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AAA cheers the news that the damaging fuel is unlikely to reach consumers this year or next

After refusing to back down from corn ethanol blending targets, the EPA this week swallowed its pride and agreed to push back the 2013 target by four months, while hinting that it may be forced to reduce the 2014 target as well.  The agency is at last acknowledging that without subsidies its planned corn ethanol quotas -- and the E15 that comes with them -- may not be possible.

I. Big Corn Sees Subsidies Slashed

The ties that once bound doth now divide.  The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) [PDF] -- a bill which once brought the Bush administration and farm state Congressional members of both parties together -- has now become a bone of contention between the pro-ethanol lobby and a coalition of Congress, academics, and automotive industry lobbyists who are decrying this sweeping market manipulation scheme.

For a time Congress directly subsidized ethanol, a means to pour more money on large corporate farm conglomerates like Cargill, Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Comp. (ADM), Gavilon, and ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG) -- among the four farms that control 60 percent of the nation's grain crop [source] -- while masquerading as an effort to "help the small farmer."  Predictably ADM, ConAgra, and seed firms like Monsanto Comp. (MON) royally rewarded the farmland Congressmen who pushed these efforts, donating to their election campaigns.

corn profits
Deep donations endeared big corn to Congress. [Image Source:]

President Obama himself was among the lucky winners of handouts from big corn special interests, although his ties to the corn industry at times have been more sneaky.  After championing the Energy Act as a young senator back in 2005, ADM began flying Sen. Obama around on their private jet, a true VIP treatment.  And top Obama donor George Soros -- who gave nearly $5M USD to Obama and his fellow Democrats -- is a major owner of ConAgra spinoff, top corn grower, and number three corporate farm conglomerate Gavilon.

Unsurprisingly, the President supported pro-ethanol rules and indirect subsidization via blending quotas. In Dec. 2011, a coalition largely led by House Republicans beat back a $6B USD ethanol subsidy, which went mostly to big corn.  But a key pillar of the big corn money-backed politicians' strategy -- blending quotas remained in place.  Those quotas demanded that refiners use a certain number of gallons of ethanol per year or face fines.  More importantly every year those quotas bumped higher and higher, forcing an artificially inflated demand for corn ethanol.

The play has certainly paid off for big corn.  In 2012 ethanol consumed 42.9 percent of corn crop production, up from 30.7 percent in 2008-2099, the first year of mandated blending, according to a study by Iowa State Univ.  In other words of every 10 ears of corn grown, ethanol now takes more than 4 of them, due mostly to the government forcing fuel refiners to buy them.  It's a dream scenario for a business -- some is forcing customers to buy your product (inflated demand), with great flexibility given to how much you can inflate prices on it (inflated revenue).

II. Opponents Look to Kill Corn Ethanol Quotas, E15 Blends

However, a strange coalition of ethanol opponents has arisen since then that's pushing for the removal of that pillar.  Some in the movement are environmentalists, including academics who point out that corn ethanol produces more emissions over its life cycle than oil, and in some cases may even be an energy-negative process.  Regardless on your feelings about global warming theory, they raise a powerful point as one the major justifications of ethanol protectionism was the claim that it "fought warming" by cutting emissions, a claim that research definitively proved false.

Automakers also bucked the increasing blending quotas as they were outpacing growth in fuel consumption, forcing increasing high ethanol blends on customers.  As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) looked to approve the use of E15 as a way to allow refiners to reach their blending quotas and avoid fines, automakers cried foul saying a 15 percent ethanol-85 percent gasoline blend would seriously damage their vehicles.

Ethanol permeates and damages parts made of rubber, plastic, metal, and other materials in engines not specially sealed to allow the use of higher ethanol blends.  All automakers certify their vehicles for E10. Some automakers certify their vehicles for E15 use, but many don't.

