at tar sands mining and try to explain to me how ethanol production is more destructive than that. And not even just the ethanol but corn production as well. If it was that destructive we wouldn’t be growing corn on the same ground that my great, great, great grandfather did.

      “No they aren’t” (In reference to building cellulosic plants)

      Well in the last year I’ve read about two grand openings the in the US, one more slated for early this year. Altogether thats at least 60 million gallons this year. Then you have one or two in Europe that are producing, one or two more in Brazil, and one was just announced to begin construction in India. Thats a lot of cellulosic plants in the last couple of years for something that was assumed to be “another 5 years away” just 2 years ago.

      “It’s market share is quite small compared to corn ethanol and would also likely collapse sans government assistance.” (In reference to biodiesels market share)

      Yes, its smaller than ethanol, but its still a chunk of the market. Which was my point.

      “We have different definitions of scalable. Mine is that corn ethanol use would not expand without mandated consumption and that with expansion comes expanded negative environmental consequences. Remove the government mandate to consume it and the industry would likely collapse.”

      I don’t see corn ethanol scaling a whole lot more in the near term either, but I do think cellulosic has a lot of potential. And no, its not destructive to take ag residue and turn it into ethanol. We’re getting to a point where we can either do more fieldwork to break it down, or we have to take it off. Also, as I mentioned above, I think that if the market were opened up ethanol use would actually expand. Also, did you know that there are cars that can utilize ethanol and not take a MPG hit? I just read about the VW Gol, sold in Brazil, that has higher HP and goes faster when using ethanol. If you opened up the market here those cars would sell and demand would rise. If you truly want a free market, make oil companies take the anti-blender pump language out of their franchise agreements and let ethanol compete. I think its demand would surprise you.

      “That’s a strawman argument. I never said that it was and no American farmer does.” (In reference to my comment that farmers shouldn’t have to take a loss to feed the world)

      Its not a strawman, its how you see it. You say grain prices are too high. I argue that when adjusted for inflation they’re at historic lows. You say without biofuels the price would drop and we could feed all the poor. I argue that farmers can’t produce it any cheaper, so to do so would cause the farmer to take a loss. I agree, farmers aren’t taking a loss to feed people now, but if you had it your way they would.

      “In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer is king, The producer, be it water heater, or computer manufactures or corn farmers must bow to the consumer or we would eventually would end up like the former Soviet Union. The adjusted for inflation price of corn in dollars per metric ton in the graph below shows where the price of corn would likely be today without mandated ethanol consumption.”

      I’ve already expressed my distaste for your water heater argument. But again, if your example the water heater manufacturer sets their own prices. Farmers are collectively at the whim of commodity traders. Water heaters heaters come at different levels of quality, size, heat rate, etc. Corn is the same no matter what farmer you buy it from. You have a commodity, not a manufactured product. Again your chart only shows the bottom of the chart that I shared above, and will again here http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1188945/commodity_fig15.png&width=450

      You’re showing the bottom of a long historical trend downward. In context of the last 100 years, its still very very cheap.

      “Hunger is largely the result of ineffectual governance preventing economic growth. High grain prices just pour a little gas on that fire. The problems with corn ethanol go far beyond the food price increase issue.”

      Ok, so you agree that the hunger issue isn’t cause by biofuels? I get what you’re saying with “high” grain prices being additive here, but what other issues are there? That been the crux of the debate I had with DanceswithDachounds that you entered.

      [link]      
    • By Alex Johnson on February 3, 2015 at 3:07 pm

      “So…
      if corn was a billion dollars a bushel you would produce a billion times more
      corn with no negative environmental impact?”

      oh fun, we’re going to start with extreme hyperbole. Yeah if corn were a
      billion dollars a bushel I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t use it for anything
      anymore so there would be no environmental impact. So maybe thats the real
      answer! Tax it out of use. Then no one can complain!

      “With our population slated to increase roughly 40% from 7 something
      billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if they don’t
      increase their production.”

      Exactly, which is why I have argued its important to get better seed technology
      to developing nations.

      “By your own admission …”chicken, pork, and beef producers blame
      ethanol for their high prices.” If corn ethanol really lowers costs for
      livestock farmers, then livestock producers would not be against corn ethanol.”

      They blame ethanol because they want a scapegoat. Look at this link from
      extension.org talking about how much corn it takes to finish out a steer for
      slaughter. Using his assumptions you get to 4.67 lbs of corn for every pound of
      meat produced at market. So using $4.00 corn, thats $0.33 of the cost of a pound
      of beef. Poultry and swine are even more efficient because they’re raised in
      confinement barns. So your most expensive feed product accounts for 0.06% of
      the $5.98 I can buy 93% lean ground beef for at the store. One thing you need
      to learn about farmers is that they all like to complain. Its in our DNA.

      “Assuming that may be true, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight,
      they are additive. One of the two would not exist without politicians buying
      votes from the farm belt by raiding the public larder”

      Yes I agree they’re additive, but just as you don’t think its the governments
      job to mandate fuels, I could argue its not our job to export corn to China.
      Personally, I’d rather use less foreign oil by utilizing more ethanol than
      worry bout feeding China’s pork addiction.

      “Nice try but we produced less ethanol in 2014 than we did in 2013.
      Source:http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/mo…”

      Well “nice try” on your part. Take another look at that chart, the
      monthly chart doesn’t include December in the 2014 totals. If you look at this
      weekly chart from the same source, which does have the December numbers, you’ll
      see that 2014 outproduce 2013, with December actually being the most productive
      month. http://ethanolrfa.org/pages/weekly-ethanol-feed-production

      “Again, it doesn’t matter which is the larger weight, they are both
      significant and additive. Reduce the demand for corn by 30% by removing
      mandated corn ethanol consumption and most ethanol refineries would go bust and
      corn prices would drop to where they belong. Not good for small farmers who
      would be bought out by larger farmers, but good for the consumer in general,
      which is what free markets are all about. Small bookstores are almost
      non-existent quite simply because don’t have a lobby as powerful as yours.”

      Again its a matter of opinion which is the one we shouldn’t be doing. And no,
      farmers wouldn’t go bust. They’d cut back. It actually happens to us quite
      often where the price goes from record highs to below production costs one year
      to the next. We survive. My family has been farming in the same area since the
      mid 1800′s and its actually the really big guys, who over extend themselves
      during the good times that hurt more than the little guy. Usually the little
      guy, like us, has all their land and machinery paid off so our cost of
      production is actually lower than that of the big guy. As my grandpa said, you
      can farm 500 acres well, and make more money than the guy who farms 1000 acres
      poorly. And when the big guys go bankrupt the little guy gets to upgrade their
      equipment on the farm auction. And out of those ashes, some little guy will
      mortgage the farm, think they have it all figured out, and try to be a big guy.
      And when grain prices crash again the cycle repeats itself.

      “I maintain that water heaters are cheap. Should we find a way to make
      them more expensive to help water heater manufacturers?”

      Well here you’re mixing commodity and retail. Water heater manufactures have
      complete control over their prices. Farmers end price is dictated by a bunch of
      suits in Chicago who like to change the price everytime it rains. As JFK once
      said “For the farmer, is the only man in our economy who has to buy
      everything he buys at retail – sell everything he sells at wholesale – and pay
      the freight both ways.” Now you could argue the same is true for oil or
      nat gas producers, but there is one big difference. Farmers plan all their
      marketing a year in advance. We try to predict each February or March, while
      there is still snow on the ground, what the growing season and prices will be
      like come September and October. Yes you can sell some of your crop on futures
      to get good prices but not very much of if because you have no way of knowing
      what your yield is going to be until you’re in the field combining. Oil and gas
      producers can dial back or increase production on the fly as prices fluctuate.

      “True but irrelevant. In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer
      is king, The producer, be it water heater manufactures or corn farmers must bow
      to the consumer or you eventually would end up like the former Soviet Union.”

      I’m not sure what you’re trying to say. Again you’re mixing retail and
      commodities. My point was that the “grain is expensive” is not true.
      Its only true when looking back and not taking past prices in context. The
      historical lows I was pointing out were right before the drought. And even
      during the drought, these high prices are only high when compared to the
      previous year.

      “Fair enough but the point is that corn ethanol has doubled and tripled
      the price of corn relative to what it would have been without politicians
      creating mandated consumption to raid the public larger to buy votes from the
      farm belt. You should not feel guilty about that. If I were a corn farmer I
      would just accept it as a fact of political life. No need to create an
      alternate reality for guilt relief. My wife is a physician. Her wage is high
      because of lobbying from a powerful interest group that restricts the supply of
      physicians. My oldest daughter is in medical school to capitalize on that high
      wage. I’m not inclined to create an alternate reality to justify physician
      wages.”

