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The EPA is considering raising the amount of ethanol used in gasoline, but is meeting with the USDA and several companies to discuss the topic

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is finally urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to consider raising the amount of ethanol that is blended with gasoline before millions of Americans purchase it at the pumps.  

Current ethanol-to-gasoline blends are currently set at 10 percent, but ethanol groups have long urged for the number to be raised to 15 or 20 percent, saying it will help the U.S. ethanol industry grow during a time when producers face declining margins and an extremely competitive market.

Although the USDA and other agencies and researchers can request the EPA to raise the limit, it's up to them to persuade the EPA to try and raise the percentage to something a bit higher.  Both sides have just started talking, so the exact number of a new blend hasn't been brought up yet, though it's likely both sides have a number they hope to reach.

In an effort to create the blend itself, Valero Energy offered a bid of $280 million for five ethanol plants that are operated by VeraSun, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection.  If the deal becomes official, it would mark the biggest ethanol buyout the U.S. has ever seen.

Ethanol maker Archer Daniels Midland recently said around 21 percent of U.S. ethanol production capacity is sitting idle, so the topic of blending ethanol and gasoline will only likely increase in the future.

"I do think it's important for us to look for strategies to make sure the infrastructure of the ethanol industry is preserved, because it is a key component to this new energy future the president's laid out," said Tom Vilsack, former Iowa mayor and U.S. Secretary of Agriculture told Bloomberg.  "We have been talking to folks at EPA, as they look at the blend-rate issue.  That may be one way in the short term to create new opportunities."



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No More Ethanol!
By TomZ on 2/11/2009 1:35:32 PM , Rating: 5
It has so many disadvantages:
- lower energy per volume (MPG)
- not lower cost, likely higher cost
- cross-impact on food costs
- no CO2 reduction, or maybe an increase

Let's stop the handout madness! Stop Ethanol use today!




RE: No More Ethanol!
By DigitalFreak on 2/11/2009 1:42:03 PM , Rating: 5
For once, you and I agree on something. :0)


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Brainonska511 on 2/11/2009 1:42:39 PM , Rating: 5
Ethanol isn't necessarily bad. Subsidizing its production from corn is the retarded part of the equation.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Motoman on 2/11/2009 2:07:58 PM , Rating: 3
Yes. Da. Oui. Si.

"We can't grow enough food to feed everyone in the world...what should we do? I know! Let's take the corn we grow and use it to make fuel to drive our cars! That's a great idea!"


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Yojimbo on 2/11/2009 5:38:21 PM , Rating: 2
People don't go hungry from lack of production capacity. people go hungry due to economics. we don't try to "feed to the world". the issue of using food crops to produce energy isn't a matter of running out of food, it's a matter of making food prices higher and therefore further out of the reach of the poor.

As far as an earlier comment someone made, I don't see what subsidies and producing energy have to do with each other.. Why would you accept a farm subsidy over any other production subsidy? I have no idea specifically how the us corn subsidy works, but the idea of a subsidy is to support an industry which might otherwise fail, ie, american corn would be replaced by something else..foreign corn, sugar, or whatever other replacements there can be. If the reason for supporting a farm subsidy is that we want to be able to produce a certain amount of our own food (i have no idea if that's the reasoning or not), then couldn't the same thing be said for energy? If that's not the reason, then what's the reason for prefering a food subsidy to an energy subsidy?


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Alexstarfire on 2/11/2009 7:15:18 PM , Rating: 4
My friend, the first sentence you spoke was the dumbest thing you could have started off with. The fact that we use a TON of corn for ethanol already makes food prices higher because corn is also used to raise livestock. Now they want to increase ethanol production by 50-100%. What do you think that is going to do to food prices.... lower them? It's just going to make it worse. Sure, the economy isn't helping, but I don't think doubling to tripling the price of certain staple foods is going to help much either.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Motoman on 2/11/2009 7:44:55 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. Usagi would not be impressed by this Yojimbo.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By headbox on 2/11/2009 11:23:59 PM , Rating: 2
Brazil uses 75% Ethanol. They have been for decades. Are they driving the cost of food crops through the roof and starving their population? No.

It's time the USA looks outside its borders to learn a thing or two.

75% of corn grown in the USA goes to livestock. 50% of the livestock is never eaten. Bad policy in Washington + Obese Americans are standing in the way of a perfectly good renewable fuel source.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Bruneauinfo on 2/12/2009 2:04:27 AM , Rating: 2
Brazil's Ethanol is a byproduct of their sugar industry. if they weren't growing and processing sugar it wouldn't be feasible for them either. not everyone can be a huge sugar producer of their magnitude.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By MrPoletski on 2/12/2009 4:49:08 AM , Rating: 3
Not to mention that compared to the USA I'd expect they have about 3 cars, one bus and a tricycle.

Anyway, what would you want to waste all that ethanol on gasoline for?

Just imagine how much beer that could make.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Pneumothorax on 2/13/2009 1:44:32 AM , Rating: 2
What you also fail to realize is sugar cane is way more efficient when converted to ethanol than corn. Percentage wise a MUCH larger portion of the plant is fermented into ethanol in sugar cane whilst in corn only the ear itself is usable for ethanol. We'd grow sugar cane, but our climate is incompatible AND the corn lobby supports continued tariffs against Brazilian ethanol imports. Our president owes major favors to midwest farmers and their lobbyists so we'll never see those tariffs removed.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By toyotabedzrock on 2/12/2009 12:55:33 AM , Rating: 2
He is pointing out that it is an invalid argument to state that there is not enough to feed everyone in the first place. And that no matter the price, the god fearing country folk apparently do not have the moral fortitude to give the corn for free to those who need it.

That said, corn used for ethanol is not the type of corn used for human consumption, it is used for livestock however.

Ethanol can be burned more efficiently than gasoline, it does require that engines are designed to take advantage of it. If your interested the engine modifications include, advancing the ignition timing, higher compression ratio, and modified fuel maps to account for the fact that the stoichiometric ratio is different for ethanol.

Also it has the nice side affect of keeping an engine clean which also helps fuel economy and emissions.

If you need proof then take a small amount of gasoline and a small amount of ethanol and light them in a glass(use your head be safe) and have a look at whats left over and how energetic each it and how long it burns.

The EPA should mandate that any further increase in ethanol should come from wood or corn stalks. It seems that farmers want a free lunch more than anything to me.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Yojimbo on 2/24/2009 2:47:48 AM , Rating: 2
Obviously you either didn't read or didn't understand anything I said. The most enlightening part of your post is the sentence "My friend, the first sentence you spoke was the dumbest thing you could have started off with," which, coincidentally, is the first sentence you typed, and would leave me with similar impressions, if you didn't go downhill from there.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By jmurbank on 2/12/2009 2:27:17 AM , Rating: 2
Corn is not the only source where Ethanol is produced. There are many different sources. Ethanol can come from yard waste, algae, and other crops.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By gstrickler on 2/11/2009 2:13:32 PM , Rating: 5
Corn based ethanol is good for drinking (e.g. Bourbon), but it's a terrible fuel. In addition to the above reasons, corn requires huge amounts of water to grow and the increase in corn production for ethanol has accelerated the lowering of the ground water table in the massive Ogallala aquifer.

Corn based ethanol uses up precious farm land, uses huge amounts of water, and only produces about 30% more energy that it takes to produce (and that's considered a generous estimate, it may be closer to break even).

Stop the insanity! No subsidies for corn, corn based ethanol, or cornstarch/HFCS. Tell your congresspersons to end the subsidies on corn, end the taxes on sugar cane, and end or delay the ethanol blend requirements. That will affect the ethanol and alternative fuel markets as well as the sugar and sweetener market and food prices.