Ethanol warning
E15 and above can damage engines and fuel systems not specially coated to prevent corrosion. [Image Source: Center for Environment and Commerce]

The automakers -- along with the nation's largest motor organization AAA -- demanded the EPA stop the rollout.  They pointed out that even among brand new vehicles many would be damaged by ethanol; and that's not to mention the scores of older vehicles on America's streets that would be damaged by the higher blend.  

They also point out that most engines -- even flex fuel ones -- run less efficiently on a blend, meaning that customers are getting much lower mpg and paying more at the pump.  This isn't even necessarily a knock on ethanol, but more a testament to the fact that ethanol and petroleum combust differently.  Thus it's impossible to design and engine that runs optimally for both -- you design an engine that's all ethanol/all petroleum and runs efficiently or you design a mixed engine that sacrifices a lot of its fuel economy to try to be a jack of all trades.

Triple A
AAA fought hard against E15. [Image Source: David Eppstein]

Yet more opposition came from livestock farmers -- both large and small -- who saw the cost of feed inflated by having to compete with ethanol.  Hit hard by the drought, many farmers had to abandon buying corn altogether, trying to feed their animals in creative ways like food stock waste.  However, this strategy ultimately was not sustainable or good for the health of livestock, so farmers pled with the EPA to scale back ethanol targets -- even if only for 2012-2013.

The Obama administration's EPA first stalled on its decision, then decided to reject the livestock farmers' pleas altogether saying "no" to a waiver.  The administration said livestock farmers -- particularly small ones -- were on their own and that if they went out of business it was too bad.  The EPA also called automakers liars saying E15 wouldn't damage engines, and that it knew more about how the engines worked than the companies that built them.  The U.S. Supreme Court seemingly agreed, refusing to hear a challenged to the blending bump.

III. Unable to Meet Quota w/out Subsidies, EPA Freezes Blending at Current Levels

But faced with state efforts to ban E15, and House debates on whether to cut the blending requirements entirely, the EPA caved slightly, freezing a planned bump to ethanol levels that was set for next year.  

Last year 4.55 billion bushels of corn was used to produce ethanol, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), down from 5 billion bushels in 2011.  The nation's 211 ethanol plants produced 13.33 billion gallons last year, missing the target of 15.2 billion gallons by 13 percent.

The credit -- or blame -- for this miss can largely go to the elimination of subsidies, grants, and tax credits for ethanol plants.  Corn has a vested interest in selling more ethanol (to create artificial demand/a guaranteed buyer).  Refiners have to blend in ethanol or face EPA fines.  By contrast ethanol distillers have free will -- if the government offers them financial incentives to build more plants they may; or if the corn industry offers to pass on some of their subsidies, they may choose to build more plants as well.

But now that there are no more subsidies, big corn doesn't have as much extra money to incentivize the distillers and still pad its own pockets.  Unsurprisingly there's been a chilling effect on growth in distilling facilities:
Ethanol plants
Ethanol plants stopped being built when the handouts stopped. [Image Source: DOE]

As can be seen, between 2008-2010 forty new plants were added, but between 2010-2012 only seventy plants were added.

To put this data in another light, the blending quota of 15.2 billion gallons represented about 9.7 percent of the fuel used nationwide.  By contrast, the end result represented only about 8.5 percent of the total fuel.  For this year the target was supposed to soar to 16.55 billion -- or about 10.5 percent of total fuel consumption.  But production will be lucky to hit last year's (2012) target, let alone this year's.

Refiners are helpless in this situation.  They can't get any more corn ethanol to produce E10 across their entire lineup, let alone E15.  The government may fine them for their "noncompliance", but in reality that's immaterial as the government's asking an objective that's impossible at present.  Thus there's no reason for refiners to begin to produce E15 in mass -- particularly given the public backlash surrounding the fuel.

ethanol refinery
Without subsidy handouts, the explosive growth of ethanol refineries ceased, freezing production levels. [Image Source: Ethanol Producer Magazine]

The EPA was thus faced with a tough decision.  Its original goal (as steered by the prevailing corn lobby interests) was to funnel money to big corn.  But without the subsidies fuel companies are opting not open more distilleries.  And without more distilleries big corn is unable to continue to pump ethanol into refiners hands at ever increasing rates.