      You’re making quite a few assumptions there. Before ethanol plants began to pop
      up the government was paying out billions of dollars a year in LDP payments.
      This was an adjustment paid to farmers to keep them afloat. Yes, ethanol has
      helped create demand, but when put in historical context its still the cheapest
      its ever been (see my chart from my previous post). Now the government doesn’t
      pay out those billions of dollars and corn is kept above the price of
      production by market forces. Does the ethanol mandate help? Yes, but some
      ethanol would be needed anyway to cover the oxygenate requirements for
      gasoline. I honestly believe if the EPA would approve a full range of blends,
      like Brazil, and the car manufactures would admit that every car they’ve made
      since 1991 is E85 compatible, which they are, the mandate wouldn’t be needed at
      all. But the reason that doesn’t happen is that even with as powerful as you think
      our corn lobby is, the oil lobby is bigger, has more money, and more friends in
      D.C.

      “Wheat and soy price increase percentages pale in comparison to corn after
      2005 biofuel legislation.”

      Did you even look at the chart I had added the link to? Here it is again.
      http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1188945/commodity_fig15.png&width=450
      If you look closely you’ll see that when ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION that wheat and
      soybean prices directly track that of corn. If you look at the chart corn is on
      the bottom, wheat is the middle, and soybeans are on top. Thats the official
      price adjusted for inflation by the USDA. So no it doesn’t pale, they have all
      kept pace with each other very well. That might not be the better story, but
      its the truth, and that chart shows it.

      “Such is the way of markets, but that was before the corn ethanol
      mandates. Water heaters and refrigerators and computers and on and on have all
      also been driven to the lowest prices in history by market competition. Note
      that they are not in need of government mandated consumption. The problem for
      consumers (and the godsend for corn farmers) is the spike in prices relative to
      what they would have been as a result of government mandated ethanol
      consumption.”

      Again, you’re comparing retail and commodities. The prices of those other
      things dropping has to do with improving technology, automated manufacturing,
      and wholesale stores. Corn has been driven down by better technology but also
      greater efficiency in fertilizer use, better genetics, and the resulting higher
      yields per acre. Look again at that chart and show me where the spike from the
      ethanol mandate is at. I see spikes due to bad weather years, and a general
      trend upwards for all three commodities. Yes, ethanol plays a part in that
      demand, but so does the developing worlds demand for protein.

      “Your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always overproduced
      themselves into poverty. If water heater makers produced far more than demand
      they too would overproduce themselves into poverty. Government assistance is
      keeping small farmers in America afloat. It’s harsh, but it’s reality”

      Whats inconsistent about it? Farmers ramp production up and down, demand swings
      with it. Again your water heater comparison is off because they would slow
      production just like any other manufacturer. As I said farmers are guessing
      what will be needed for the next year during the middle of winter cause you
      have to have everything ready to go once the ground thaws. And again, I would
      argue, its not the small guys that need help as much as the big ones.

      “Again, your argument is inconsistent. American farmers have always
      overproduced themselves into poverty. The high prices were in large part due to
      mandated ethanol consumption. Reduce demand for corn by 30% by eliminating
      mandated consumption and watch what happens to the price of corn.”

      I think the real issue with your understanding of this is the context. You do
      realize we had a massive drought right? During that time corn was expensive so
      ethanol plants actually slowed down production. The next year was a better
      growing season, so now there is an abundance of corn and prices are lower. Like
      I said above your RFA graph was off, so take another look at it and explain how
      higher ethanol production lead to lower grain prices. I’d love to hear that
      explanation.

      “The above sentence is accurate. High gas prices slowed gas demand and
      therefore ethanol demand, which decreased the demand for corn, which lowered
      corn prices, which makes for higher ethanol profits …because its consumption
      is mandated by government fiat. With today’s low oil prices you can expect
      greater oil consumption, and thanks to mandated ethanol consumption, you will
      get greater ethanol consumption, which is a good example of how government
      meddling in markets can hose consumers so badly to favor a given lobby.”

      Your order of events are off. Take another look at that weekly ethanol
      production link I shared above. Ethanol demand ramped up all fall because corn
      was cheap. Corn dropping September, right before harvest, because the suits in
      Chicago got market reports that it was going to be a record harvest (it was).
      So the actual order of things was corn prices dropped, for months, then oil
      dropped, because Saudi Arabia, and now recently ethanol has dropped because
      there was a glut of production. It has now leveled off again. There was
      actually a time in December where ethanol was more expensive than gasoline,
      that was because of how fast oil dropped and how much the export market was booming
      for ethanol. India bought a lot of ethanol over the last couple of months.

      “… that’s why I called you on what you originally said.”

      And thats why I decided to explain it so you could understand that you’re not
      talking about what you think you’re talking about. When we send grain to
      foreign markets its not a “finished product”. Its still raw grain,
      priced the same as it is at the local elevator. Thats why my argument was that
      you can buy all the grain you want, its the transportation that actually adds
      the cost. So its not “high grain prices” that are starving people in
      Africa (this is where my take a penny analogy comes in ) its the cost to get
      the grain there.

      “You should thank your lucky stars that they don’t become as efficient as
      an American farmer or even our government won’t be able to protect your way of
      life. You have a valid point in that if third world farmers became as efficient
      as American farmers, they would produce a great deal more, but you, as a farmer
      know that leads to even lower prices due to supply/demand imbalances. And let’
      not ignore the fact that our population is slated to increase roughly 40% from
      7 something billion to over 10 billion, a lot of people are going to starve if
      they don’t increase their production.”

      ha, I don’t think the government is doing a whole lot to protect our way of
      life. And honestly, as those countries get better at ag, more demand for
      protein will ensue there as well. Every civilization in history has increased
      its demand for animal protein as it develops. So as these developing countries
      come into their own they’ll soak up their own production as fast as they make
      it. I’d be much more worried about where you’re going to put all the people
      than I am where you’re going to find the food.

      “…and they would still be poor. The days of the small farmer in America
      may be limited, sans further government support. That’s the way of markets.”

      And again I’ll say the small farmer isn’t going anywhere. Big farmers have to
      come from somewhere.

      “It’s a cardinal sin to misquote your debate partner when the debate is
      recorded in writing. I didn’t say you are “primarily a biofuel
      farmer”. Feel free to quote what I really said.”

      Ok, well I’ll do just that then here is your actual quote. “As a corn
      farmer, you are largely a biofuel farmer.” That was pulled directly from
      your reply. So yeah, I said “primarily” instead of
      “largely” but I would say they’re about the same in this context. If
      thats not what you meant, please enlighten me. I would say we’re
      “largely” feed producers. See, it means the same thing. The other
      cardinal sin of debating in writing is getting too high on your own horse to
      argue one word difference that doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence at
      all. It just shows that you have no argument for my rebuttal. So even quoting
      what you really said, we’re still LARGELY feed producers.

      “I’m just passing on the conclusions of just about every published science
      study I’ve read on the topic, so no , not so simplified. Biofuels are quite
      environmentally destructive, in addition to competing for land for food and
      biodiversity.”

      Check the authors of those studies. I would venture a guess that the authors
      last names were Pimmentel and Searchinger. They’re about the only two authors
      I’ve read the continue to argue against biofuels. Every other study done by
      academics show that biofuels are not destructive, and the most recent ones show
      that ILUC is wrong so land for food procution isn’t affected. And it never will
      be, profit margins for producing food products is much higher than that of corn
      and soybeans. Its a lot more work, but much more profitable.

      “Cane will produce roughly 8 times more ethanol per acre than corn.”

      Doesn’t change the facts of my statement. Biofuels have scaled very well in
      Brazil. Both corn and cane ethanol are energy positive,and both are done at a
      very large scale. The fact that cane may be better at it doesn’t change
      anything.

      “Unless you are a corn farmer, that is not a good thing. A mandated 7%
      improvement in average gas mileage for new cars would displace just as much
      gasoline for no cost to consumers of corn or fuel.”

      So your answer to one mandate is another mandate? And not only that, one that
      would cost the consumer more money since I’m sure car manufactures would hike
      their prices for the better technology.

      “Displacing gasoline with a fuel that is just as environmentally
      destructive in its own ways is not a good idea.”