The corn growers and corn based ethanol distillers may not like it, but until they can demonstrate a viable way to make cellulosic ethanol, the only ethanol made from corn should be in liquor stores.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By CommodoreVic20 on 2/11/2009 2:21:56 PM , Rating: 2
You ain't kidding!

I live in a rural area and have spoken with corn farmers. I had no idea that corn is probably the most inefficient crop period. A single corn plant only produces ONE good corn stalk if you are lucky and sometimes a second smaller almost useless stalk. To produce this single useful stalk it takes months of work!


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Bateluer on 2/11/2009 3:24:02 PM , Rating: 3
Are you sure? My grand parents live on a farm, and I recall seeing 2 to 4 ears of corn per stalk. And since you're just using it for liquor, who cares about the size of ear. Use the largest ear for seed, the rest for fuel.

The plant itself still uses a lot of water and nutrients though.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By mvpx02 on 2/11/2009 3:50:41 PM , Rating: 3
Nobody's talking about ears of corn per stalk, CommodoreVic20 said:

quote:
A single corn plant only produces ONE good corn stalk if you are lucky and sometimes a second smaller almost useless stalk.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By JediJeb on 2/11/2009 7:08:19 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
A single corn plant only produces ONE good corn stalk if you are lucky and sometimes a second smaller almost useless stalk


This is true with almost any crop like that, wheat, corn ect, one seed makes one stalk. Beans actually only make one stalk also, but it branches out to become a bush. Inefficiency should not be gaged on how many stalks it produces,it should be based on the BTU content of the grain produced per acre, or of the fuel produced from the grain per acre.

Also I don't know why so many complain that it will take up precious farm ground, there are millions of acres of farm ground right now that the government pays farmers not to use so that they produce less crops to keep the price higher, I would rather they use that ground to produce the extra grain needed and get the money from selling the grain instead of from not using the ground, because what actually happens is rich people( non farmers or companies) actually buy this ground and then use the money from the government to make the payments, never planning on using it as farm ground ever. Once the subsidy runs out they sell it off, at a high price to farmers which in turn runs the prices of land up.

Anyone who ever uses the term "rich" and "farmer" in the same sentence has obviously never been a farmer or known one, because the vast majority of farmers actually make far less than what would be called middle class wages after their operating expenses are taken out. And the comment above that mentioned killing all subsidies and letting the farmers tough it out is a bad thing, because if those go, then many farmers will be gone also then our food prices will really shoot up.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By tastyratz on 2/11/2009 2:23:21 PM , Rating: 5
with you 110%
Corn based ethanol should NOT be ramped up right now, especially in times of a recession. We need our corn for food.

Gasoline prices at the pump would certainly not go down, but gas mileage would. This would have a negative impact on every single person at the pump whether they can afford it or not.

Down with corn based ethanol!!! Push for alga/cellulose fuel research and production!


RE: No More Ethanol!
By PhoenixKnight on 2/11/2009 2:53:01 PM , Rating: 2
I wholeheartedly support your Bourbon policy!


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Myg on 2/11/2009 8:15:58 PM , Rating: 2
Puts a whole new meaning on "drink driving"....

The lads around these parts would be mighty unimpressed to know that their blood alcohol level would be significantly lower then the car they are driving home in.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By zinfamous on 2/11/2009 3:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
I'm gonna copy-pasta your post and send it to all of my US and state representatives.

Your language efficiently explains the meat of the issue in words that the ave pea-brained congressman can understand.

I really hope the DT readers follow suit


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Hoser McMoose on 2/11/2009 8:21:29 PM , Rating: 2
A while back the economist had an article about ethanol from corn and one line from it really stood out:

"Sometimes you do something not because it's the best solution, but just because it's what you know."
(not an exact quote, but words to that effect)

Put quite simply the whole idea of using corn to make ethanol didn't come about because it was a good fuel, it came about because the U.S. has absolutely MASTERED the art of turning corn into ethanol because it's something that's been done for 300 years!

It's funny that people sometimes talk about how ethanol production efficiencies will improve drastically because it's such a "new technology". Corn ethanol is anything BUT new, it's one of the oldest professions in America that is still actively practised!


RE: No More Ethanol!
By zinfamous on 2/11/2009 3:27:29 PM , Rating: 2
Indeed. But I also don't like how inefficient EtOH-supplemented gasoline is with current car engines.

We traveled cross-country this past summer, and learned rather quickly that avoiding gasoline supplemented with EtOH was the most cost-efficient way to go. The comparison wasn't even close. We would average some 50-75 miles less on gasoline with 10%+ percentage of EtOH. That adds up fast when you're covering 2k miles in one trip.

A mechanic who I had absolutely no reason to distrust told me a few years ago that EtOH was also very bad for standard car engines. Don't remember why, but I'm no mechanical engineer.

I'm not willing to adopt it until the market is actually prepared for it


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Alexstarfire on 2/11/2009 7:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
I can tell you why. It's because of the fact that it combines with the gas, I believe it's the exhaust part it combines with, and makes a tar like substance that sticks to the engine. I'm not sure if this can be avoided even with an engine made just for this ethanol-gas mixture, but this does not occur with gas only or with ethanol only. And this info comes from a person who majored in Chemistry, which is not me.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By ira176 on 2/12/2009 1:46:53 AM , Rating: 2
It's bad because its corrosive for certain parts of the engine, unless the engine is specifically designed for ethanol use.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By mmntech on 2/11/2009 3:30:46 PM , Rating: 4
[sarcasm]I'm sure there was no farming lobby involved when the USDA made this decision[/sarcasm]

Ethanol can be obtained from other sources, such as grasses. We've seen what happens when you use food products for fuel production. Take a look at what happened with last year's food price crisis. Yes, it wasn't the sole cause but it did at least play a part in it.

I'm not 100% convinced on whether ethanol has any environmental benefits either. Corn quickly exhausts soil nutrients so it requires huge amounts of fertilizer and other chemicals. It probably creates more pollution to produce it than it does to extract and refine oil. As an environmental saviour, it just doesn't hold up.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Farva on 2/11/2009 1:49:53 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed, my MPG has gone down tremendously since the 10% allowance. I don't want to think of how many more trips to the gas station I would have to make with 20%. This is rediculous, any arguable price savings are not trickling down to consumers. Any cost reduction just goes to big business who sends it to their respective lobbyists as well as to our wonderful ill/uninformed politicians.

I know the US is the highest producer of corn, but why don't we have a "corn it's what's for dinner" ad campaign instead of screwing everyone out of gas mileage and other "benefits" of full gasoline.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Uncle on 2/11/2009 2:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
You got it, ethanol is a filler, just like the old drywall they put in powdered soap. Ever wonder why if you hang your clothes out side they become stiff after a wash. Why I use liquid detergent. The biggest pushers and lobbyists of ethanol are the giant food producers and wholesalers like Cargill. Years ago their was a law and still is called Influence Peddling. The government has now legalized Influence Peddling by calling it Lobbying.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Alexstarfire on 2/11/2009 7:20:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I'm not gonna argue that there wasn't drywall in the stuff, but the water itself can make stuff stiff. I'm not sure how stiff you are talking about though. If you got hard water you get stiff clothes when you let it air dry. It is particularly bad on thick clothes, like towels and blue jeans.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By mindless1 on 2/14/2009 8:20:39 PM , Rating: 2
Clothes getting stiff from hang drying is only due to one thing: fiber alignment, when the clothes don't move around the fibers are more tightly compacted.

Soap filler and hard water would make no difference whatsoever, when you put clothes in a dryer that doesn't get rid of these contaminants it just flexes the fibers so they stay looser.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Lord 666 on 2/11/2009 2:05:10 PM , Rating: 2
Glad I have a TDI and now thinking of a picking up another diesel.

Personally, I feel there is a gas tax coming. If that does happen, truely hope it is only on gasoline and diesel prices stay the same.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Alexstarfire on 2/11/2009 7:40:39 PM , Rating: 2
Dude, a gas tax has been around since God knows when. They have been thinking about increasing it or changing the way it's implemented, but I don't think either is going to happen any time soon.