The EPA could of course take its cane and punitively beat the refiners with fines, but it would face repercussions, both to its reputation and to the reputation of the Obama administration if it appears too punitive.  On the other hand, the opposition to E15 and corn ethanol protectionism is so strong at this point that there's no way a fresh effort to restore subsidies can make it through Congress and boost refinery construction.

IV. Government Pay Days, but No More "Pay Raises" Ahead for Big Corn

So ultimately the EPA opted -- in its "finalized" 2013-2014 targets [PDF] released this week -- to give refiners 4 more months to achieve 2013's mandate levels (16.55 billion gallons).  Even with that extra time, blending is expected to fall short of the mark, due to lack of corn ethanol refining production growth.  The EPA also drops a hint that it may be forced to cut 2014 targets, writing begrudgingly:

This notice also acknowledges that there are constraints in the market’s ability to consume renewable fuels at the volumes specified in the Clean Air Act in future years, and states that the EPA anticipates proposing adjustments to the 2014 volume requirements in the 2014 rule to address these constraints.

Thus the EPA isn't backing down from its efforts to artificially inflate corn ethanol demand, just recognizing that the Congressional push to pull the plug on corn ethanol subsidies has frozen them, if not killed them altogether as an elimination of the blending requirements would have.

EPA sign
The EPA has been forced to begrudgingly freeze corn ethanol blending targets.
[Image Source: Free Enterprise]

The industry is cheering this turn of events, particularly the fact that E15 -- although allowed -- will likely make it to few if any gas stations this year.

AAA, a strong opponent of E15, says the EPA's acknowledgement of reality is good news for the nation's 240 million drivers, 53 million of which are its members.  But AAA President and CEO Bob Darbelnet says that's not enough.  He comments:

AAA praises today’s decision by the EPA and it’s acknowledgement that there are constraints to the market’s ability to consume renewable fuels as directed by the RFS.  However, it is clear that congressional action is still needed to provide the EPA with the authority and direction needed to adjust unachievable fuel targets in the future.

E15 gasoline is simply not compatible with existing infrastructure or for use in the vast majority of vehicles on the roads today.  E15 can put motorists at risk of vehicle damage and voided warranties, which means it is not a viable option for meeting current RFS requirements.

It is time for Washington to send a clear signal that action will be taken to prevent serious problems for motorists.  While the many benefits of the RFS should not be dismissed, policymakers must ensure adequate and safe fuel supplies for American consumers.

Mr Darbelnet and others would like to see Congress -- at a minimum -- eliminate all plans to increase ethanol quotas past a blending wall of 10 percent.  While eliminating quotas -- and likely by proxy corn ethanol in U.S. consumer fuel -- altogether would give customers even better gas mileage, at least such a freeze would prevent the even worse fuel economy repercussions, and -- more importantly -- the damage to consumer engines that a bump to E15 levels would cause.

E15 (fortunately) may never make it to many pumps. [Image Source: Digital Trends]

 Thus big corn may still gets its pay day, but it's not going to get a raise if AAA and others can help it.

V. Cellulosic Ethanol Industry Produces Next to Nothing

Meanwhile, yet another embarassment is nearing for the Obama and Bush administration's biofuels policy.  The 2013-2014 policy calls for 2.75 billion gallons of so-called "advanced biofuels", such as algal biofuels or liquified natural gas (LNG), and 6 million gallons of cellulosic ethanol (which comes from non-food sources like waste wood or grass).

The EPA did meet the 2011 target for advanced fuels (543 million gallons), but thus far the DOE has refused to provide statistics on 2012 consumption, which is though to have missed.  With the target for next year at near five times 2011's rates, an even bigger miss is likely.