      Again your assumption that ethanol production is more destructive is off. Show
      me one case where ethanol spills have lead to environmental destruction. Show
      me a case where ethanol has contaminated drinking water. Take a look at tar
      sands mining and try to explain to me how ethanol production is more
      destructive than that. And not even just the ethanol but corn production as
      well. If it was that destructive we wouldn’t be growing corn on the same ground
      that my great, great, great grandfather did.

      “No they aren’t” (In reference to building cellulosic plants)

      Well in the last year I’ve read about two grand openings the in the US, one
      more slated for early this year. Altogether thats at least 60 million gallons
      this year. Then you have one or two in Europe that are producing, one or two
      more in Brazil, and one was just announced to begin construction in India.
      Thats a lot of cellulosic plants in the last couple of years for something that
      was assumed to be “another 5 years away” just 2 years ago.

      “It’s market share is quite small compared to corn ethanol and would also
      likely collapse sans government assistance.” (In reference to biodiesels
      market share)

      Yes, its smaller than ethanol, but its still a chunk of the market. Which was
      my point.

      “We have different definitions of scalable. Mine is that corn ethanol use
      would not expand without mandated consumption and that with expansion comes
      expanded negative environmental consequences. Remove the government mandate to
      consume it and the industry would likely collapse.”

      I don’t see corn ethanol scaling a whole lot more in the near term either, but
      I do think cellulosic has a lot of potential. And no, its not destructive to
      take ag residue and turn it into ethanol. We’re getting to a point where we can
      either do more fieldwork to break it down, or we have to take it off. Also, as
      I mentioned above, I think that if the market were opened up ethanol use would
      actually expand. Also, did you know that there are cars that can utilize
      ethanol and not take a MPG hit? I just read about the VW Gol, sold in Brazil,
      that has higher HP and goes faster when using ethanol. If you opened up the
      market here those cars would sell and demand would rise. If you truly want a
      free market, make oil companies take the anti-blender pump language out of
      their franchise agreements and let ethanol compete. I think its demand would
      surprise you.

      “That’s a strawman argument. I never said that it was and no American
      farmer does.” (In reference to my comment that farmers shouldn’t have to
      take a loss to feed the world)

      Its not a strawman, its how you see it. You say grain prices are too high. I
      argue that when adjusted for inflation they’re at historic lows. You say
      without biofuels the price would drop and we could feed all the poor. I argue
      that farmers can’t produce it any cheaper, so to do so would cause the farmer
      to take a loss. I agree, farmers aren’t taking a loss to feed people now, but
      if you had it your way they would.

      “In a regulated market driven economy, the consumer is king, The producer,
      be it water heater, or computer manufactures or corn farmers must bow to the
      consumer or we would eventually would end up like the former Soviet Union. The
      adjusted for inflation price of corn in dollars per metric ton in the graph
      below shows where the price of corn would likely be today without mandated
      ethanol consumption.”

      I’ve already expressed my distaste for your water heater argument. But again,
      if your example the water heater manufacturer sets their own prices. Farmers
      are collectively at the whim of commodity traders. Water heaters heaters come
      at different levels of quality, size, heat rate, etc. Corn is the same no
      matter what farmer you buy it from. You have a commodity, not a manufactured
      product. Again your chart only shows the bottom of the chart that I shared
      above, and will again here
      http://www.ers.usda.gov/ImageGen.ashx?image=/media/1188945/commodity_fig15.png&width=450

      You’re showing the bottom of a long historical trend downward. In context of
      the last 100 years, its still very very cheap.

      “Hunger is largely the result of ineffectual governance preventing
      economic growth. High grain prices just pour a little gas on that fire. The
      problems with corn ethanol go far beyond the food price increase issue.”

      Ok, so you agree that the hunger issue isn’t cause by biofuels?
      I get what you’re saying with “high” grain prices being
      additive here, but what other issues are there? That been the crux of the
      debate I had with DanceswithDachounds that you entered.

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    • By Alex Johnson on February 3, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      Is my reply to you being moderated or are you just deleting it?

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  43. By Forrest on January 29, 2015 at 7:21 am

    Russ’s debate below has a few flaws. I can relate to his open market capitalism stance that seems to only be directed to small business of farming. All the green energy would be face down without gov’t intervention. Petrol market has enjoy huge taxpayer supports since the energy source is on continual path of development and tax depreciation. You notice on one hand the argument states ethanol is not worthy because of low volume, then pivots with hypothetical projections of damage when replacing all fuel. Similarly, without RFS farmers fall bankrupt, then pivots to imply the price of corn would drop with less farmers and less ability to improve? The fact of producing more corn and food per acre goes unchallenged, yet ethanol is starving overweight children. I live close to Agricultural college and enjoy up to date info on farm progress. They are on target per the achievable goal of 300 bushel per acre. Processors are at 3.1 gal/bushel with biodiesel, DDG, glycerin, pure CO2, by products. Cellulose will add another 50% to yield. How does that compare with sugar cane and by the way U.S. beats their cost and does so upon non tropic sunshine and short growth seasons. Did you compare the farms within ability of two or three crops for season? Cellulosic perennial planting is projected to take the ethanol market up from this benchmark and do so with a big bump up in offset of carbon fuels. Cummings E85 engine calculated 80% improvement. Better edit your point and link to ’14 ethanol less than ’13. Your link for ’14 only goes to October production, short a few months.

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    • By Forrest on January 29, 2015 at 7:44 am

      Russ is implying ethanol cost consumers with higher priced meat, but doesn’t challenge that ethanol decreases cost of fuel. Ethanol is the champion upon improving gasoline octane and oxygenate per low cost. As result gasoline can be produced to sub grade (cheaper) and boosted to automotive grade with ethanol. Economist study the impact of competition and low cost of ethanol have had upon markets and have published some amazing benefits to consuming public. Also, the profit enjoyed by farmers has wiped out most historical government subsidies and supports to corn farmers. The only current gov’t reg utilizes for ethanol promotion is the RFS system of stabilizing ethanol market. It is a clever way to protect these small businesses from calamity if stubbing toe per drought or shenanigans of international corporations. BTW, haven’t we forgot when Bush years first introduced alternative fuel mandates, it enjoyed huge bipartisan support. We did so for national interests. What happened? Remember, the outrage that we failed to maintain ethanol production per Jimmy Carter intro. The brilliance of Brazil governance for economy to replace petrol, that now mandates E25 and have all cars flex fuel? We should pickup on the popularity of Brazilian ethanol fuel per consumers. Also, the study of food cost is directly affected by price of fuel and since ethanol improves on that, well?

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    • By Forrest on January 29, 2015 at 8:05 am

      The negative impact on environment comment; well most energy sources are a compromise, even solar, wind, hydro, nuclear, oil, and coal. If your implying farming is more toxic than these, doubt that. But, nonetheless we struggle to make things less harmful to environment even coal. Corn and farming is a work in progress and has dramatically improved footprint. Cellulosic ethanol feed stock is setting up to replicate the Midwest grass land diversity for wildlife. Nitrogen or ammonia application greatly economized with little waste. Mississippi delta problem has steady decreased and pivoted to municipal runoff the biggest culprit. Low till farming is decreasing irrigation needs and improving a bunch of natural or natures attributes for low carbon, insects, disease, etc. Cover crops and simo crops are disclosing big improvements to same. Argonomics, seed science, and biological technology is enjoying renaissance upon farm land. Thank you ethanol profit. Also, if one follows the automotive industry and technology, the future of fuels belongs to higher octane blends. Did I mention nothing beats ethanol for this task. Also, automotive is not even attempted to exploit these blends for carbon efficiency. The best move for Environmentalist is to push a rock solid fuel of future such as E30 and let combustion engineers optimize the fuel as a standard fuel.

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    • By Forrest on January 30, 2015 at 7:42 am

      What most opponents of corn ethanol fail to value. The corn production per acre will steadily increase. If corn maintains or increases in value, more farmers will enter the business of farming and per diversity of their wares will place more food on table especially when training and utilizing better practices and equipment. They do so with less harm to environment as farmers are naturally vociferous of value of nature, good land practice, and wildlife. They make a living from such. Poor nations have the most to benefit. Also, since corn carries the full load of carbon accounting, the cellulose portion rating skyrockets for ethanol production. A lot of the land mass around the planet would actually receive a bump up from land change benefits to environment. Around here I can attest to the low value of weed infested land bank soil. Increasing bio fuel grassland upon the historic prairie a good thing. Waste ethanol is a huge market, but will grow slowly do to the specialty engineering required per project. Nonetheless, a huge advantage for environment and economic stimulus. Same with cellulosic ethanol’s potential for huge contribution to eliminate GHG. As we know nature produces the dominate portion of GHG, by magnitudes. So, any process that disrupts nature from venting such pollution is welcomed. Energy and Ag department studies have the U.S. alone capable of 1.3 billion tons of cellulose feed stock with minimal change in practices of forestry and farming. Since processors of this feed stock currently produce 75 gallons per ton and expect to trend to 100 gallons per ton, well that’s a lot of fuel.