BTW, I'm not sure if you live in the US, but if you do you'd have to get at least 33% more MPG on diesel to recoup the money you lose because of the vastly more expensive diesel fuel.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Lord 666 on 2/12/2009 7:51:14 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, I live and work in the tri-state area (NJ/NY)

Not sure where you got your math, but our TDI gets 40-50mpg on highway and hi-30's around town. Typically we get about 500 to a tank before filling with some reserve. Most ever on a tank is 610 and no pee breaks.

Compared to our CRV that gets only about 250 miles per tank, the TDI meets your requirements.

Around here in NJ, diesel is $.50 more a gallon than regular (1.79 vs. 2.29)

My original post suggests a modified gas tax similar to diesel where almost a solid $.70 per gallon is slapped on.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By afkrotch on 2/12/2009 12:55:19 PM , Rating: 2
I say just tax it all higher so it's $4 to the gallon. Then with all the money, we can make more $800+ billion dollar stimulus packages.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By abscoder on 2/11/2009 3:33:36 PM , Rating: 2
Here in AZ our winter-blend has more ethanol than our summer blend. With the higher ethanol winter gas, my STi lost about 15 wheel HP on a DynoDynamics with my previous setup. While it's true, 15 HP can be attributed to other factors when a dyno is involved, we did see obvious differences in the plot trends indicating significantly lower performance across the band.

I'd like to see more interest in butanol over ethanol.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 3:53:30 PM , Rating: 1
- lower energy per volume (MPG) – True: you lose 1-4 percent on mpg with 10 percent blend

- not lower cost, likely higher cost – Debatable: Oil also gets subsidies, military support, and its price is arbitrarily controlled by a consortium. Plus, it’s not renewable. Supply can go nowhere but down. And ethanol is getting cheaper to make every year.

- cross-impact on food costs – False: Corn has dropped by more than half since summer and food prices haven’t shown it. Food companies say they recoup input costs, but they’ve been posting profits (General Mills, Nestle, Kellogg’s, etc.) ever since. That’s where money from price increases are going. There’s a nickle’s worth of corn in a box of corn flakes. Advertising and marketing, packaging, transportation, etc. make up the lion’s share of cost.

- no CO2 reduction, or maybe an increase – False: Ethanol burning itself is carbon-neutral, since the carbon it burns is equal to the carbon absorbed by a corn plant. The carbon released from making ethanol from corn is what adds emissions. UNL two weeks ago published a peer-reviewed study showing an average 51 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for the full life-cycle, including planting, harvest, production, etc.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By walk2k on 2/11/2009 4:30:31 PM , Rating: 2
Thank god someone with some sense.

Look I'm all for real, viable energy solutions and not just throwing the word "green" around but people need to wake up and realize that 90% of the hue and cry against alternative energy comes directly from one source - Big Oil.

That said, corn is a terrible way to make ethanol, and ethanol itself isn't as efficient as biodesiel (but WILL burn in gas engines), AND all of this is really just a stopgap to the point in time we can make pure-electric or hydrogen cell vehicles viable enough to completely repleace all fuel-burning types.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Screwballl on 2/11/2009 4:35:17 PM , Rating: 1
Your numbers are off a bit, 10% ethanol on a non-flex fuel vehicle has a 20-30% decrease in gas mileage and 5-15% reduction on HP and torque. Even with the Flexfuel system they still tend to see a minimum of 15% drop in mileage.

I am against Ethanol and have been since it first showed up in South Dakota at least 15 years ago. At that time, cars were not made to handle it so all sorts of things got fouled up... from TBI/EFI injectors blowing out/burning up to piston ring oxidation in aluminum blocks among other things, you were lucky to get more than 60,000 miles from an engine using nothing but E10 (10% ethanol). Nowadays they have better options with SOME but not all new cars (2003-newer) that can handle it properly for over 200,000 miles. In my case a 2004 Durango with 4.7L that stutters and has problems whenever E10 is used, plus a documented 26% drop in MPG.

I am only against it using the current feed stock with currently available used (and some new) cars. Growing up in rural areas, you learned pretty early on that there was a massive scare (late 80s, early 90s) where corn was produced in such great quantities that some farmers simply threw tarps over thousands of tons of it hoping the market bounced back rather than sell it for a potential loss or break even. This is when the farmers lobbyists (like Daschle from SD, and it is funny that this comes back up now that he is in a seat of power) punched through some sort of mandate that allowed for them to 1) get rid of the excess corn, and 2) make a market that will remain high for a few decades (except they did not figure on a deep recession like this).

Enter Ethanol.

Now another interesting bit is that locally in northwest FL, its only recently that they started adding the Ethanol with the "up to 10%" blend labeled, even a a few in Pensacola carrying E85. Once they made the switch (which seemed to be around the time that Obama took office), I refuse to put it in my vehicles because I have seen what it does to engines, and as I have a 91 truck with TBI, and a 04 Durango with 4.7L, these were not made for Ethanol in any way.

I find Ethanol (the way it is currently used and marketed) is a massive scam.
10% Ethanol = 20-30% lower gas mileage
10% Ethanol = 2-5% lower price at the pump per gallon

Doing the math:

Say the 10% Ethanol is at $2.00 a gallon versus regular non-ethanol is $2.05 per gallon, and you drive a vehicle getting 20mpg with non-ethanol (15 gallon tank, as an example).

15Gal @ 2.05 = $30.75
15Gal @ 2.00 = $30.00

20mpg x 15 Gal = 300 miles

Now using E10, lets say there is a 25% drop in mileage (15mpg), as 25% has been my experience when using Ethanol:

15mpg x 15Gal = 225 miles per tank

30.75 / 300 = $0.1025 per mile to drive NOT using Ethanol
30.00 / 225 = $0.1333 per mile to drive using E10

Now per year, average 15,000 miles:

$1,537.50 using regular
$1,999.50 using E10

$462 per year savings to NOT use Ethanol

Now look at this over 100,000 miles:

$13,330 = cost to use E10
$10,250 = cost to NOT use E10


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 4:53:05 PM , Rating: 2
Um, think hard about that. 10% ethanol causes a 20-30% decrease in gas mileage? So you’re saying that, as opposed to getting ANY power at all, ethanol actually makes the other 90 percent of the fuel (the gas) lose energy?

If ethanol created absolutely no power at all to move your car, a 10% ethanol blend would cause a 10% decrease in gas mileage.

Research varies from study to study, but it’s anywhere from 1% to 4%.

I didn’t read the rest of the post, but I assume it’s based on similar math to your initial statement.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Steve1981 on 2/11/2009 5:29:19 PM , Rating: 5
While I won't defend the 20-30% figure specifically, consider that an addition of 10% water to your gas mixture will cause an mpg drop of 100%.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 5:40:50 PM , Rating: 1
Is this forum really so emotionally biased against ethanol that the statement that 10% ethanol can decrease mileage by 30% is considered credible?


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Steve1981 on 2/11/2009 5:44:11 PM , Rating: 2
Like I said, I'm not interested in supporting specific figures, as I suspect it varies in practice.

In either case, your thought that it would not be possible for an additive to lower mileage by more than the percentage of its presence is obviously false in at least some cases.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 6:04:22 PM , Rating: 2
But contrary to those who say ethanol provides 80 percent, 75 percent, even 50 percent of the energy of gasoline, you are, in fact, saying that ethanol provides a negative energy balance.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Steve1981 on 2/11/2009 6:11:57 PM , Rating: 2
I'm saying that it isn't out of the realm of possibility that a substance, even ethanol, might provide a negative energy balance under the right circumstances.

Again, take pure gas versus a 90% gas/10% water mix. Do you suppose you'll get 90% of the mpgs of pure gas with the water blend?


