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More ethanol coming to pumps near you
New blend will work in any vehicle built back to 2001

The EPA is set to finalize use of a new ethanol/gasoline that might be in pumps at your local station this summer.

The current 10% blend will be replaced by a 15% blend that is expected to be available in time for the heavy summer driving season. The EPA approved the raising of the ethanol content to 15% in January -- corn farmers and the ethanol industry understandably welcomed the ruling.

EPA administrator Lisa Jackson told the Senate Agriculture Committee during a hearing, "We are now in the process of completing a rule that will establish national labeling. We expect to issue a final rule in the next few months." The labeling will help protect the consumer from using the new fuel in an unapproved engine.

The EPA will officially register E15 this spring, which is a requirement before the fuel can be sold at the pump. The agency has also recently received the emissions and health information to support the registration and is currently reviewing that information.

Not everyone is behind the plan to raise ethanol content in gasoline through. Critics say that using more corn for fuel will drive already high corn process up to even higher levels. Ethanol trade group Growth Energy notes that more ethanol will help people fighting fuel prices at the pump. Growth Energy CEO Tom Buis said, "Lifting the regulatory barriers preventing higher blends of U.S.-made ethanol from getting into the pump would start to push gas prices down right away."

The new E15 fuel can be used in all vehicles built since 2001. That means that 74% of all gasoline burning vehicles on the road will be able to use the new fuel accounting for 85% of gasoline demand. 

UPDATED: Justin Starkey, owner of VMP Tuning, had this to say about the new 15% ethanol blend and what it means for fuel economy and auto enthusiasts:

It basically hurts everyone… 

Fuel economy goes down, because of the lower energy content in the ethanol.

If you have a turbocharged or supercharge vehicle with high fuel demands at WOT, it will push your injector and fuel pump duty cycles higher.

Having more ethanol in the gas makes tuning cars more difficult and more inconsistent.  The ethanol level in the gasonline is not always held at a full 15%.  It can be all over the place from one fillup to the next.  If your car is tuned with a wideband while running 15% ethanol, and then you run fuel with no ethanol in it, you’re air to fuel ratio can shift over a point richer. This is huge from a tuning standpoint in terms of power and efficiency.  The OEMs have realized this and most 2011+ Fords including the Mustang GT and Shelby GT500 use widebands from the factory.  These vehicles are closed loop at WOT (wide open throttle) and are constantly correcting air/fuel ratio at all operating conditions.  The PCM keeps the actual A/F and the commanded A/F the same, this is great for performance, efficiency, reliability, and safety.

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Ethanol - alright with me
By Shinobisan on 3/15/2011 9:24:27 AM , Rating: 0
I don't understand why some people are so down on Ethanol. ?

First: you need up-to-date data.

1) Ethanol contains more energy than is required to make it.
The old "it takes more to make it" just isn't true anymore.
It was true back 20 years ago when the industry was new.
Add 20 years of innovation.

2) Food or Fuel
We CAN do both.
A bushel of corn (that's 56 pounds everyone) costs about $4.
Your 12 oz box of cornflakes contains about 5 cents worth of corn. Now... double the price... and you still only pay 10 cents for all the corn in your cereal.
We have a surplus of corn. We make more than we can use.
My uncle has a farm, he tells me his dad was happy to get 35 bushels per acre. Now he gets 120 bushels per acre. and those numbers just keep going up. The national average is 150 bushels per acre. That's an Average. ... some farms get more.

3) Ethanol kills efficiency. Well - perhaps a little.
The problem is we are burning Ethanol in a gas engine.
There are new technologies that take advantage of the fuel and can help an engine to be as efficient with ethanol as a diesel engine is.
Basically... there is more energy in gas - but you can't get to it all. gas engines are horrible because you can't compress gas enough to get at all the power that is there. Ethanol has a little less energy... but you can get at more of it through compression. So in the end you can actually get more power/energy from Ethanol. You just have to build an engine for it. And people are starting to.

4) Choose: Grow your fuel here in the USA. Give a little profit to Iowa farmers (and farmers in other states too) - OR - use pure gas, and give that profit to terrorists in far off countries where our boys and girls are being killed every day to protect the source of the black tar.

RE: Ethanol - alright with me
By randomly on 3/15/2011 3:23:36 PM , Rating: 2
1) yes things have improved over the years, but not by that much. It's still scarcely better than break even on energy return.

2)We can't even remotely do both. It would take 6 times the total agricultural land in the US to grow enough corn to make the fuel used by light vehicles alone. You need to check the scales of our fuel consumption.

We do not have a surplus of corn, if we did then why are corn prices at an ALL TIME HISTORICAL HIGH of almost $7 a bushel? These high prices trickle down through all food prices especially meat since corn is used for feed.

3) No there is no magical advantage of burning Ethanol in an 'Ethanol' engine. The thermodynamic efficiency of the engines is little changed when running on gas or ethanol. The primary problem is gallon for gallon there is less energy in Ethanol than there is in gas. No engine is going to extract energy that isn't in the fuel in the first place. Ethanol has a higher octane rating than gas which allows you to run a higher compression ratio which gives a small efficiency advantage. However the ethanol gas mixes are still blended to 87-93 octane rating like regular gas and you again have no advantage.

Ethanol has a LOT less energy than gas. It takes about 1.5 gallons of ethanol to equal the energy in 1 gal of gas. You don't make that up with marginal compression ratio increases.

I'm sorry but your information is outdated and incomplete.

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