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Will ethanol E85 catch on in the US? Will we Live Green and Go Yellow?

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Comments

  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Again, diesel sales comprise less than 3% of the total car market.

    You are trying to claim a mandate for a candidate who was clearly defeated in a landslide election. The consumers cast their vote with their money, and the diesel didn't get a lot of votes.

    Focusing on the 3% while ignoring the 97% is just wishful thinking by someone who views this as a religion, not just a technology. Even if diesel demand tripled to reach a level of less than 9%, you think that the other 91% doesn't mean anything?
  • I'm not reading this thread at all...but I saw some misinformation.

    E85 in MN is cheaper than unleaded.
    E85 last weekend in Mpls. suburbs was 2.35, unleaded was 2.89. That's not from a website, that's from my eyeballs.
  • heel2toeheel2toe Posts: 149
    Did you even bother to read my post? Have you actually read anything about the USLD phase-in later this year and the resulting change in EPA regulations? You do realize that no manufacturer was going to invest to not be able to sell in the CARB states? The only big unknown I see is how hard and expensive the NOx emissions equipment will be to produce. Honda has already stated that they can accomplish this...so I'd be pretty confident.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see diesel penetration reach European levels over a decade or so. Half the cars sold there are diesels, and the petrol half are almost entirely 2.0L and smaller engines, mostly mated to manual transmissions. Americans, in general, don't like those cars much.

    I am hardly religious about diesel tetechnology... My wife and I drove a Jetta TDI on a lark and it is an amazing vehicle.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I wouldn't be surprised to see diesel penetration reach European levels over a decade or so. Half the cars sold there are diesels, and the petrol half are almost entirely 2.0L and smaller engines, mostly mated to manual transmissions.

    Yes, and as I have pointed out, the primary reason for this is because diesel is substantially cheaper than is gasoline, because fuel taxes on gas are set at higher rates to deliberately encourage the use of diesel and public transit. According to the EIA, as of late May 2006, average pump prices were as follows:

    Fuel prices ($US per gallon, incl. tax)
    Nation: Belgium/ France/ Germany/ Italy/ Netherlands/ U.K./ U.S.
    Gas: 6.33 / 6.18 / 6.30 / 6.45 / 7.07 / 6.71 / 3.07
    Diesel: 5.02 / 5.29 / 5.27 / 5.77 / 5.30 / 6.88 / 2.88

    You can see that with the exception of the UK, where the prices are about the same (and high in both cases), diesel is often $1 per gallon less, with a difference of about $1.80 per gallon in the Netherlands.

    If the US had similar tax policies to specifically discourage gas use and to choose alternatives, we could potentially similar results for diesel, biodiesel, E85, etc. But for now, diesel is roughly the same price, so there is no incentive to change.

    You have to consider the drivers of demand if you are going to create solutions that have a chance of succeeding. If you can't increase the demand for diesel in a meaningful way, then you can't look to diesel as a solution. None of this will matter if people won't use it, and there are no policy changes on the horizon that lead me to believe that demand will increase substantially.

    EIA: diesel prices
    EIA: gas prices
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > They had a tough sell at $20,000 a pop.

    That is absolutely not true!

    There were horribly long waiting lists, as long as 6 months for awhile.

    It's a good thing the blogs & newspapers document what actually happened, which is quite different from your claim.

    JOHN
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Maybe in the Midwest. There was never a rush to buy the Classic Prius in CA. Not until the Prius II came on the market was there waiting lists in CA the largest hybrid market by far. Not everyone agrees with you on hybrid sales. So when is Toyota going to offer the hybrids as FFVs?

    Hybrid sales are cooling off in the US despite high gasoline prices, mostly because the fuel-saving vehicles are still too expensive, analysts say. "Most people who wanted (a hybrid) already have one," said Jesse Toprak, an analyst for Edmunds.com. "They bought one not to save money necessarily, but to make a statement. But that market is not unlimited.

    Hybrid sales
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > There was never a rush to buy the Classic Prius in CA.

    Your attempt to rewrite history won't work.