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Keeir on 2/11/2009 6:25:30 PM , Rating: 4
In my opinion, you have oversimplified the process of adding Ethanol to Gasoline.

Its a little like saying a particular program will only slow down computers by X% amount.

In practice, the actual results vary considerably from installation to installation.

Ethanol is different than gasoline. The molecule is different. The heat of vaporization is different. The ideal combustion temperature and pressure are different. The combustion products are different. The soluability of materials in the liquids are different. The density is different. The viscosity is different. The surface tension is different. ETC ETC ETC ETC

Saying, Ethanol has 80% the energy of gasoline so burning it in a gasoline engine should produce 80% the energy of gasoline is naive.

Saying that it should do so in millions (100s of millions) of differently produced and maintainced engines designed across decades is downright foolish.

No one says that Ethanol itself is a negative energy balance. They are saying that when a E10 mixture is used in thier car's semi-unique engine, the overall efficieny of the process (fuel pump fill-up to fuel pump fill-up) decreases. The actual means of which are something that is not entirely certain for all individuals.

For all I (or you) know, Ethanol vapours may be able to more easily escape vapour barriers meant for gasoline alone. Or prolonged use of E10 fuels have degraded certain seals in the engine such that there is a barely noticable constant drip of fuel from the fuel system. Or something else that absolutely nothing to do with Ethanols energy content or E10 combustion process.

My car, a 2003 A4 with 4 cylinder Turbo has experienced a 14% reduction of fuel mpg when I moved from a state with no ethanol addition (or very little) to one where E10 (E8-12) is essential mandated. There are other potential factors involved, so I do not believe Ethanol is responsible for the entire 14% drop in Fuel Economy. However, my 5 years and 80,000 miles of data for this particular car indicate Ethanol has reduced my fuel mileage from 8-12% based different assumptions and continuations of certain linear trends. Yes, this is anecdotal evidence, but I rarely see anedcdotal evidence that suggests less than a 5% decrease in fuel efficiency. If I were to guess, I would think in a NEW E10/Gasoline Designed Engine under IDEAL load conditions E10 is only 2-3% less efficient than gasoline on a per liquid gallon unit measurement... unfortunely, the vast majority of cars of the road are not this.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Alexstarfire on 2/11/2009 7:35:42 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, he is wildly incorrect. After reading his first couple of sentences I just skipped over the rest of his post as he has little clue what he is talking about. Yes, a 90% gas 10% water mixture nets you 0 mpg since it doesn't ignite in the engine, but the same is not true for ethanol. While the engines for most, if not all new cars, are not built around this E10 mixture, most of them have the timing set for the mixture or have a variable timer so that it can fix itself when needed, like if you go between E10 and E0. Course, if you have a fixed timing for your engine then you'll get less MPG on the wrong mixture than a car that has variable timing, but that's really not the point.

I can say he is sorta right about the 20-30% less energy for ethanol, but it certainly isn't for E10. The figure he is quoting is E100 compared to gas. And this 15-20% less gas mileage he is talking about is E80 compared to regular gas, in other words a flex-fuel car compared to one that runs on 100% unleaded gas.

In reality E10 might lower your MPG by 5%, and the cost difference between E10 and regular gas can wildly vary and is probably impossible for anyone out the loop to calculate. I know that in Georgia you are forced to get E10 anywhere. Well, I should I actually say that you have the possibility on getting E10 everywhere as EVERY gas station in the state has this sticker that says "This product may contain up to 10% ethanol by volume."

Even at a 5% decrease in mileage the price difference would have to be greater than that to justify getting regular gas. If the price difference is not greater than that then getting the E10 is better bang for the buck.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Keeir on 2/11/2009 8:17:48 PM , Rating: 2
Huh... I think you totally missed my point Alexstarfire.

I have no idea is Screwball, the poster of the 20-30% drop is really experiencing such a drop from E10.

My data from my own car shows a 8-12% drop.

My point is that "logically" assuming that ALL gasoline autos on the road will burn E10 at 95% the efficieny of "E0" is very fuzzy logic. Having actually looked up the EPA reports from 2000, and 2006, E10 is expected to be 3-4% less efficient than MTPB "E0" (MTPB was the previous oxygenator for fuels to lower smog) and MTPB "E0" is 2%-3% less efficient than straight gasoline we already end up with a number than is as large or larger than "5%" which is based on EPA testing... you know those people who every was upset at for not posting accurate MPGs for cars?


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Alexstarfire on 2/11/2009 8:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I wasn't talking about you at all, but ok. Yes, actual numbers will vary, but that is going to be attributed to far more than just the variances in that particular batch of ethanol. The whole point of picking a number is to do calculations. While you could do calculations for the low and high values in the end it's not going to matter until one does calculations based off their own data, which is why we use the average value for calculations. My own personal experience shows that E10 gets far worse MPG for my car than it does for many other cars, I drive a Prius BTW. So in my case that % difference is going to be bigger, but it really doesn't matter since I can't buy non-E10 fuel anyways.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Steve1981 on 2/11/2009 9:34:56 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes, actual numbers will vary


I believe that's all I was saying as evidenced by...

quote:
I'm not interested in supporting specific figures, as I suspect it varies in practice.


quote:
I'm saying that it isn't out of the realm of possibility that a substance, even ethanol, might provide a negative energy balance under the right circumstances.


Also, I'm not sure why it offends you that I used water as an example of an additive that wouldn't work so well. The only point I was trying to make is if you use an additive that your car isn't designed to play with, its going to have an effect, probably bad.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Screwballl on 2/11/2009 10:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
20-30% figure is real world cars and trucks on the road today... not some flexfuel 2009 models...

Example:

1991 Suburban with 454 V8, Throttle body injection:
normal city mpg = 12 mpg
city mpg using E10 = 9 mpg (thats over 25%)

2004 Dodge Durango with 4.7L V8, EFI:
normal city mileage = 16-17 mpg
E10 mileage = 13.6 mpg (thats 20-25%)

1991 Chevy Lumina 3.1L V6, EFI:
normal city = 22mpg
E10 mileage = 18mpg (almost 30% drop)

2001 Nissan Pathfinder 3.5L V6, EFI:
normal city = 17 mpg
E10 in city = 14 mpg

1995 Nissan Pathfinder, 3.1L V6, TBI:
normal = 16 mpg
E10 = 13 mpg

2001 Nissan Frontier, 3.1L V6, EFI:
normal = 16mpg
E10 = 13mpg

1998 Mercury Grand Marquis, V8, EFI:
normal = 21 mpg
E10 = 17 mpg

Any of the deniers claiming 1-4% want me to go on? These are all documented vehicles within my immediate or extended family who always keeps track of their mileage. There are other family members that say they notice a drop but have not documented it with their vehicles.

Since northwest FL recently switched from NO ethanol to E10 at some stations, it is easy to compare the results.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Alexstarfire on 2/12/2009 12:06:16 AM , Rating: 2
That doesn't mean anything. There are a lot of factors involved in your MPG, and your driving habits are by far the biggest. These 5% figures we give are based on actual scientific testing. You know, set conditions. I'm not saying your figures are wrong, but without constant conditions you can't say that the entire difference is because of the ethanol.

And your math is quite faulty. I'd like to know how 4/22 is near 30%, it's clearly well below 25%.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By mindless1 on 2/14/2009 8:30:56 PM , Rating: 2
The question is not one of whether ethanol is different than gas, it is whether the engine was designed to use a blend. Modern computer-controlled engines can adjust fairly well.

Your decrease in mileage when you moved is no proof for a couple of reasons. 1) Different location means different driving environment. 2) Car is now older, other maintenance items may need done to regain some efficiency.