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  44. By Jeffrey Jackson on January 29, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    You can download apps from pure-gas.org that show you where to get pure ethanol-free gas.

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    • By Forrest on January 30, 2015 at 7:14 am

      You might be trading food grade ethanol for poisonous and corrosive petrol derived methanol (it is another alcohol), but don’t forget their is nothing pure in gasoline. For example ethanol goes to replace the most toxic elements of gas. “Studies in humans and animals have shown that gasoline contains a number of cancer-causing and toxic chemicals such as 1,3-butadiene, benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, xylenes, isoparaffins, methyltert-butylether, and others” This medical study for sale if you would like to purchase it in entirety. Ethanol, conversely, can be used indoors such as chafing dish fuel. It is often utilized in sanitary hand wipes, often used in alcohol drinks, and utilized to preserve nutrient value of fruit i.e. tincture.

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  45. By Forrest on February 4, 2015 at 8:06 am

    The Russ and Alex debate is interesting. Russ correctly illustrates the value of RFS to stimulate cost or demand of ethanol even during times that otherwise would hurt producers of the fuel. Yes, it works as intended to cushion violent economic calamities that could bankrupt the developing market. This should be of little impact or concern to petrol given the enormous captive market they enjoy that has been without competition for many decades. Ask yourselves why then is it such a nasty concern of petrol? Most think the ethanol fuel source is an irritant as the fuel acts to dampen demand and spikes of profit historically enjoyed by U.S. market. That if the developing competitor can be cut off at the knees now, much easier then when serious consumer awareness takes hold. Easier now then later to smear and scare public. Easy to convince public that only E10 should be allowed as this fuel will enable sub grade gasoline and yet offer to consuming public alternative fuel vision. Also, at this concentration public hardly notices any benefit of the competition.

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  46. By Randy Morton on March 9, 2015 at 8:20 pm

    There’s another reason to avoid E-85. You may not be able to pass emissions tests. Some model cars turn off the I/M readiness checks when anything over E-10 is used. More on that can be found here: http://www.epa.gov/obd/regtech/420b12044.pdf Changing the battery or disconnecting it for maintenance work resets the I/M monitors and a certain drive cycle is needed to reset them. http://www.lyberty.com/car/drive-cycle.html Since those checks are disabled, they’ll never set and your vehicle will never pass emissions checks through the ODB-II system. Also of note is the fact that returning to E-10 (Pure gasoline may not be available in your area, you can find out here http://pure-gas.org/) will still produce a mixture greater than E-10. Sadly, I didn’t know this three years ago when I ran into problems passing the emissions test. One large repair bill later (new computer, various monitors, hoses, etc.) it finally passed. I now know it’s because the mechanic had to add gas a couple of times during his drives to try to get it to reset after each repair. Did E-85 save me money? If you’d seen my credit card statement after that, you wouldn’t ask. Will I run it in the future? No. In fact, my answer would be some exponential power of NO. E-85 is an ill advised experiment that seems to have failed in every way.

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    • By Forrest on March 10, 2015 at 7:30 am

      You were taken for a ride. If you have an auto with OBD issues your car manufacturer should do warranty work. It’s recommended to follow car manual recommendations for fuel. E10 is a recommended fuel, E15 for most new cars also, recommended. E85 is approved as well for flex fuel vehicles. If your OBD throws a light it must be reset to avoid open loop operations as that mode is not as efficient. Most cars that would be a battery disconnect, where in the computer must relearn operation parameters. This is normal car operation and it’s inaccurate to describe as a problem. It happens automatically and without operator intervention. You need to read up on ethanol facts. Bobby Likis site has much auto info and he does a decent job dispelling all the miss information out on internet. Mechanics have been known to exploit the situation, especially when they pickup the customer is full of misinformation. Ethanol makes plain gas a better fuel all the way around. Even the ability to absorb water is a positive as compared to old days of plain gas. Some advocates of the fuel such as myself often mix high blends of ethanol to save money and enjoy better performance, but you run the risk of throwing a light. Not a big deal. Blender pumps are getting more popular and offer consumers a variety of “E” blends that are accurate. This is the way gas stations are going as motoring public likes the fuel choice and money savings. Most experience little MPG change all the way up to E20 and the fuel is definitely less expensive and emissions down sharply.

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      • By Randy Morton on March 10, 2015 at 8:24 am

        Yes, you are quite correct. I was taken for a ride. I was taken for a ride by the E-85 hype. I’m not sure why you think the repairs were warranty work, the vehicle was operating exactly as designed. The EPA document I referenced shows that the system was designed to prevent the I/M readiness monitors from resetting when E-85 is used. I’m sure I could file a class action suit claiming that the design is defective, but the chance of that succeeding are exceedingly small. I’ve been reading up on ethanol fuels over the last few days, and the benefits are not what the hype would have you believe. The environmental benefits of lowered tailpipe emissions are offset by the production pollution. This is detailed in articles such as http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesconca/2014/04/20/its-final-corn-ethanol-is-of-no-use/ and https://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2013/11/12/ethanol/. The benefits to motorists are slim. Water can be removed from gasoline with a small amount of rubbing alcohol. This won’t affect the monitors, and will absorb any water in the tank. Less carbon? This can be eliminated by using a higher quality gasoline. http://www.toptiergas.com/ Reduced cost? I covered that in my original post. I won’t live long enough to recoup the cost of the un-necessary repairs triggered by running E-85. As for being exploited by the mechanic? Neither of us knew the problems E-85 could cause. He didn’t know what was in the tank, and none of the diagnostic equipment is designed to flag that as a problem. I also contacted a local business that sells propane and converts vehicles to use it as motor fuel. They are required to meet all ODB standards. The system must operate the same on propane as it does on gasoline. The monitors don’t shut down, a normal drive cycle must reset them, everything works the same. E-85, however, doesn’t. As the man said: “Therein lies the rub.” Ethanol based fuels may, at some distant time in the future, be viable. Sadly, for now, automotive technology isn’t up to the task.

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        • By Forrest on March 10, 2015 at 12:19 pm

          I can assure you if your have a flex vehicle you can burn E85 fuel. The linked reports you post are problems detected by the gov’t agency for a wide range and host of problems with model, year, and make vehicles. Issues, testing, with problem explanation. These are design and operating problems uncovered by EPA, this has nothing to do with the ethanol fuel. Just normal screw ups such as faulty air bags to bad ignition switches. Ethanol fuel is used within racing per the HP ability. These engines cost a fortune and owners would not chose a poor fuel. City of Chicago is currently passing legislation to require E15 pumps for better air quality concerns. Ethanol has been utilized by fuel suppliers for decades to dry gasoline and bump up octane. The fuel replaces the most unhealthy (carcinogens) constituents of gasoline chemistry. I do my own mechanic work and operate small engines, two cycles, trucks and cars on varying blends of the fuel. If you understand the fuel and mechanics is great stuff. If you are not up on the fuel, better to stick with manufacturer recommendations. And if your manual says E85 is a approved fuel and you have problems with the fuel it is the manufacturers problem.

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          • By Randy Morton on March 10, 2015 at 12:50 pm

            I do have a flex vehicle that can burn E85 fuel. It says so on the window sticker, and it says so on the sticker in the fuel door. The EPA report I sent didn’t list a defect, it listed a design feature quite specific to ethanol based fuels. Turning off the emissions system checks is not part of a bug, it’s the way the system was built, and the way it was approved by the EPA. Emissions systems functions are regulated by the EPA and a vehicle cannot be sold that does not comply. Racing engines are a poor example. They do not adhere to emissions standards, and they are designed from the ground up to operate on a specific type and octane of fuel. I’m also sure my problems would be easy to deal with if I had a dedicated team of mechanics ready to rebuild my engine every 500 miles. Ethanol is great for political banners and environmental pontification, but until automobile technology is up to the task of designing an engine and emissions system capable of using it properly, the best bet is still good old gasoline.