    My website was founded to help the very situation you claim didn't exist. People were going nuts dealing with the long deliver wait nationwide. In fact, many of us were frustrated by the reality that CA was getting more allocated to them because sales were so hot there.

    As for your absolutely hysterical "cooling off" nonsense, get over it. Lumping all types of hybrids into a single category is just plain wrong, and quite misleading. Prius will sell all 100,000 for this year without any trouble.

    JOHN
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    All VW diesels have been canceled for 2007 -- the 2006's should be firesaled out...they are now orphans that probably will carry a really low price.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    There does appear to still be a strong demand for a Prius. I base this on Edmund's indicating that it is selling for $1,000 over MSRP. The question I have is why the hell is the government (meaning taxpayers) subsidizing a vehicle that is selling for over sticker price. Basically my tax dollars are going in the pocket of Toyota dealerships and their salespeople. Let's take away the subsidies and see what the demand really is.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,722
    But for now, diesel is roughly the same price, so there is no incentive to change.

    There is incentive to change, that being that diesel engines give better mileage and more power from the same size engine. The problem with diesel is government intervention. Almost 25% of the population are forbidden to buy new diesel engines due to state mandated bans on them. Federal regulations on the fuel and emissions don't help the rest.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,722
    All VW diesels have been canceled for 2007

    You can thank the airheads in DC for that.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    All VW diesels have been canceled for 2007 -- the 2006's should be firesaled out...they are now orphans that probably will carry a really low price

    I know you are trying to be funny. I can tell you for sure I will buy a half dozen Jetta TDIs if they go on fire sale. As a matter of fact many dealers are gouging them. I guess they learned from Toyota dealers. Last I read from VW is they are making an extra amount of 2006 model TDIs to last until the 2008 model with the new diesel arrives.

    Guess what, they will not run on E85. That is the good news.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    forbidden to buy new diesel engines due to state mandated bans on them

    Those bans are based on diesel cars using fuel that is 500 PPM sulfur. There have been no tests of the same modern engines using ULSD, diesel with less than 15 PPM.

    I wonder if the EPA & CARB have bothered to test older engines using E10 tainted fuel. How will that affect emissions?

    I see the American Lung Association is distancing themselves from ethanol.

    (The American Lung Association of the Upper Midwest is not responsible for misinformation reported on the E85 Price Forum.)
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,722
    Those bans are based on diesel cars using fuel that is 500 PPM sulfur. There have been no tests of the same modern engines using ULSD, diesel with less than 15 PPM.

    Regardless of that those bans are in effect, which means nearly 25% of the population cannot buy them.

    Its also my understanding the the new requirements for diesel fuel means that new diesels (2007 MY and on) need to be redone and would cost more. Thats one of the reasons VW is not selling diesels for the 2007 MY.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • jim314jim314 Posts: 491
    What I read is that VW is changing the fuel systems on its diesels from, to coin a term, "divided paths" to what is called "common rail". Common rail is what is used by Mercedes (and maybe Volvo) and it allows very precise and instaneously controlled fuel injection.

    VW is currently using other fuel delivery systems, one of which is "pumpe deuse" (spelling?), abv. PD, Eng. trans. pump nozzle. The VW fuel systems presumably had certain relative advantages over common rail, but it has turned out that common rail allows much better management of tail pipe emissions especially NOx and particulate matter. VW could not meet the emissions requirements without changing to common rail.

    But overwhelmingly VW diesel buyers don't care if their vehicle pollutes more than a Mercedes diesel; they want a diesel. The regs evidently allow VW to continue to sell 2006 models in what would ordinarily be the 2007 model year if the 2006's were imported before a certain date. So VW is increasing its inventory of 2006 diesels so it can continue to seel them throughout the 2007 model year.
  • heel2toeheel2toe Posts: 149
    It is exactly the opposite -- there is so much demand for the TDI that they are selling above MSRP in a lot of the country.

    And VW is extending the build cycle through the end of the year. They anticipate supply of the '06 models through next spring.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > I see the American Lung Association is distancing themselves from ethanol.

    Really? Then how do you explain this from their own website?