Likewise cellulosic ethanol target was slashed from the EISA target of 500 million gallons of fuel in 2012 to the EPA's concessionary target of 3.45 million.  But according to the DOE no meaningful amount of cellulosic ethanol was produced or sold in 2011 or 2012

Switchgrass may promise to solve cellulosic ethanol's biggest problem -- feedstock -- but it's not without problems of its own. [Image Source: Andy Anderson for Audubon]

In other words after making big claims companies like the General Motors Comp. (GM) backed Coskata found the logistics of cobbling together various agricultural and residential feedstocks (crop waste, waste wood, yard clippings, etc.) was simply to daunting and expensive.  As a result, the brightest among them (such as Coskata) have at best built "semi-commercial" plants that put out anywhere between 100 and 1,000 gallons of cellulosic ethanol a month.

For automakers and drivers, cellulosic ethanol presents a similar problem to corn ethanol -- it can damage car parts and reduce fuel economy.  But at least it actually does lower emissions, and at least it does not elevate food prices, as food crop ethanol does.  

Regardless of its superior profile, cellulosic ethanol is unlikely to gain significant traction unless some company can devise a way to get sufficient biomass to their plants.  

One possible solution -- with some limitations -- is switchgrass.  Coskata wrote that it obtained 100 gallons of ethanol from one dry ton of wood.  Assuming switchgrass -- which can yield 6 ot 8 dry tons per acre yearly [source] -- had similar yields, it would take over 625,000 acres (~1,000 mi^2) -- to meet the EISA's 2012 target.  The nation has 1.44 million square miles of farmland, so this is not infeasible in the long term.

On the other hand the EISA target of 16 billion gallons for 2022 is much more of a stretch.  That would require nearly 32,000 mi^2 of farmland, or roughly 2.22 percent of total farmland.  That number sounds tiny, but it would require massive levels of investment (purchasing farms) and could put serious pressure on food prices.

In other words, cellulosic ethanol is superior to its corn cousin, but faces similar problems from an automotive perspective, and offers only a trade-off in competition for crop land (cellulosic) as opposed to direct-competition for food crops (corn).

Sources: EPA [1], [2], AAA

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RE: a triumph for reason
By Souka on 8/7/2013 11:35:27 PM , Rating: 4
And, as I read, most if not all motorcycles sold in the US (2014 models included) will void engine warranty running E15.

I run non-ethonal gas in my car... yes costs more per gallon, but not more per mile. Well, ok... $0.08/mile with E10 Costco/Safeway discount gas, vs .082 with E0 is how I found stations I can use.

RE: a triumph for reason
By OS on 8/7/2013 11:59:00 PM , Rating: 3
I use also, lots of people reporting ~10% mileage improvement. Ethanol has less chemical energy per gallon so it in effect "waters down" gasoline. Please contact your congressional reps also.

RE: a triumph for reason
By Samus on 8/8/2013 1:10:53 AM , Rating: 1
I run ethanol injection in my 2002 SVT Focus, mix one liter of pure ethanol to 2 gallons of E10 in my carbureted 1982 Honda motorcycle (increasing the octane to ~97RON and ethanol content to 30%) and I regularly use E85 in my 1994 2-cycle mower (with 32:1 2-cycle oil) to gain all the benefits of ethanol.

None of these vehicles were designed for ethanol fuel, and all have operated on it for years with completely stock fuel components. The advantages are cleaner burn, higher octane enabling higher compression and advanced timing, cooler burn resulting in less valve lash in my bike and use of a 180f thermostat with calibration in my SVT Focus, and of course, lower cost. Race fuel is $6.50/gallon here in Chicago. Ethanol is an excellent cleansing agent and burns cleaner than any non-synthetic, petroleum-based product. Urea tanks in modern diesels, although poorly implemented, are basically a form of ethanol injection that keeps diesel valves and injectors cleaner.