Certainly that does not mean it would be expected to get the same mileage with a blend, but 14% loss is not at all typical for cars made in the last 10 years.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By MrBungle123 on 2/12/2009 11:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Um, think hard about that. 10% ethanol causes a 20-30% decrease in gas mileage? So you’re saying that, as opposed to getting ANY power at all, ethanol actually makes the other 90 percent of the fuel (the gas) lose energy?


Yes.

These numbers are from:
http://bioenergy.ornl.gov/papers/misc/energy_conv....

1Gal of Gasoline = 115,000 Btu
1Gal of Ethanol = 84,000 Btu

That means that a gallon of ethanol only has 73% of the energy that a gallon of gasoline does.

It also does not lubricate as well as gasoline, so when you run it through an engine you lose power because the fuel doesn't have as much energy in it, and it also decreases the lubricating effect of the fuel in the cylinders causing more power loss to friction.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/12/2009 11:42:43 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, for PURE ethanol. That does not mean you lose much that with a 10% blend. Your statistics support what I am saying. Thank you.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By afkrotch on 2/12/2009 1:13:29 PM , Rating: 2
It's a blend. Chemical compositions can change drastically. I'm not saying they do, but it's possible.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/12/2009 12:26:51 PM , Rating: 2
This is from a study released in October from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (sponsor of the Web site you just referenced):

“All 13 vehicles exhibited a loss in fuel economy commensurate with the energy density of the fuel. With E20, the average reduction in fuel economy (i.e., the reduction in miles per gallon) was 7.7 percent compared to E0.

“Limited evaluations of fuel with as much as 30% ethanol were conducted, and the reduction in miles per gallon continued as a linear trend with increasing ethanol content.”

There you go: 7.7% for 20% ethanol, part of a linear trend that goes down as ethanol levels increase. It has a nice little table and graphic in the report: http://feerc.ornl.gov/publications/Int_blends_Rpt_...


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Keeir on 2/12/2009 1:08:18 PM , Rating: 2
Some highlights from your link

"Nominal testing temperature for all laboratories was 75°F per Code of Federal Regulations (CFR)
requirements."

"Emissions
were determined using the LA92 drive cycle, also known as the unified cycle.*"

That test only shows that in 75 degree conditions in a labratory running one particular driving cycle the changes in loss efficiency.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/12/2009 2:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yes they had a consistent temperature, because you need to control the rest of the variables to figure out exactly what the ethanol alone does to mileage, emissions, etc. Show me ONE study that shows mpg on 10% ethanol lose above 10%. Not even an average, just one car. I’m talking about a study, not your anecdotal references. If you link me to a study, I’ll quit harping about mpg.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Keeir on 2/12/2009 4:48:31 PM , Rating: 2
There is a big difference

I am not saying that your car and your driving habits lead to ~10% drop is fuel economy.

But you are telling me how my car should perform when you have no access to the data

I challenge you to find me a PUMP TO PUMP study of E10 that is not sponsed by the Ethanol Industy

Hell, this is my favorite line

"A 2005 study by the American Coalition for Ethanol, a Sioux Falls, S.D., group that represents the ethanol industry, found that on average, most vehicles lose 1 1/2 percent of their gas mileage when using E10 fuel. In that study, a 2005 Ford Taurus drove at 24.81 miles per gallon with regular unleaded. With 10 percent ethanol, the car’s efficiency dipped to 23.85."

::blink:: 24.81 --> 23.85 is 3.9% loss of efficiency... not 1.5%?!? Thats a completely new 2005 Taurus that should have been designed with E10 in mind...

But here we go

http://www.sae.org/technical/papers/960855

Only the Abstract, and only for Autos older than 1996, and For RFP fuels at the Time (E5.7 was one). Quick Summery: Although on Average Fuel Economy difference was 2-3% for the range of fuels, some Autos experienced significant reductions up to 16% (E5.7 so E10 may produce even worse)


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/12/2009 5:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
I don’t know if that one was sponsored by ethanol industry. I was just quoting the source used in the comment I was responding to: Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Department of Energy research institution. Here’s another one, though I’m sure there are more:

“Fleet average fuel consumption increased by 1.4% when ethanol content was increased from the zero to the high level.” University of California – Riverside

http://www.arb.ca.gov/fuels/gasoline/carfg3/crc_e6...

I will give you credit for surprising me. I’ll continue to respond there’s no study available and it doesn’t say if those figures are for ethanol, MTBE or ETBE. However, I’m almost humbled.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Keeir on 2/12/2009 6:13:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I’ll continue to respond there’s no study available for free


I looked through your study. And I say again, the study is testing IDEAL situations. They clearly state they replaced several key parts on the cars being tested, and the testing methodolgy is labatory based on do not include important elements such as what happens when your car sits for 4 days unused.

I am not ALL cars perform poorly with Ethanol (E10). I am not saying SOME cars don't perform better with Ethanol.

I am saying that studies based on the cherry-picked and conditioned vechiles that involve only the combustion process is not a reason to dismiss anecdotal evidence, that is after all conducted with very different parameters.

Your fervent support and instances that Ethanol must be perfect for all car engines in all conditions is rather surprizing.

Find me a Study where some -REAL- world testing was included. Including significant variation in temperature and length of time in gas tank.

I will point to the experience other transportation has had with Ethanol as examples of what can go wrong in the real world versus the labatory:

"Reasons Boat Engines Have More Problems with Ethanol Gas:

Boaters, often store gas in tanks longer than recommended for E10 (90 days).
Cars, unlike boats, usually replace fuel every week or two, which will successfully prevent the possibility of water-contamination/phase separation.

Boat engines live in a water environment - Alcohol gas loves to absorb water.
Ethanol E10 gas can absorb large amounts of water into the fuel tank, MTBE in conventional gasoline did not."

Niether of these two conditions (decrease of effectivity with age AND possible water contamination) would be caught in either of the studies you have posted, yet both could be causes of differences between real world application and labatory results.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By gstrickler on 2/13/2009 1:46:04 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Show me ONE study that shows mpg on 10% ethanol lose above 10%. Not even an average, just one car. I’m talking about a study, not your anecdotal references. If you link me to a study, I’ll quit harping about mpg.
So he give the link to the UWM study on the SAE.org web site, which studied:
quote:
The objectives of the UWM RFG study were to investigate the possibility of excessive fuel economy reduction anecdotes by measuring the fuel economy of various vehicles, using different RFG types and grades and comparing the RFG varieties containing methyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (MTBE), ethyl-tertiary-butyl-ether (ETBE) and ethanol (EtOH) against conventional gasoline.
and concludes:
quote:
The lower 5 and 10 percentiles of the distribution exhibiting the most severe fuel economy reduction showed excessive fuel economy reduction up to 16% and 14% , respectively. The distribution substantiated that a portion of the anecdotal fuel economy complaints may be valid .
Yet in your response, you state:
quote:
I’ll continue to respond there’s no study available ....
So, you're telling us that you lied in your previous post? Apparently, you are unwilling to acknowledge any facts that disagree with your position, that's not science, it's religion.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/13/2009 3:16:57 PM , Rating: 2
it doesn’t say if those figures are for ethanol, MTBE or ETBE.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By gstrickler on 2/13/2009 6:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
Did you buy and read the paper? I didn't but the last paragraph of the summary states:
quote:
Consistent excessive fuel economy reduction or gain correlations were not found between the various driving cycles, vehicle control technology, and RFG blends.
Translation, they all exhibited "excessive fuel economy reduction" in different test vehicles and/or different test conditions.

That would be expected, since ethanol has notably higher octane, thus higher compression engines would be better able to extract the energy under various conditions. Humidity could also affect some system since the ethanol will absorb moisture and that will decrease it's power output. An engine optimized for one type of fuel is not going to work as well with a different kind or with a blend.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Hoser McMoose on 2/11/2009 8:51:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
- lower energy per volume (MPG) – True: you lose 1-4 percent on mpg with 10 percent blend

In an ideal situation you would be expected to lose only 3%. However the ECU and fuel injection units are highly tuned and designed with a fairly specific fuel in mind, so skewing the fuel mixture can have some unpredictable effects that could result in significantly higher loses. Newer vehicles should be less prone to this than vehicles from the 90's or early 2000's.

quote:
Plus, it’s not renewable. Supply can go nowhere but down. And ethanol is getting cheaper to make every year.