    Ethanol is a liquid alcohol fuel produced from biomass (which consists of trees, grasses and wastes), grain or agricultural waste. For cars and other light-duty vehicles, ethanol is typically sold as E85, a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Ethanol produces lower emissions of ozone-forming compounds and toxic air pollutants.

    JOHN
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    There is incentive to change, that being that diesel engines give better mileage and more power from the same size engine.

    This has been true for decades, yet diesel remains a very small part of the US market. Perhaps this mileage benefit would be more appealing if fuel prices were higher, but demand is obviously very low now.

    Diesel proponents have been pounding this drum for years, but clearly, consumers don't agree or care.

    The problem with diesel is government intervention.

    Actually, it's the opposite -- it's the lack of government intervention that has allowed gas to remain most popular in the US.

    Europeans buy diesels in large part because the fuel is much cheaper than gas. This price advantage exists because of their higher fuel taxes on gas, and lower fuel taxes on diesel. Their governments have intervened to encourage the use of diesel, rather than gas.

    Yet even with this advantage, diesels are still the less popular of the two fuels. One dollar per gallon just isn't enough of a benefit even for many Europeans.
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    All VW diesels have been canceled for 2007

    You can thank the airheads in DC for that.


    Amen to that...CA led the charge to ban all new diesel autos...does the ban also knock out the large pickup truck models?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Its also my understanding the the new requirements for diesel fuel means that new diesels (2007 MY and on) need to be redone and would cost more.

    Actually the current VW diesel engines run great on ULSD. It has been available at ARCO stations for a couple years in CA. the engines were developed for low sulfur diesel. Most of the problems people had with the VW and the Liberty diesel was related to crappy diesel. The reason for the change is the new regulations that are going into affect for 2007 are much stricter for both gas and diesel engines. Cars that now pass the SULEV II standard will be OK, all others will have to match that from what I am reading. Not sure how engines running on E85 will fare.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    does the ban also knock out the large pickup truck models?

    They are still protected property. It does not make sense to allow a big PU with diesel and not a smaller diesel PU that would be adequate to do the job. We could cut emissions and fuel usage. That is our EPA/CARB mentality at its finest. Same regulations that allowed the $100k deduction on the BIG vehicles a couple years ago.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Haw about this week. Would you be so kind as to give us an update. With wholesale ethanol price Friday at $3.53 the price at the pump will have to come up. Unless your local station is into selling at a loss.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,722
    This has been true for decades, yet diesel remains a very small part of the US market. Perhaps this mileage benefit would be more appealing if fuel prices were higher, but demand is obviously very low now.

    Again the lack of diesel engines on the road has far more do with government interference than the market place. If state governments didn't lock out 25% of the market to diesel engines and the Federal government didn't play their emission games then you would see a lot more diesels out the today.

    The sign said "No shoes, no shirt, no service", it didn't say anything about no pants.

  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    If state governments didn't lock out 25% of the market to diesel engines and the Federal government didn't play their emission games then you would see a lot more diesels out the today.

    I don't see any reason to believe that. Diesels have just not been popular here, even before the CARB mandate.

    As diesels improve (and they certainly have become more similar to gasoline cars as of late), I see them potentially having more of a future, but it will not be easy to undo decades of a predisposition against them, particularly if it doesn't offer an obvious advantage such as a lower price.

    I think that we need to accept that Americans are not favorably predisposed to buy diesel, regulations or not. They doh't like the rattle, the glow plugs, the soot or the smell of it, and it will take awhile for consumers to see the improvements and decide to include them on their shopping lists.

    And again, you can't ignore the impact of fuel taxes on European demand for diesel. Changing tax policies for whatever fuel you prefer could create a favorable result for that product, be it gas, diesel, E85, etc., but the US largely lacks the will to drastically increase fuel taxes on any type of fuel.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    You (gagrice) have posted 3 new messages since that one (link above), yet still no reply. Why? Could it be that you are still frustrated by the reality that biodiesel actually makes smog worse (a 10% increase in NOx emissions)?

    Whatever the case, that information from the American Lung Association is well worth pointing out again... Ethanol produces lower emissions of ozone-forming compounds and toxic air pollutants.

    JOHN
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    still no reply. Why?