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            • By Forrest on March 10, 2015 at 1:54 pm

              You mean like Henry Ford model T technology and preference of ethanol fuel? So your telling me EPA purposely required the flex fuel car to fail emission test? You do know ethanol fuel has a much easier time with emissions. An often used trick for passing emissions in Wisconsin when I lived closer to Milwaukee was to fuel up on ethanol bought for the purpose. They told me you could pass the emission test even without converter. Also, E85 has higher vapor pressure and needs no seasonal VP blend as the fuel emits less even in hot summer temperatures. Racing has always proven advanced technology that will work it self to commercial fleet. Stock cars running E15 fuel is a great way to exploit the fuel weakness vs benefit. They like the fuel. It delivers more HP, runs cooler, and smoother. They like to promote the fact the fuel has less pollution as well. I just read a test on the 1 liter EccoBoost Ford MPG. The manual states the car will get better mileage with higher octane fuels. The test compared E0 with E15 and found at most 1% loss of mileage. If the consumer could switch to E15 it would result in big bucks savings as the fuel is easier on the engine and the fuel is much cheaper. The engine will stay cleaner, less carbon build up, spark plugs last longer, injectors need no cleaning. Not bad choice. Next time you want good old gasoline think of the terrorist that seek out oil well wealth for set up of operations. How about the inhalation warnings and skin contact warnings as compared to utilizing ethanol sanitary wipes, spirits, or chaffing dish fuel. Ethanol makes gasoline a better fuel, cuts down on the carbon rating of the fuel, and makes the fuel a healthier choice. E10 even starts better in cold winter months.

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            • By Randy Morton on March 10, 2015 at 3:02 pm

              The EPA requirements don’t exactly apply to a Model T. I’m not sure why you think that’s an issue. The issue is the problem encountered (not proposed, not theorized, not speculated) in a vehicle that is operating as designed and as approved by the EPA. The EPA didn’t mandate failure, they allowed a situation to exist where a failure is unavoidable. The EPA also took no action to remediate this issue. The legislature, having no idea that a problem exists, has made no move to change the regulations governing the use of ethanol based fuels. Manufacturers are driven by regulations and the lack of guidance led to this point. Regardless of the perceived benefits, ethanol has too many drawbacks right now. At this point, I could have run high octane gasoline and I still wouldn’t have lost money. Add the expense of at least two more tanks full of gasoline to purge the system and allow the monitors to reset and the hits just keep on coming. Here’s another link to consider: http://injectordynamics.com/articles/everything-you-never-wanted-to-know-about-alcohol/

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            • By Forrest on March 11, 2015 at 4:04 am

              I doubt your mechanic has discovered a EPA flex fuel vehicle conspiracy. But for the sake of argument, why didn’t you take your vehicle to dealer? The manufacturer must stand behind emission system for 10 years. They will pull up the bulletins sheets for recall and repair. Report your problem on the national data base to see how many other vehicle owners having the same problem. If all else fails, find a product liability lawyer as they would have a class action lawsuit possibility and this will cost you nothing. EPA would being going against their legal mandate to enforce auto manufacturers to code vehicles for faulty emissions. Those links you post are the classic half truths and miss truths of hackers. They are getting quite old. The ethanol water tidbit has never been an issue. Actually, ethanol is a friend to fuel system. I remember the good old days of plain gas up north. We had common water problems in stalled engines. We learned to avoid low sales gas station as they were apt to have water in their tanks. We carried crescent wrenches in car in event of stalling as the first line of defense was to disconnect fuel line and pump fuel into jar and visually confirm presence of water. Fuel filters in boats were made clear with valve to drain off water before stalling engine. Often stranded motorist and boaters attempted to crank engine per starter to omit the water only left with dead battery. We utilized cans of Heet alcohol to dry out our fuel system at first flakes of winter to avoid being stranded. Small gas tanks always had a bubble of water sloshing about on the bottom. Motorcycle tanks often developed leaks from rust. Haven’t seen much of this lately. Why is that?

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            • By Randy Morton on March 11, 2015 at 9:53 am

              You try so hard to twist my words, but fail every time. I never mentioned a conspiracy. I mentioned the disconnect between the EPA, the auto makers, and the legislature. Why didn’t I take it to a dealer? Simple. It’s operating as designed. I’m sure the dealer will be glad to spend a few hours (at the usual hourly rate) diagnosing it, and then tell me that nothing can be done because it isn’t broken. As for the lawyer suggestion, the same thing applies. No lawyer is going to spend months, or even years, on a lawsuit with no hope of recovery. Taking on the oil companies, auto makers, and the government isn’t a winning proposition. As for the rust issue, in 45 years of driving and doing my own mechanic work, I’ve never seen a car or motorcycle tank rust out due to fuel. Neglect during long storage, yes, but never a fuel issue. Water in fuel? Yes, it happens. Mainly due to keeping the tank at 1/4th full and allowing condensation to add a few drops now and then. That and stations that never change the filters on the pumps, or were too cheap to install them in the first place. I’ll let you, as primary cheerleader for E85, have the last word in this discussion. You seem to be more interested in twisting my words than addressing the issues. It’ll be interesting to see your reply.

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            • By Forrest on March 11, 2015 at 5:11 pm

              What you describe is a conspiracy or total lack of compliance by EPA mission. No one should fear fueling up on E85 with a flex fuel vehicle. Moisture was a horrible condition with pure gas. E10 can take out 4 teaspoons of water per gallon as opposed to gasoline that achieves point one five or about 1/26 capability. Gasoline like ethanol will phase change and drop some caustic constituents that attack metal if the storage tank has more water than fuel can absorb. Motor cycle tanks have deep pockets that accumulate old gas and often the old cycles leak per the rust. Those five gallon outboard tanks same condition at the weld joint. Over time a leak and this was with the pure gas. Mercury marine is on record stating the E10 fuel is better for their applications. There used to be a $10k reward for anyone with evidence that ethanol fuel had damaged an engine. It had to be the fuel and not miss application or abuse. No one was able to claim the prize an no lawsuits entailed. You really not fear ethanol as it does make gasoline better.

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  47. By Forrest on March 11, 2015 at 4:21 am

    Some must think gasoline is “pure” as compared to tainted with ethanol. The fact is gasoline has no chemical formula. It’s a conflation of hundreds of chemicals that are mixed and matched per chemistry of petrol processors at the distillery. Their are dozens of boutique blends required at specific seasons and jurisdictions usually per the vapor pressure emissions. At beginning of gasoline supply, quality control was miserable and motorist had no standard fuel. Fire and explosions made the public nervous on the use. Standard oil came to the rescue with practices and standards that would improve the situation. Compare the struggle petrol has had to make gasoline consistent, less polluting, and less dangerous with that of ethanol. Ethanol is a simple organic molecule of purity. You know exactly the physical properties, gallon to gallon. You could dial in the vapor pressure at the gas pump just by picking the ethanol concentration. No distillery shut down and retool required. Also, the crude oil chemical makeup is wholly inconsistent oil well to oil well. They have to design distillery capability around classes of crude oil. U.S. oil companies have accomplished major technological advances for the production and quality of fuel. Hats off to them as the job is pretty easy with ethanol.

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  48. By Forrest on March 12, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Interesting info on ethanol and water. Read a fuel engineer report of using ethanol as an oxygenate. Note this concentration of ethanol is less than the common E10 fuel used today. The benefit of ethanol as compared to MTBE is the enhance ability of the fuel to hold water. Calculations of extreme temperature change of large fuel station tanks with minimum fuel calculated not to be a concern per condensation as the ethanol could easily handle the water. Only liquid water per rain or spill deemed to be of potential problem. Fuel tanks should be purged of water upon the first filling of the fuel. After that ethanol will keep them dry. Also, know that neat gasoline has minimal ability to dry tanks with the result of gradual accumulation of water at bottom. This water will react with sulfur in gas and form sulfuric acid. The new regulation of gasoline with reduced sulfur should help prevent this acid formulation and help keep our exhaust systems from corroding as much. Ethanol as well protects the gas from generating sulfuric acid per ability to absorb the water. What are the potential problems if phase change occurs? If enough liquid water is introduced to fuel supply tank the ethanol will migrate from gasoline to a solution with water. So, a gradient to two part fuel. One higher in concentration of ethanol and water. The other with lower octane gasoline. At extreme water contamination the ethanol water solution may not be able to support engine combustion (stall). Also, the leftover gasoline could be primarily the original RBOB sub grade (without high octane ethanol) gas that makes for poor fuel (easy knock). Either way ethanol mitigates the problem. Meaning ethanol makes gasoline more water tolerant and works to diminish harm. Higher concentration of ethanol, the more resilient to water problems. Opponents of ethanol attempt to make water contamination of gasoline the fault of ethanol. Nothing could be further from the truth. Notice the petrol industry isn’t complaining of E10 fuel. They just want the competition to end there.