Ethanol from corn is also not a renewable fuel either. It is HEAVILY dependent on fossil fuels (particularly natural gas). Without fossil fuels it could not be produced in anything remotely resembling what it is now. As for price the main thing driving price down is government subsidies. We MASTERED turning corn into ethanol 200 years ago, all improvements being made now are small incremental steps.

quote:
- cross-impact on food costs – False:

Corn is in darn near EVERYTHING. From meat to Coke to cereal to burger buns. It's a HUGE food crop. Anything that boost the price of corn will most definitely impact food costs, it's just a question of how much.

quote:
False: Ethanol burning itself is carbon-neutral, since the carbon it burns is equal to the carbon absorbed by a corn plant.

There is substation greenhouse gas emissions from the fertilizer used, from the industrial vehicles used to plant, spray and harvest the corn. Then there are more emissions in the distilling process and more for transportation. Exactly where the breakeven point is debatable. Most studies that show that corn for ethanol generates more greenhouse gas emissions that gasoline take into account that the land has to be cleared of grasslands or forests first, a significant difference than just looking at the crop on it's own. Whether that assumption is correct or not is debatable, though if it's not cleared than you're taking away food crop land and therefore driving up food prices much more.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/12/2009 9:27:27 AM , Rating: 2
You didn’t quote my whole post.

“There’s a nickle’s worth of corn in a box of corn flakes.”

So yes, rising corn prices affect food prices. If corn goes up 20 percent, that box of corn flakes goes up a penny. I’m saying the vast majority of the recent price increases is due to “advertising and marketing, packaging, transportation, etc.”


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Danger D on 2/12/2009 3:01:37 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is substation greenhouse gas emissions from the fertilizer used, from the industrial vehicles used to plant, spray and harvest the corn.


Yes, that's what I said:

"The carbon released from making ethanol from corn is what adds emissions."

Planting, harvest, transport, production is what adds carbon. The report I referenced takes those into consideration.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By excrucio on 2/11/2009 8:04:19 PM , Rating: 2
if this the US could make sugar cane, it would be way cheaper than gasoline.

In brazil when the liter of gasoline is R$2 the ethanol is $1.25, just an example.

But in the US we must use different types of food, so yes it will impact food.

Also, ethanol with cold doesn't go together. your car wont start


RE: No More Ethanol!
By Keeir on 2/11/2009 8:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe, Maybe Not

Your example has Ethanol at approx 2.15 cents USD per US Gallon as of Today.

Given the lower energy content and mileage of Ethanol this makes that Ethanol more expensive than the ~2.05 USD per US Gallon of gasoline. With unknown differences in taxes and subsidies...


RE: No More Ethanol!
By rbfowler9lfc on 2/11/2009 10:52:03 PM , Rating: 3
Do NOT do this. We Brazilian have lived 20+ yrs with this gas mixture and you know what, it SUCKS. It SUCKS because you get worse mileage than everyone else. It SUCKS because ECUs must be recalibrated, so you can't exchange parts with "proper" models from Europe/USA. Not to mention that with it, gas prices aren't anymore solely dictated by the OPEC countries, but ALSO by the mood of the farmers.

Would you like to pay full-price on a gallon of 80% petrol, but yet it still costs the same?

Thanks, but no thanks.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By ira176 on 2/12/2009 1:40:37 AM , Rating: 2
I have to agree with you TomZ. I live in Upstate NY, and many of the gasoline stations started blending ethanol into their gasoline. The funny thing was, was that last summer, I started noticing that I was getting poorer mileage per tank. I couldn't figure it out, until one day, I saw a small (kinda like the fine print in t.v. ads) sign with small print at one of the local pumps which said, "may contain 10% ethanol". Then it all started clicking. I would rather have the normal non-ethanol fuel. I suppose I wouldn't be against stations offering E85 along side of regular gasoline, that would at least give consumers a choice.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By jmurbank on 2/12/2009 2:54:16 AM , Rating: 2
My flex fuel car can handle Ethanol just fine. It actually does better. Some cars may have problems with a higher octane than usual conditions. These cars may need to upgrade their cooling system for the engine or a modification of the computer. The latest cars does better with Ethanol (I think).

The higher cost of Ethanol comes from transporting it. If it can be made locally, the price of it comes down.

Ethanol can be produce from other forms of crops and organisms. Yard waste can make Ethanol too.

Ethanol does not increase CO2. Actually it increases a different molecule. I think nitrate or nitrite which can be absorbed by the catalyst and then converted into heat.

The only problem when using Ethanol is in cold climates.


RE: No More Ethanol!
By mmcdonalataocdotgov on 2/12/2009 12:00:33 PM , Rating: 2
The point was never that it be better than gasoline, but that it is better than giving all our money to foreign oil producing countries - most of whom have atrocious human rights records. The primary advantage of ethanol has always been as an alternative to dependence on foreign oil. An appreciable percentage of that money ends up in the hands of terrorist organizations as well.

If we can cut a greater portion of our oil dependence by cutting demand 20%, we can get rid of foreign oil dependence. We can also drive down the cost of oil on the demand side, and give the oil producers less American currency. They hate us* (most OPEC nations - including Russia, Venezuela, and middle-East countries) so why should we finance their prosperity.

We GET that it is not an optimum solution as far as an energy carrier.

*"us" is US and Europe.


It's all about the money
By Smokey48 on 2/11/2009 2:10:13 PM , Rating: 5
In the October 2006 Consumer Reports cover story on ethanol, titled "The Ethanol Myth", it was pointed out that it takes 1 1/2 gallons of ethanol to push a car the same distance as one gallon of gasoline.

That means there are 150% more emissions going out the tailpipe and into the atmosphere for every mile driven using ethanol, compared to using gasoline.

It was also reported that the production of every gallon of ethanol requires the burning of .7 gallons of fossil fuel, and 1,400 gallons of fresh water.

Replacing gasoline with ethanol is almost as totally stupid as the preposterously wacked-out proposal to burn huge amounts of fossil fuel in order to collect, separate, compress and liquify beneficial carbon dioxide, and "sequester" it underground. Insanity like this is commonplace when environmentalists [as opposed to conservationists] get the chance to run our economy into the ground. Giving political power to environmentalists is as irresponsible as giving guns to monkeys.

Ethanol is not about being "green" [whatever that means]. Ethanol is all about money, and how ethanol producing companies like Archer Daniels Midland can buy legislators, and get laws passed requiring its use.




RE: It's all about the money
By clovell on 2/11/2009 3:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
Great point. Y'know it'd be nice to have the ethanol content of a station's gasoline clearly listed on the signs that are visible from the road. I think that should be a law.

I mean, let's face it, once we pull into a station and are ready to swipe our credit card, it's kind of a pain in the ass then to realize that the fuel is 10% ethanol and decide to go to another station.

What I'm saying is that if it's so great - let the market decide - and don't think that stops at just subsidies.


RE: It's all about the money
By TomZ on 2/11/2009 5:05:21 PM , Rating: 3
Unfortunately, here in Michigan we have no choice - all gas stations sell only 10% ethanol gas. I'd be a lot happier if there was a choice available, at two different price points. That way people could decide what they want to use based on their view of the merits of the debate pro/con.

As it stands today, politicians supported by lobbyists have made the decision for us. That's un-American.


RE: It's all about the money
By Proxes on 2/11/2009 5:39:12 PM , Rating: 2
I live in the KC area and all stations in MO are E10 and QT in KS. Having a GTP I make sure that I never go to an E10 station unless I absolutely have no choice, and even then I just put enough gas in to get home. The BP close to my home isn't open all night.