    Are you wanting me to tell you why the American Lung Association put a disclaimer onto one of the pro E85 Websites? I would imagine they did not want to be linked with a bunch of wild claims about the benefits of Ethanol. Ask them not me.

    You have already shown a couple years ago that as far as you are concerned the negatives of growing huge amounts of corn using huge amounts of fossil fertilizers and pesticides is OK as long as it benefits Minnesota. You have argued against any attempts to look at the big picture of growing corn, and the affects downstream caused by chemicals leached into the streams and rivers. I see no argument from your side of the fence about the newest ethanol plants using coal for production as it is 1/6th the cost of natural gas. Whats wrong with a little coal smoke in the air. Of course we won't worry about the added CO2, grow more corn to absorb the added GHG. Maybe that is why the Sierra Club & Audobon Society are not real thrilled with ethanol.

    As far as I can tell the emissions may be the only bright side to ethanol. For those that worship at the PZEV sanctuary ethanol may be a good thing.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,969
    Ethanol is a liquid alcohol fuel produced from biomass (which consists of trees, grasses and wastes), grain or agricultural waste.

    Sounds like they need to learn a bit more about ethanol before they post misinformation on their website. That is future speculation until it goes into commercial production. Right now Corn grown specifically for ethanol is used with it's own pollutants that I am sure the ALA would not care to breath. Not all ethanol plants are capable of producing feedstocks as a byproduct of ethanol. Nor are they real clean operating. ADM is the 10th worst polluter in the USA.
  • john1701ajohn1701a Posts: 1,897
    > the newest ethanol plants

    It runs entirely on waste SAWDUST material.

    That's a good thing, especially when the resulting ethanol is used in a hybrid. The nonsense you are spreading is not. Too bad diesel doesn't even meet the minimum criteria. But smog problems won't be solved by only minor improvement (equal to a dirty gas vehicle) anyway.

    JOHN
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    GM is, of course, promoting the bejeebers on their 'flex' fuel vehicles. Why? Not because of economy of operation - E85 would have to be 30% cheaper than gas to make up for the poorer fuel economy - not because of things like vehicle range which would decrease the same percentage.
    BECAUSE our erstwhile government has decided not to count the alcohol portion of E85 consumption in CAFE calculations! Needless to say, this skews the CAFE numbers dramatically.
    For poor old Chevrolet who can't sell much of anything that isn't a truck - they now have 33 mpg+ Tahoes (CAFE rating) that actually are lucky to see anything over 12 mpg running E85. Keeps GM out of hot water with their fleet average FE numbers and probably the only reason they are championing the stuff.
    It strikes me that the jury is still out on hybrid and certainly E85 use - diesels the way to go - all we would have to do - clean up our diesel fuel to European standards and we might even be able to keep the Californians happy.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    It's odd -- you seem to think that growing crops that produce vegetable oil for biodiesel is A-OK, while growing switchgrass to produce ethanol is going to ruin the planet.

    I'm not claiming that it doesn't take resources to grow crops, or that some crops aren't better or worse than others, but at this point, it sounds like a shrill mantra that lacks balance. Again:

    -Every resource requires some consumption of resources to be produced. You need to compare them to get a better understanding, not point out the resource needs of those you dislike while ignoring the downsides of those that you favor.

    -It need not be an either-or choice. For example, with the right R&D and tax policies, we could work to create hybrid cars that run on E85 and hybrid diesels that run on biodiesel, as well as electrifying our trains and shipping interstate freight via the rails. There is no magic bullet here.

    -Any "solution" that consumers don't use, or that can't be allocated effectively, is a non-solution. For example, if you are going to support biodiesel, you had better figure out a way to get consumers to want or have to use it, to get them cars that can run on it, and to distribute the fuel through the existing or a new distribution network. Otherwise, it's just shuck and jive.

    The discussion seems more like an argument about whose God we should worship, rather than a cogent assessment of alternatives and how some or all of them can be implemented. As I have no particular solution that I favor, I find this astounding -- I'm surprised that it all seems starry-eyed, with very little pragmatism, from the most fervent advocates.
This discussion has been closed.