Yes, ethanol has lower "power density" than petrol. Yes, corn subsidies are stupid. And yes, in rare circumstances such as marine use, ethanol fuel can be a headache. But increasing the ethanol content by 5% wouldn't do anything to any vehicle that runs on E10. Departments of weights and measures would guarantee E15 fuel sold at a licensed pump meets the same octane ratings as the equivalent E10. The engine wouldn't know the difference.

I really don't care about how this turned out, but I find the argument fascinating. The way AAA went about it by working with manufactures to say this would cause engine damage is liken to how Marijuana activists are trying to legalize pot on the medical platform. The arguments are ridiculous. Any automotive engineer knows whether "built for it or not" an engine can safely run 95%+ ethanol as long as the octane meets the computer calibration and there are other necessary detergents, rust inhibitors (ethanol is already the primary one) and stabilizers to consistently burn the fuel. Yes, if the fuel were an extreme ethanol percentage, modifiers would be necessary, but its chemically accomplish-able to 'simulate' pure petrol.

RE: a triumph for reason
By Mint on 8/8/13, Rating: 0
RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/8/2013 8:20:33 AM , Rating: 4
Some of those armchair yahoos have more credibility than politically-motivated government "scientists". My Ph.D. in Physics (obtained the old-fashioned way during a 6.5 year stint as a graduate assistant, not just phoning-in to a beltway university and sending a government research contract to my dissertation advisor) should give some weight to my measurement techniques.

Based on long (900 mile) trips on I-95 back in 2008 (when E-0 was still an option), I discovered that E-10 reduced my gas mileage around 10% with my 300C Hemi and around 7% with my 330i. Around town, my Saturn Astras suffered about a 10% loss (with a larger margin of error). This is much worse than the expected the energy density loss. Highly optimized modern engines may be very sensitive to fuel quality.

RE: a triumph for reason
By Dorkyman on 8/8/2013 11:39:20 AM , Rating: 2
Maybe. I'd suggest, however, that a subtle bias crept in to your driving habits unless you had no way of knowing which fuel the tank contained. I've heard elsewhere that 3-5% is expected.

RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/8/2013 1:32:01 PM , Rating: 4
Doubtful. The cruise control was set at 9 mph above the speed limit for the lion's share of the I-95 driving. The fuel mileage test was merely a byproduct of business travel. The theoretical 3% figure is based on energy density, and does not take into account the effect of E10 on modern engine control systems or the quality of the corn-ethanol (which filled my boat carburetor with crud before I switched to marine non-ethanol).

RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/8/2013 2:21:39 PM , Rating: 3
Note that both compressed hydrogen and U-235 have a higher energy density that gasoline, and would theoretically increase your gas mileage if you mixed it in. The problem is that common internal combustion engines are not intended to use that kind of fuel. In the same way, the theoretical 3% gas mileage loss does not apply to real world gasoline engines that are optimized to run on E-0.

Pure ethanol engines can use high compression ratios for greater efficiency. Typical gas engines are designed with lower compression ratios.

You can't cold start an E-100 engine without gasoline because of the lower vapor pressure associated with ethanol. The lower vapor pressure affects the combustion process, requiring different fuel system settings.

RE: a triumph for reason
By BRB29 on 8/9/2013 10:03:44 AM , Rating: 2
My experience with E10 is slightly different different.

I used my 3000GT. I was running E0 in 07 with a clean rebuilt engine making trips up to/from NC to NY. I averaged 22.4MPG in over 10,000 miles.

I only used this car for highway and track days. However, I don't count the track days fuel usage for obvious reasons.

Went on deployments and training exercises for 2 years. Came back in 2009 in January. Ran it for a whole year with E10 because I can no longer find E0. Logged another 10k miles in exactly 1 year and got 21.8mpg.