No one seems to be pointing out how E10 can potentially lower the octane rating of gas.


RE: It's all about the money
By Danger D on 2/12/2009 9:35:06 AM , Rating: 2
Ethanol’s an oxygenate. It increases the octane. That’s why it was pegged as the replacement to MBTEs. Ethanol’s like a 113 octane. E10 is about 89. Regular gas is 87.


RE: It's all about the money
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 3:15:20 PM , Rating: 2
Studies have consistently shown a 1-4 percent loss in mpg with 10 percent ethanol blends.

UNL study a couple weeks ago showed 51 percent average GHG reduction from using ethanol.

Ethanol companies are not raking in the money, I think we all know. Exxon, however did set the all-time U.S. record for earnings last year. Let's try to keep things in perspective a little.


RE: It's all about the money
By TomZ on 2/11/2009 5:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Ethanol companies are not raking in the money
That's an outright lie, and you know it. These companies are counting on the federal government to create a market for ethanol that would otherwise not exist. And obviously USDA and big agbusinesses push for it to stay the same or be expanded.

The result is, for the consumer, that we are (a) forced to buy ethanol which is a fuel far inferior to what it is replacing, and (b) force to pay for it three time - first at the pumps, second through tax subsidies, and third through higher food prices due to the demand for corn. It's insane.


RE: It's all about the money
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 5:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
Look up bankruptcy and ethanol and see what you get.


RE: It's all about the money
By Steve1981 on 2/11/2009 5:31:16 PM , Rating: 2
I looked up and saw...

quote:
In an effort to create the blend itself, Valero Energy offered a bid of $280 million for five ethanol plants that are operated by VeraSun, which recently filed for bankruptcy protection.


RE: It's all about the money
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 5:46:38 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. Less than half of what they cost to build.


RE: It's all about the money
By Steve1981 on 2/11/2009 5:50:35 PM , Rating: 2
And that shows me??? That an ethanol plant is a depreciating asset?


RE: It's all about the money
By Steve1981 on 2/11/2009 7:35:50 PM , Rating: 2
Ehh, n/m, I noticed what you were saying a little after the fact.


RE: It's all about the money
By Danger D on 2/11/2009 5:32:38 PM , Rating: 1
Corn’s limitations are blown way out of proportion by the media. It’s a viable alternative to gasoline, and without it we will never get cellulosic ethanol. Asking ethanol to compete with gas (which gets plenty of help itself) to break into a market where the entire infrastructure has been designed specifically for gas for decades is unrealistic. It is unrealistic for any alternative to gasoline, be it corn ethanol, cellulosic ethanol or something not yet discovered.

Tax breaks for ethanol give it a nudge to where it can gain a foothold someday. When, I don’t know. If the country was set up with E85 cars and ethanol had access to that much of the market, then they’d be on more equal footing.


RE: It's all about the money
By TSS on 2/11/2009 3:19:51 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Ethanol is not about being "green" [whatever that means]. Ethanol is all about money,


you just showed you do know what "beeing green" means.


Stupid People Live in the Masses
By Machinegear on 2/11/09, Rating: 0
By strikeback03 on 2/11/2009 3:10:05 PM , Rating: 1
Face it - if/when Corn Ethanol becomes a substitute for oil, there will most likely be wars fought over it too. Countries which can grow corn will threaten to cut off supplies to those who can't, etc. Anything worth money will have people fighting over it.


RE: Stupid People Live in the Masses
By Smokey48 on 2/11/2009 3:10:41 PM , Rating: 2
You're conflating two different issues. The U.S. Navy controls the sea lanes in order to represent the interests of America, not just to escort oil tankers, which they almost never do anyway. If there were zero middle east oil, the Navy would still be necessary.

Look at it this way: under U.S. jurisdiction there is more oil than in all of Saudi Arabia. The recently discovered Bakken field alone has almost the same amount of oil as the Saudis.

In addition, the outer continental shelf is largely unexplored and certainly contains substantial reserves. And one very small 3.13 square mile field in Alaska [ANWR] has proven reserves of over 10 billion barrels of easily recoverable oil. And Alaskan reserves are largely unexplored.

But Congress -- a wholly-owned subsidiary of the anti-worker, anti-taxpayer environmental lobby -- refuses to allow this oil to be found, or produced for use by American citizens.

Finally, you say that "regular gas is not cheap." I say it is. So who's right? Let's do a little thought experiment and find out:

1. Get in your car, put it in neutral, and turn off the engine.

2. Get out, and push your car about twenty miles down the road.

3. Now tell us that $2 for a gallon of gas isn't cheap.


By Danger D on 2/11/2009 3:17:15 PM , Rating: 1
Our interests there are oil. Get real.


RE: Stupid People Live in the Masses
By Machinegear on 2/11/2009 4:31:23 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
The U.S. Navy controls the sea lanes in order to represent the interests of America, not just to escort oil tankers


You admit to my point that there is a military cost to bringing foreign oil to our local market. The cost of building and manning those billion dollar war ships are not reflected in the PRICE of a gallon of gas, but are apart of the COST of a gallon of gas. The taxpayer subsidizes this cost keeping the price of gas relatively 'cheap' to the consumer.

quote:
Finally, you say that "regular gas is not cheap." I say it is.


Once you understand the difference between the COST to produce something verses the PRICE it ends up being sold for you will be a better man.

Gas is VERY costly. However, the price of gas is less than Ethanol thanks to the taxpayer in this country. To compare the two's value based solely on the price at the pump is not a fair comparison.

My argument is that Ethanol while priced higher per mile driven than gasoline is a 'cheaper' energy solution being it is produced here without the need for excessive military expenditures oversees.


RE: Stupid People Live in the Masses
By diggernash on 2/11/2009 7:38:08 PM , Rating: 2
When every drop of domestic oil is gone, then debate on your points will have meaning. Until then, it might be more interesting to uncover why exactly we do not want to make use of our domestic oil. I would suggest that the reasons have little to do with the enviromaniacs; although they have provided great cover.


By Machinegear on 2/12/2009 9:29:30 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
When every drop of domestic oil is gone, then debate on your points will have meaning.


Our current production is less than half of what we consume. Further local production is near impossible due to politics. While we may have local oil as a resource, for all practial purposes it can be viewed as 'gone'.

quote:
it might be more interesting to uncover why exactly we do not want to make use of our domestic oil.


Power. Money. Greed. These are many times the greatest motivating factors.

quote:
I would suggest that the reasons have little to do with the enviromaniacs; although they have provided great cover.


I agree. Useful idiots for sure.


RE: Stupid People Live in the Masses
By meepstone on 2/11/2009 4:39:13 PM , Rating: 2
Why would we need a strong military to maintain the flow of oil? you just compared two things that don't relate. im guessing you got this idea from the war on iraq. when last i checked iraq was like #7 on the list of countries we get oil from. (keeping in mind #1 is the country that supplies us with the most oil and the rest follow in descending order.)


RE: Stupid People Live in the Masses
By LumbergTech on 2/11/2009 8:45:17 PM , Rating: 2
Iraq has one of the largest proven oil reserves


By Hoser McMoose on 2/11/2009 9:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yup. The reason why Iraq is somewhat down on the list of oil suppliers to the U.S. relative to their oil reserves is two-fold:

1. Geography. It's simply easier (cheaper) to pipe oil from Canada and Mexico to the U.S. than it is to ship it from Iraq.

2. Their oil production facilities were a MESS and only slowly being rebuilt. Give it another 10 years of political stability (if possible) and Iraq should be producing more oil.


By Machinegear on 2/12/2009 9:44:57 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Why would we need a strong military to maintain the flow of oil?