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  49. By CharliePeters on April 27, 2015 at 10:54 pm

    CA AB 32 Wallet Flushing car tax

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  50. By CharliePeters on April 27, 2015 at 11:10 pm

    NO on S-577 Feinstein unlrss amended by a GMO Fuel waiver, swithch from EPA Mandate to voluntary

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  51. By CharliePeters on April 27, 2015 at 11:14 pm

    I’m confused, what happened to the H2 highway?

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  52. By CharliePeters on April 27, 2015 at 11:23 pm

    Is H2 price less than liquid fuel?

    Can H2 be used with gasoline or diesel?

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  53. By Forrest on April 28, 2015 at 7:22 am

    S-577 Feinstein CA AB 32. Something’s wrong with Charlie’s info. Polling says Americans support the RFS. They favor an alternative fuel that is cleaner, cheaper, saves them money. The opponents to ethanol competition are attempting to confuse public in that corn supply will be used for any increase in production. The RFS has maxed out that feed stock. More ethanol production will require the advanced or cellulose feed stocks that do require a market to get up to production. Nothing has changed since GW introduced the alternative fuel mandate per national security. Technology has met the challenge and currently is in production. Investors are sitting with money in hand willing and able to advance the production, but petrol has acted up to put maximum effort to smear the fuel and scare investors away. That is the all to familiar historical bad boy practices of petrol that hates competition. They choose this moment to act as the ethanol fuel industry has investors excited. Consider that Shell oil has made investments and communicated to it’s investors the advantage of ethanol and it’s intention to be a major player. They claim Europe could be powered by cellulosic ethanol. Speedway is in the process of serving up E85 in every gas station. E85 has been on 7% growth rate for years and making big inroads to California. Stock cars have enjoyed over a million miles of E15 racing. The ultra high Hp Indy type race cars have converted to the more standard ethanol blend E85. Chicago is in process of mandating E15 pumps for motoring public as they work to improve air quality and save consumers money. Ethanol fuel is making news every day upon R&D improvements, environmental improvements, and production/cost improvements. We need to blend more of this renewable fuel into gas supply to support automotive production of highly efficient vehicles. This would conserve our nonrenewable resources for future generations or allow the increasing exports to pay down national debt. More ethanol = good deal for taxpayer and consumer.

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  54. By jreb57 on April 30, 2015 at 11:56 am

    There is a good rational reason to avoid ethanol. It has 2/3 the energy content of regular grade gasoline. With a modern fuel injected engine with an engine control module and a catalytic converter, there is no environmental advantage to burning ethanol. One report that I have read claims that burning ethanol in an internal combustion engine produces formaldehyde in the exhaust. The report did not say whether tor not he catalyst would clean this up.

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    • By Forrest on April 30, 2015 at 5:35 pm

      It does clean it up and it a minor problem upon cold start. The real problem is the engine is designed for gas. Brazil has changing ethanol content in fuel. Wouldn’t you know the pollution, ozone, smog follow the same pattern. Higher ethanol, less pollution. Ethanol has less energy aka carbon. The good part is ethanol carries oxygen and octane that propels modern engines to high efficiency. It is not a gpm measure that’s important, but miles per carbon. Ethanol beats diesel fuel and natural gas and leaves gasoline in the dust. BTW it’s renewable and relies on photosynthesis and natural world of plant and biological life.

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    • By Forrest on May 1, 2015 at 7:10 am

      Well, that’s academic comparison as no one is utilizing neat ethanol as a fuel. Also, it’s 30% less btu, but again academic comparison as all unleaded by law is required to carry oxygenate of which ethanol is utilized per low cost and superior fuel character. No one is utilizing good old lead for octane anymore. Fuel character is just as important factor per internal combustion engine efficiency as btu rating. My wife’s Focus loses no mileage up to E35. My truck loses 15% typical with E85 and has done so for a couple hundred thousand miles. Your engine will develop more hp with ethanol and require less throttle.

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      • By jreb57 on May 1, 2015 at 11:04 pm

        Well, the top fuelie dragsters (the only engines that I know of that are specifically tuned to run on alcohol) run an effective compression ratio of about 14/1. They also burn as much as 23 gallons of fuel per run (of nitro methane rather than ethanol). The flex fuel engines adjust spark timing so that the engine does not knock on gasoline and ignites the ethanol sooner since it has a slower flame front. The flex fuel engines are neither fish nor fowl and do not run with maximum efficiency on either gasoline or ethanol. The engine will not develop more horsepower on a fuel unless it is tuned for it. You actually require more ethanol to develope the same hp if the engine is properly tuned for the fuel in use since the ethanol has a lower energy content.

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        • By Forrest on May 2, 2015 at 6:11 am

          Good luck with your attempt to dissuade use of ethanol per gasoline superior fuel character. Race community is utilizing more ethanol formula e, Indy, stock, and drag. Indy car was pure ethanol. They claim their race car pollutes less than typical gas car on the road.

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  55. By Ultraworld on April 30, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    I have a ’93 Yamaha V-Max and ethanol blended gas has rusted my fuel tank twice. It ate up all my fuel lines, sending melted rubber into my carbs, gunking them up. I replaced the lines with new hose that has a liner that’s ethanol proof, but it’s eating the gaskets and diaphragms in my carbs and fuel pump. A carb clean/rebuild cost $700. The mechanic calls it sugar, because of the effects on fuel systems. I have one gas station that sells E0, but it’s some distance, so I fill a gas can. I don’t like having additional gas storage in my garage.

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    • By Forrest on May 1, 2015 at 6:49 am

      Ethanol ate my brake lines on my ’95 Silverado, but not the gas lines. Tricky ethanol. Nothing new about your motorcycle. Look up the gas tank problems leaking in pre ethanol years and just as many. The tanks are welded and/or seamed, fraught with leak problems per weld pin holes and crevice corrosion. Unleaded has a bad habit of forming free water at bottom of tank that precipitates acids per the gas water mix. Unleaded gas does absorb water, much lower than ethanol, but nontheless makes for big corrosion problem with welded seamed and fiberglass tanks. Your tank probably stop leaked with JB Weld that is popular hardware brand. It’s not ethanol safe and will soften and lose grip. The proper epoxy for tank repairs is phenolic based, just be sure tank is surgically clean and void of rust as the epoxy coating will fail eventually otherwise.

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      • By Ultraworld on May 1, 2015 at 2:02 pm

        I have owned my bike since new, it was never repaired. I always kept an additive in the tank that displaced water. But you are correct, it is seam welded, and it was 20 yrs old when I replaced it. And should it ever need repair, I’ll keep this in mind. Thanks.

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  56. By John Scior on May 1, 2015 at 6:00 am

    10 milllon cars time 1 dollar a car is 10 million dollars, 10 dollars per car times 10 million is 10 million and 100 per car times 10 million is 1 billion. if 10 % are using the e-85 then it would be ‘wasting” only 900 million dollars to have this flexibility option not the 9 billion figure you have misrepresented. Also, I feel this flexibility gives the US the ability to switch to ethanol should middle east petroleum supplies become at risk. Also, the boost for ethanol ( corn based ) has led to development of ethanol based on cornstalks and stover ( non-food ) and gives farmers a new revenue stream . Finally a dollar used to make ethanol in the US stays in our economy and has a multiplier effect instead of going to petro states who may funnel it to terrorists or other states opposed to US interests and thus causing the US to have to spend more on military weapons for our own security.