All variables were kept the same. Same oil change interval with Mobile 1 synthetic. Cleaned out air filters every week. Tire pressure steady at 35 psi checked weekly. Tires were the same Michelen all season and rotated every 5k miles. There were no engine mods for this car except widened TB, ported and polished intake plenum, lightweight pulleys, aluminum flywheel, 6 puck clutch w/pressure plate, BOV, and custom 3" exhausted I made and welded myself. All these were installed by me right after I bought the car in 07 before I started driving it. I never did anything else to this engine because I have a 2nd engine and working on my a complete rebuild hoping to get 700whp and run 10s.

I do notice that cars with low compression tends to have a more negative effect with E10. For example, my Escalade dropped from 13 mpg to 11 mpg in city driving. I only it in the city. However, my 528, 98 Eclipse GS-T and Jetta VR6 seems to have an mpg drop of less than 1 mpg. Which is below 5%. Turbos and high compression engines does fine apparently.

RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/9/2013 3:51:10 PM , Rating: 2
Engines and controllers certainly will affect the relative efficiency of E0 versus E10. Maybe my 300C and 330i were worst case examples. However, another variable may be in play. Since about 2007, I have occasionally noticed rather large variations in my gas mileage from tank to tank, with all other factors remaining pretty much constant. I suspect that the label "contains up to 10% ethanol" may indicate that E10 is not always 10% ethanol. Your local refiner might not be putting in the full 10%.

RE: a triumph for reason
By Mint on 8/10/2013 12:54:56 PM , Rating: 2
I already showed you a study where E5 and E10 show minimal difference among many car models.

You say "other factors remaining pretty much constant" without measuring them. My 330ci gets 30+ mpg on the highway and 12 mpg in stop-heavy city driving (nothing like the EPA city test schedule). The slightest change in driving patterns or traffic will give me a 10% difference in a tank's mileage.

RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/10/2013 11:36:13 PM , Rating: 2
I primarily monitor gas mileage to make sure the engine is running efficiently and to decide when to add Techron. Variations in gas mileage caused by outlier driving conditions and cold vs hot weather are relatively predictable after a couple of years (roughly 100 gas tanks). Occasionally, the gas mileage unexpectedly changes both on average and as indicated by the trip computer instantaneous values. The effect is noticed minutes after refueling the tank and continues until the tank is refueled again. I believe these outliers are caused by the fuel quality, but have not bothered to have the fuel analyzed for the cause.

RE: a triumph for reason
By Mint on 8/8/2013 2:40:08 PM , Rating: 2
How many such trips did you take? Was weather identical? Was traffic and acceleration identical? Tire pressure? Vehicle loading? I assume you don't drive 900 miles with no luggage.

What's your p-level? That you didn't mention it in your stats doesn't reflect well on your scientific acumen.

This is what a scientifically honest test looks like:
There was a slight difference in means (E10=28.1 MPG; E0=28.64 MPG) but it was not statistically significant (p=0.56).

This was in contrast to the first impression when I got 26.4 MPG with E10 and it went up to 27.7 with E0.

Don't use credentials on me. I worked hard for my Ph.D from arguably the top grad school in the world and represented my country at IPhO.

RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/8/2013 9:47:29 PM , Rating: 2
For each of the four trips, the weather, luggage, etc. on each 900 mile leg (two legs per trip) did not vary much. I waited until the tank was about 1/8 full before refilling (about three tanks per leg). While the 7% and 10% losses were averages, the 24 tanks of gas clearly showed a significant gas mileage drop whenever E10 was used. The Astra numbers are not as solid because of the variety of driving conditions and variable A/C usage.

The trend was so clear there was no point in doing an uncertainty analysis. I'm not the only one who has noticed a 5-10% impact on gas mileage. You assume we are all wrong because the results don't agree with your beliefs. By labeling those who disagree with you as armchair yahoos, you reveal your lack of character. Is your Ph.D. in a hard science such as Physics or Chemistry?