Because it allows the US to keep the price of oil pegged to the US Dollar. Without a strong military, what would stop OPEC from pegging the price of oil to the British Pound or the European Euro? You know what repegging oil to a different currency would do to the price of a gallon of gas in the US? Because of our weak dollar vs. these foreign currencies a gallon of gas would double. Locally produced Ethanol would look pretty cheap then wouldn't it?

quote:
when last i checked iraq was like #7 on the list of countries we get oil from.


The US had Iraq in a military and economic box for a decade. They were ZERO threat to the US...UNTIL Iraq tried to sell their oil in Euro's and not US Dollars (repegging their oil). That is when Bush went to war. The powers in the US knew that this Iraqi rebellion against the US Dollar had to be crushed otherwise our entire economy would go under due to the increased energy costs.


Of course.
By 67STANG on 2/11/2009 1:35:43 PM , Rating: 5
Keep those corn prices high right? I'd love for my engine to get less lubrication and worse gas mileage.

Where do I sign up?




RE: Of course.
By steven975 on 2/11/2009 2:29:16 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the cost of accelerated corrosion.

Most cars are certified for up to 10% ethanol. GM cars do E85, but that was just to dance around CAFE standards as an E85 capable car only was weighted at 15%.

The BP near my work is ethanol free and I go there for my gas. My S2000 prefers the ethanol free stuff. Mileage is about 3mpg more.


RE: Of course.
By steven975 on 2/11/2009 2:34:55 PM , Rating: 2
Don't forget the cost of accelerated corrosion.

Most cars are certified for up to 10% ethanol. GM cars do E85, but that was just to dance around CAFE standards as an E85 capable car only was weighted at 15%.

The BP near my work is ethanol free and I go there for my gas. My S2000 prefers the ethanol free stuff. Mileage is about 3mpg more.


RE: Of course.
By gstrickler on 2/11/2009 3:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
Agreed.

In fact, we would be better off going back to 15% MTBE than using E10. Not only do you get better mileage, you're also using less gasoline (85%/gal vs. 90%/gal). Using ethanol rather than MTBE actually increases demand for foreign oil. MBTE isn't great, I would certainly prefer a suitable replacement, but corn based ethanol is NOT it.


Consumer urges USDA to suck his balls
By middlehead on 2/11/2009 1:39:20 PM , Rating: 5
Film at 11.




By Tsunami982 on 2/11/2009 3:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
I wish I could give this man a 6.


Stupid ethanol
By Jimbo1234 on 2/11/2009 1:50:28 PM , Rating: 2
Won't they ever learn? The goddamn corn industry has been subsidized for ages, and they keep crying because the prices are never high enough - greedy bastards.

BTW, I live in WI, so I really should be supporting this, but c'mon, it's just plain propaganda.




RE: Stupid ethanol
By Crucial on 2/11/2009 1:56:21 PM , Rating: 2
I don't care where you live no one should be supporting this. I live in WI too btw.


Vilsuck Typo
By Machinegear on 2/11/2009 2:06:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
said Tom Vilsack, former Iowa mayor...


Vilsuck's last post was Iowa governor, not mayor. Though, he was a mayor long ago.




RE: Vilsuck Typo
By Suomynona on 2/11/2009 2:36:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think he was ever mayor of Iowa...


Learn about corn production
By utaka95 on 2/11/2009 6:28:23 PM , Rating: 1
I think you all need to see "King Corn", a documentary about corn growers/growing in the USA. The majority of corn grown in this country is INEDIBLE to humans, and the amount of production per acre is absolutely astounding. I don't want it in my gas tank either, but some of your reasoning is a little bit flawed.




RE: Learn about corn production
By Machinegear on 2/12/2009 1:59:55 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
and the amount of production per acre is absolutely astounding


Very much so. Many of these posters are highly uneducated on the topic and just reprocess what has been already said in popular media. The volume (and type) of corn crops harvested is beyond imagine and indigestible (much like the stimulus bill). If people would simply look at a map and understand that the state of Iowa is basically one large corn field, they would get a better picture of the economies of scale going on and realize processing some corn into Ethanol does very little, if anything, to the larger production picture.


By Crucial on 2/11/2009 1:54:28 PM , Rating: 2
What is the purpose of this post? The title and the content of the post don't really match and there is no link to some kind of press release about this. Was this all made up crap or is it coming from some kind of legit source?

Which is it? Is the EPA looking to raise limits or is the USDA doing it? Your title says one thing and the article says another?




Apparently...
By cscpianoman on 2/11/2009 2:00:34 PM , Rating: 2
the farmer's aren't getting paid enough. Bailout the farmers!!!!

It seems everyone is getting one except me:\




Ethanol
By Gildford on 2/11/2009 2:16:26 PM , Rating: 2
Vilsack is a Richard Cranium. Continuing to subsidize Corn Ethanol is "Welfare for Big Agribusinss and Corn Farmers". I realize the legislators from teh corn states need money for re-election but this is getting out of hand. What a crock of bull s'''. Doesn't anyone is Wash listen to the public??? Time for hemp and a tree!




Call This What It Is!
By Verran on 2/11/2009 2:36:01 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Current ethanol-to-gasoline blends are currently set at 10 percent, but ethanol groups have long urged for the number to be raised to 15 or 20 percent, saying it will help the U.S. ethanol industry grow during a time when producers face declining margins and an extremely competitive market .

It's another bailout. That's all it is. More subsidies for a market that doesn't work.

It doesn't benefit the consumer and it doesn't benefit the environment. It's struggling with good reason. Don't bail it out.




burn food eat oil
By wb on 2/11/2009 4:41:14 PM , Rating: 2
stupid.. but that politications for you
y not compressed gas,,, which we have lots
y not increase domestic oil production... we have lots
all this would give some killer jobs..
might be just a short term solution.. but most bang for the buck.. but politicians dont care , they hide their money and spend all of ours




burn food eat oil
By wb on 2/11/2009 4:41:16 PM , Rating: 2
stupid.. but that politications for you
y not compressed gas,,, which we have lots
y not increase domestic oil production... we have lots
all this would give some killer jobs..
might be just a short term solution.. but most bang for the buck.. but politicians dont care , they hide their money and spend all of ours




Well, as much as I hate to say it...
By Zshazz on 2/11/2009 6:41:32 PM , Rating: 2
... corn is starting to become the least of our monetary problems at the gas pump...

If you're concerned about corn raising the overall price you pay for fuel, you're in for a gigantic "SURPRISE BUTTSECKZ!" ... they're trying to pass laws that tax you per mile driven in states. Here in NC, they're pushing it really hard.

Basically, they plan to tax somewhere around $0.15 a mile... for a normal 300 mile tank of gas, that'd be about $45 of tax. And the thing that really sucks is there's no escaping it... hybrids driving the same # of miles will get the same amount of tax, and if we switch to hydrogen, it'll be taxed the same, and if you had a car with unlimited fuel (such as a nuclear car... not unlimited, but close enough anyway) you'd be taxed the same.

Actually they're planning on taxing hybrids MORE per mile. What a backward policy that is... "Oh yeah, get hybrid cars because it's better for the environment, and it'll save you money... UNTIL WE TAX IT AWAY FROM YOU, MUAHAHAHAHA!!!"




There is a positive
By goku on 2/11/2009 7:18:21 PM , Rating: 2
Hopefully these blends will result in higher octane fuels being available at the pump. For those who have tuned their engine to run at the higher octane fuels, this can be seen as a good thing as ethanol runs much cleaner which means your engine will run longer and works better with higher performance engines that are tuned to take advantage of the higher octane fuel. It should be noted though that in a car's default configuration, not tuned to take advantage of the ethanol, it's a detriment especially for those cars that have seals that don't like ethanol.




Corrosion?
By Hyraxxx on 2/15/2009 3:05:24 PM , Rating: 2
The governmet is going to pay to replace my seals that get corroded by the increase in ethanol?




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