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  57. By Russ Finley on May 2, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    It can be hard to find a new comment thread that is the result of replies to replies. You can find the recent discussion between Rapier and White at the following link: http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2014/09/03/why-ethanol-free-gas-is-more-popular-than-e85/#comment-1999779516

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  58. By Forrest on May 3, 2015 at 5:54 am

    The discussion of how best for ethanol to financially survive a back stabbing from sudden governmental about face. Remember the industry pushed into production during GW era per citizen demands to prevent abusive cost spikes of transportation fuel. Lots of acrimony pointed to CIC ties to oil as the culprit. GW put in place an incredible efficient system to make it happen. The industry has achieved success in meeting politicians plan of action. Two Presidents from both parties have whole heatedly supported the endeavor. The game plan was to position renewable fuel technology to forefront within R&D, process development, feed stocks improvement, and infrastructure. The RFS was a federal mechanism put in place not by ethanol but governance to spur production upon stable and predictable demand that would empower and stabilize those invested within the goal. It has been very successful and mainly on target per the enacted trajectory path put to law. The wisdom of such law was to forestall ups and downs of markets that normally wreak havoc upon teetering vulnerable budding technological supply market. Without such protection the competition could quickly be man handled by the 200 pound gorilla in the room aka petrol. We have to acknowledge petrol owns the fuel supply industry and has little competition per the long time entrenchment of providing the needs of consumers. Hundreds of years of scientist, engineers, investors, pipelines, super tankers, petrol science, car technology, and the rest has revolved around making petrol as cost efficient and improved as possible. So, not easy going up against that per open market “fair” competition. History supports the shrewd competitive boardwalk plays that usually throw competition to the ditch. Look to the international play presently going on to put the hurt on new oil per disciplined motivation to get with the program and collude to support price per supply influence. How about the corruption within political sphere of dealing with unsavory tyrants and those whom work for wealth at the expense of humanity. The U.S. has a good thing going with development of renewable energy. Ethanol has succeeded to leadership position per fuel, environmental, and economic attributes. Overall the economic analysis of corn ethanol very positive and saves consumers money. So, that’s a good deal and getting better. Same with the environmental improvements. Cellulosic flight path appears to follow with projections to bypass starch ethanol in cost and supply. Exports of the fuel as well as U.S. plant technology and construction upon similar flight path. I don’t see much downside to current outcome for U.S.. Why would we do an about face? To ensure dependence on recent new found reserves of fossil fuel? To ensure vulnerability of single source suppliers and wherein price control. Didn’t we desire just the opposite not long ago? Sustainability, renewable, domestic production, and environmental improvement demands all met per the in place regulation schedule. Now, we should punish any future efforts?

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  59. By Suzie on May 20, 2015 at 10:34 am

    The biproduct to of Ethanol can be used for feed. All of these reasons made my head hurt…The whole campaign bashing ethanol is created by the oil industries which is completely backed up by our government. Its so frustrating, Fords model T ran off of alcohol (http://www.fuel-testers.com/ethanol_fuel_history.html) which he considered the fuel of the future…he was a smart man obviously and we are just making steps backwards. There are renewable fuels but we turn a blind eye to them. Not trying to sound like hippie but if we dont start taking care of our world it will deteriorate, look at all the garbage in the oceans and pollution in the air. Its all really depressing.

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  60. By Kapricorn4 on June 28, 2015 at 9:50 pm

    I just bought 5 gallons of diesel fuel from my local Speedway gas station in Bedford Hills NY for my my oil fired boiler as an emergency measure, as my heating oil tank ran to empty. I noticed that it was colored bright blue. A year ago the diesel from the same gas station was clear. (Home heating oil is colored red) Is the gas station supplying high sulphur grade, when it is supposed to be low sulphur for highway use and avoiding paying the federal tax?

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  61. By Donald Hyatt on July 14, 2015 at 8:42 am

    All I know is ethanol fuel is crap for my old cars, and boat motor. It is absolutely death to my boat motor. It eats my fuel pump gaskets, the fuel lines, and the carb. I know I am a mechanic and as soon as I get a load of ethanol gas I have had to replace gaskets, fuel pumps, or injectors on my cars and boat motors. This ethanol blend stuff is absolute crap for motors running right. Here is an example I have an old Evinrude boat motor. If I run the straight gas it runs smooth at idle, and at running speed. If I get ethanol blend it dies at idle fowls out my plugs like after one hour. Then I have to go replace the plugs, the fuel lines, rebuild the fuel pump, and the carburetor. I have done all this over andover and then the motor ran fine as long as I ran straight gas through it. Then some fuel vendor sold me E15 and the motor did this again acting up something terrible dying at idle. It ethanol swells the supposedly ethanol approved fuel lines. It ethanol swelled the primer bulb valves for the boat motor beside ruining everything else in the fuel system. This was all on replacement parts supposedly formulated out of materials ethanol approved. I had to rebuild the fuel pump and the carburetor, and now after a year or two some how I got a dumb batch of ethanol blended gas and I have to go rebuild all of it again on the boat motor. This stuff is crap both for your car and for boat motors. Can I sue the EPA and the IOWA farmers to fix my cars and boat motors? I don’t think so. So I end up eating the cost of repeatedly putting in parts that the ethanol swells the seals and ruins the operation of the vehicle’ s and motors. This is not even taking into account the lost output from this low energy crap fuel additive. I would show you in a minute how bad this stuff is with a real world motor and a real world set of old cars. All I have and my family members have and can afford are mostly all old cars to get to work. I have three twenty year old cars, or within a year of being twenty years old and they certainly do have problems burning this blended E10 or E15 stuff. One is my sons main car to get to school it is now broke again and it is fuel related, the boat motor is acting up again, my wife’s old main car has been nothing but fuel related problems all summer. My car the fuel pump I just replaced due to the this E blend fuel messing up thte fuel pump seals. Ethanol eats seals in the evaporative system recirculation valves on my cars also. Every one has had to have new evaporative check valves, fuel pumps, tons and tons of fuel injector cleaner, and mass air flow sensor cleanings, o replacements. Why do you think the EPA stations in Ohio hand out free gas caps they know it is eating up the gas cap seals. This is one big class action law suit just waiting to happen. Remember the cigarette law suits? This is next giant class action suit. If I were a lawyer I would be rich suing the Iowa farmers and the EPA. Stop this crap I don’t want it and your ruining my vehicles. Why can’t you farmers wake up. I heard there is a new butanol fuel and it does not eat up your car fuel system, and it has the power performance of real gasoline. Go to Ohio State University and look it up. Maybe your corn can be used to grow this bacteria that makes the butanol fuel instead of this ethanol crap fuel.

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    • By Forrest on July 15, 2015 at 6:48 am

      I know ethanol can be destructive to car. Some have testified of irreparable damage and all but an insurance claim left behind. I once filled the lawnmower with gas that had ethanol and after a while it completely stopped. I couldn’t get it started, util putting some ethanol free gas in. Once I was just thinking of putting ethanol gas in car and farted. That was a bad omen. Read up on more on “The Auto Channel” website wherein they discuss this matter.

      http://www.theautochannel.com/news/2015/07/10/136099-ethanol-chronicles-almost-daily-blog.html

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    • By Russ Finley on July 17, 2015 at 6:22 pm

      I’m sure that untold billions of dollars worth of damage has resulted to older cars and recreational engines but because it is dispersed all over the country over many years, it never gets diagnosed. The ethanol is the final straw for old rubber seals.

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      • By Forrest on July 18, 2015 at 6:22 am

        Natural rubber scores high on comparability with ethanol and low with gasoline. Ethanol has wide birth of “O” ring material selection recommendations, above that of petrol products. If an antique engines develops seal problems it probably is a factor of old gasoline, water accumulation, and the acids that precipitate thereof. Also, natural rubber doesn’t age well and can be affected by ozone, drying out, and temperature. It best to use modern polymers with superior life span. The common gas product in U.S. is E10 that exhibits low ethanol compatibility problems per low dilution, but does dry out the gasoline, henceforth makes the fuel less damaging to seals. In the early days of automotive Henry Ford promoted ethanol as superior fuel. These engines are now antiques and represent the earliest exhibits. What ever sealing technology they utilized back then it was apparently well suited to pure ethanol fuel.

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  62. By james on July 23, 2015 at 2:02 am

    ethanol trashes your engine builds up varnish and corrosion big time on new cars old cars lawn mowers weed eaters outboards the stuff kills fuel pumps injectors carbs. E85 around here cost more then reg 87 oct fuel if you get lucky and find it cheaper only by 15-20 cents that cost and considerable less mpg makes it not a good choice plus fact stopping 2x as often to fill up on trips Stopping every 150 miles vs every 300 miles

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  63. By Richard DeBose on November 12, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Bob White is partial truth wrong wrong wrong. First, few stations in Kansas City Kansas or Missouri sell E0 and then it might be more like E2 or as I tested E12 (State department of weights and measurements confirmed). In tank mixing should be illegal. No labeling laws require notice in many states including KS and MO. Ironically, the surrounding states do, most of note the corn producing states of Nebraska and Iowa. Even Iowa encourages choice of E0 or E85 just the choices seldom found in Kansas or Missouri because of the mandate that available ethanol be blended into regular fuel. Manufacturer Endorsed is different Manufacture mandated. The US Government requires manufactures to allow use of fuel that doesn’t exceed 10% in all cars. But try to get GM to do a warrantee on a fuel related damage to a Chev Volt. You will find out that that fuel is not recommended by the dealer or the regional manufactures rep. They state “the use of oxygenates and other additives including ethanol were not recommended and their use can cause non-warrantee damage to the car.” Tip: Never buy another gas car insist on your next car to be Flex-Fuel or all electric and then if you get the wrong blend you will not have damage.”