RE: a triumph for reason
By Mint on 8/9/2013 1:32:58 AM , Rating: 2
The trend was so clear there was no point in doing an uncertainty analysis.
You can't do any meaningful uncertainty analysis with n=2 (or is it just one round trip?) for each type of fuel and car. "Did not vary much" doesn't sound like you did any measurement of those variables (not that I blame you).

I'm not the only one who has noticed a 5-10% impact on gas mileage. You assume we are all wrong because the results don't agree with your beliefs.
I assume your result is anecdotal because a 10% drop with E10 would imply that you could replace the ethanol with a non-combustible filler and still get the same economy. That's ridiculous.

I assume your result is anecdotal because you haven't done enough trials. Single data points can give the opposite result as well, with E10 coming out on top:

Most importantly, I assume your result is anecdotal because real studies show low differences with blending levels:
(Unfortunately the only American E10 vs E0 study I can find is from an ethanol group)
Is your Ph.D. in a hard science such as Physics or Chemistry?
My PhD is in Electrical Engineering. So yes, several hard sciences involved.

RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/9/2013 8:22:54 AM , Rating: 3
Your inability to understand that a clear pattern established with 24 tanks of gas is significant puzzles me. Some distributions are so bimodal that you do not need statistics to uncover the trend. I also have a M.S. in Electrical Engineering (so I can earn a living) and consider Electrical Engineering to be an applied science, not a hard science.

RE: a triumph for reason
By Mint on 8/10/2013 12:27:41 PM , Rating: 2
How is hard science more valuable than an applied science in statistical analysis of fuel economy or the understanding of engine operation? You're sounding like someone from the the very "beltway universities" that you derided earlier.

Your inability to understand how preposterous your allegations are for cars designed to use E10 make me question whether you're lying about credentials. Consider your 300C cruising at 70 mph, needing maybe 30bhp (by comparison, a Prius needs only ~15 whp @ 70mph). Lets say your BSFC is 300g/kWh with E0, so you consume 1.87g/s (i.e. 29mpg) of pure gasoline. Your claim of 10% lower mileage with E10 means 1.87g/s of gas consumption and 0.21 g/s of ethanol. If you really did have equal conditions, then it would be the same 30bhp average output.

What you're claiming is that if two identical engines are consuming gas at the same rate, adding air+ethanol to one of them results in ZERO extra mechanical power.

Does that pass the smell test of scientific validity? The cars you mentioned were designed with E10 in mind, so I can't believe Chrysler/GM completely screwed up ECU tables, sensor design, etc.

It's obvious that you did not control variables well. I'm guessing you didn't randomize which fillups got E10 and E0, either. You didn't do any standard deviation analysis. You've also proven that you're oblivious to glaring red flags in your data.

I can only conclude that you're not a very good scientist.

RE: a triumph for reason
By PaFromFL on 8/10/2013 11:43:22 PM , Rating: 2
I now have enough data and am a good enough scientist to conclude that there is no point in having a discussion with Mint. I used to think that osmium was the densest substance on earth.

RE: a triumph for reason
By Dr of crap on 8/8/2013 11:14:48 AM , Rating: 2
Well yes, but here's the thing.
IF your car makers warranty is going to be VOID because of your use of a fuel they said NOT to use, what would you do?????

If E15 was widely available - AND car makers said its OK to use, then there wouldn't be such an uproar.

On the flip side, I have talked to a very knowledgeable motorcycle mechanic that said since the introduction of E10, he's got more fuel / carburetor problems than before E10. AND most all bikers would rather use E0 than any ethanol.

RE: a triumph for reason
By BRMarshall on 8/12/2013 6:36:48 PM , Rating: 2
I try to put the best gas possible in my 06 Ninja. I've also heard that motorcycle manufacturers discourage the use of ethenol blended gasoline. Look at the ingredients in products at the grocery store and you will see corn in many of them, often in the form of high fructose corn syrup. Diverting corn from food to fuel drives up the price of many foods. Another well-intentioned liberal policy that disproportionately affects poor people in a negative way.

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