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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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RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By randomly on 3/15/2011 1:14:39 PM , Rating: 5
There have been detailed studies on the energy input and output of corn ethanol. Some come up with negative energy gain, some positive, but they are all very close to 1:1 energy return.
After much controversy from Pimentels original research which showed corn ethanol was actually using more energy than it produced there were numerous studies trying to prove otherwise.
But even Argonne labs research only came up with an energy gain of 1.3, energy in to energy out. And this was only because they counted all the energy in the corn waste products that could be used for cattle feed.

This is only valid on a small scale, they admitted that large scale corn ethanol production would produce so much waste product that there would be no reasonable use for it, and again you are back to a break even.

But the break even doesn't cover the billions of dollars a year in tax payers money that goes to the corn growers (mostly to Archer Daniels Midland corporation) for Ethanol subsidies.
There is no advantage in subsidizing corn ethanol in hopes it will improve substantially. The efficiency is never going to get much better because of the intrinsic limitations of corn as an ethanol feedstock.

Corn Ethanol is never going to produce any kind of environmental help. It does more damage than benefits.

As mentioned above, the cost to consumers is not only in the price of the fuel to consumers, but the taxes they have to pay for the subsidies, the increased wear on the engines and maintenance costs, greatly increased food prices.

On top of all those wonderful things is that corn farming contributes to top soil erosion. Top soil accumulates at only about 1 inch per 500 years. Corn farming can erode away an inch in less than a decade. Destroying our farm lands for a subsidized break even biofuel project that has no hope of ever yielding positive results is just idiocy.

There are also the issues of fertilizer and pesticide runoff poisoning the water shed and making dead zones in rivers and deltas. The enormous consumption of fresh water from our limited water resources is another unmentioned burden.

Both McCain and Obama said something needed to be done about the corn ethanol subsidies during their campaigns. However the Corn ethanol lobby is so strong that not only has nothing been done about this theft from the American public, but now they've managed to increase the size of the swindle by 50% with the increase to 15% ethanol blend.

This kind of corporate abuse of the American political system is very disheartening, especially when it is so obvious yet nothing seems to be able to stop them. It does not bode well for the future of this country.

RE: What About Y2K and Older Cars
By Sivar on 3/21/2011 2:27:06 PM , Rating: 2
I really like posts based on mere facts, from all sides, rather than the author's political beliefs.

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