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  64. By Frank White on November 12, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    Has anyone done the math? How much net energy can be created by the use of Corn Ethanol in cars. How many gallon equivalent of gas is use to plant the corn (tractor), fertilize (natural gas), water the corn (irrigation pumps), harvest and transport the corn (combine / truck), process the corn (natural gas / electricity), transport the ethanol (sorry not by pipeline but by truck). Not to mention the environmental damage to the earth to producing all that carbon and heat; consuming all that water and fossil fuels. The benefit is less particulates in the air when burned but that is moderated by and increase of ground level ozone when fueling. Not much benefit for those who want to use less fossil fuel then tricked into more.

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    • By Cl1ffClav3n on November 16, 2015 at 8:29 am

      Yes, there have been many studies. 80% of the energy that goes into corn ethanol can be traced back to other fuels and energy sources that are consumed for cultivation, fertilizer, herbicide, pesticide, processing plant energy, fermentation initiation, distillation heat, separation, dehydration, denaturing, blending, and transportation. Only 20% of the energy input into the final product is actually free photosynthesis energy from the sun. This is simply another way to restate corn ethanol’s dismal 1.25:1 EROI (energy return on investment), where all non-photosynthesis energy inputs are weighed against the net output. Corn ethanol is like trading a dollar a year in high-quality gasoline and diesel and electric energy, and getting back a dollar’s worth of lower quality undrinkable ethanol fuel and a 25-cent “profit” in an animal feed byproduct called distillers dry grains (DDG). Instead, that $1 worth of high-quality energy could be invested in producing more gasoline or diesel or electricity, and yield returns of 10- to 100-fold depending on method (oil, natural gas, coal, nuclear, hydro).

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      • By Forrest on November 16, 2015 at 3:54 pm

        Get some good data. Dept of Energy has the industry standard for energy efficiency which nowadays called total lifecycle analysis. The peer reviewed model put to rest some of these long held misunderstandings of ethanol fuel. Scientist and engineers can utilize the model to evaluate total efficiency if for example an optimized ethanol engine were to be developed, better distribution, more efficient processes, etc. The latest data has .78 million Btu input yielding 1.00 million Btu ethanol fuel as opposed to gasoline 1.23 million Btu input to yield 1.00 million Btu fuel output. Yes, you can even look at the energy from solar within the model.

        Cellulosic is ramping the efficiency of ethanol up per minimizing natural gas energy and since corn ethanol has already paid the freight for energy input. Also, increasing ethanol cost and efficiency the trend to anaerobic digestors, low till farming, and algae coprocessing is on steady pace to improve ethanol performance. Some ethanol plants operate on power plant waste energy or utilize CHP co production of heat and electricity. Of course waste ethanol energy efficiency is extremely high as the development of increasing array of coproducts such as biodiesel, food, feed, fertilizer, and power. Carbon reduction of ethanol if not for the controversial indirect land use penalty would be rated at 60% reduction as opposed to gasoline. Gasoline suffers no penalty for its’ indirect effects of increasing carbon for it’s production. Only corn ethanol suffers from indirect theoretical penalty. Something is wrong with that comparison.

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  65. By Biggd4355 on February 12, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Ethanol costs at least $5.00 a gallon to make, requires 3 gallons of water to make 1 gallon of ethanol. Only has 1/2 the btu of gasoline, so it knocks down gas mileage. And if it is so good, why is it not allowed in aircraft? Marinas won’t put ethanol in boats. But worst of all, we are subsidizing it. Why can’t we make our government stop doing this.? Also let’s mention the destruction it does to small engines.

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    • By Forrest on February 12, 2016 at 5:32 pm

      Where are you getting this? They just published Iowa corn ethanol plants start to lose money at $1.10/gal and will curtail production at that sales price. Compare that with the devastation of fracking cost of U.S. oil. Water consumption, you do know water is not really consumed or destroyed? Yes, 2.73 gal per gallon of ethanol, or about the same for fracking. But, fracking is underground and corn plant is just the normal hydrologic cycle, meaning rain water and plant growth. The btu rating is close to 3/4 and we must remember the fuel character is a primary concern to efficiency of ICE. As we post the rating of ethanol is being reviewed and updated. The 80′s rating is antiquated per modern engine combustion. The 40% penalty will go to zero. Small engines have no problem if following recommendations of engine manufacturers. Mercury outboards have rated E10 superior to regular for marine engines. The subsidizing of ethanol is zero. The subsidy was a blenders credit that went to petrol. The RFS is a requirement that our fuel supply must contain renewable fuel. Ethanol is the obvious choice as it’s cheaper than gasoline and competes with no other additive to improve gasoline. Meaning gasoline is advantaged with ethanol and saves the oil companies money. They don’t want to stop using ethanol.

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      • By Forrest on February 12, 2016 at 5:42 pm

        Oh, they do use E85 in stunt planes. The fuel optimizes power of engine and drastically reduces air pollution. I was at an airshow that features a aerobatic team. Just like the race track where performance is important ethanol rules. Same with race boats. Dragster has a separate class for ethanol per the unfair advantage.

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  66. By Forrest on May 7, 2016 at 8:51 am

    Oldlady has been posting of small engine damage concerns from E10. I can contribute to this topic per my experience as I have many of these two and four cycle engines. I do all my own mechanic repair and have rebuilt these small engines, although it’s not worth the time as the small engines of present last for such a long time. First, the two cycle is being relegated to a smaller and smaller market share per the restricting EPA regs. It looks like the outboard industry is only 4 cycle now. Not that the two cycle was a problem for E10, just the engine can easily suffer from abuse.

    Miss information on ethanol and small engines is propelled from business that profit from fear mongering. This is common practice in maintenance and repair shops. I’ve caught dozens of mechanics doing the practice as they quickly panic, anger, or politely agree when finding that I have complete ability to detect BS. I am amazed on the hype out there to scare consumers into spending more money and purchasing unneeded products. The BS is actually appreciated from the anti ethanol crowd. My advice to consumers. If your repair or maintenance shop guy is attempting to feel you out on your attitude on ethanol; walk as they will be tempted to sell you bogus products, services, or repairs. Also, if they screw up a repair they will just blame ethanol.

    Ethanol portion of E10 makes plain gasoline a better product. You will have less problems with E10 and don’t forget this is the base fuel and even small engines now optimized on the fuel character. So, you will do more harm and run less efficient on other, non ethanol fuels. Off season storage is better with E10. You will have less varnish and gunk precipitating out of the fuel to cause problems. Engines will start better and you will have zero problems with water. Spark plugs will run cleaner and last longer, too. Your engine will, also, pollute less air.

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    • By Forrest on May 9, 2016 at 5:30 am

      Oh, I see her concern is small engine fuel system. Now, I’m for sure it’s bunk she is peddling. You see ethanol will dry out a fuel system. The real problem of fuel system is when free water enters into a phase change with gas. Yes, gas can absorb water, but a mere fraction as compared to ethanol. Gas will quickly enter a chemical phase change condition. This is the white gunk foamy stuff that settles on bottom of tank. This gunk contains a brew of caustic chemicals since the gas itself contains hundred of chemical compounds. This chemical brew will attack plastic and what ever per corrosion and dissolve. O-rings will start leaking, two cycle engine will suffer loss of life span.
      Nothing better on the market than ethanol to keep the fuel system clean and dry. This is of paramount importance. I have some very old chain saws that do very well on E10. Best if you adjust the fuels jets that is normal practice. The four cycle engines, no problem up to E40, but not for two cycle engine such as weed wacker or leaf blower. If you have access to E15 that would be best other wise stick with manufacture recommendations of E10. BTW, the 50:1 oil mix for two cycle is hard on the engine. It’s a compromise for EPA regs. Manufactures are forced to strictly advise the use of 50:1 per fed regs. I have burnt up some engines before ethanol using the mix. Drop to 30:1 and never had a problem for years and years.

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