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The Inconvenient Truth About Ethanol



  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I was hoping for a stable $60 price. I guess nothing in this World is stable. We already shot our wad on ethanol plants.
  • Sorry folks, our politicans will tell you it was underfunded from the getgo..Throw dough at the problem, sound familiar???????

    Junk fuel from the inception...I still buy the old-fashioned non-ethanol gas in Sarasota, Fl.. B/P outlet....
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    I only wish I could find some "clean" gas. I'm on an overnight road trip and on the drive down, I got about 5% less mileage on the highway than I used to get in combined driving on non-ethanol blend. :sick:

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  • Wasn't ethanol the "clean Gas"??????????????????????? My supercharged 06 Pontiac get approx approx 10% less mileage and so far my 09 Bullitt has not had that experience of ethanol blend..

    Lots of older cars in Fla that will not survive on ethanol plus the marine engines will not tolerate the corny fuel..

    Thank the "Green Folks" for our current economic conditions and their assualt on our way of life...
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Thank the "Green Folks" for our current economic conditions and their assault on our way of life...

    Hard to argue against that perception. They were a BIG factor in pushing for ethanol to be added. I can understand the use of ethanol as a way to dispose of excess corn. Make it a Midwestern product. Remove the tariffs and subsidies and let it compete on a level playing field.

    When we are all back in the caves a supply of corn alcohol would be nice to keep off the chill in the winter.
  • I guess being a pro-oil blogger for the oil companies means job security. I'm sure you were not among the 500,000 Americans who lost their job last month. Novice readers are unaware your recurring pro-oil messages show up repeatedly throughout the blogosphere.
    America using 25% of the world's oil production is unsustainable. Why? Oil is a finite resource. It was made millions of years ago. Peak oil may have happened or it may be a decade away.

    70% of the oil America uses is imported. 70 cents of every $1 America spends on oil leaves the country, whether we pay $2 or $4 per gallon. When the price is $4/gallon it's pretty ugly because we send $700 billion a year out of the country. That's a lot of dollars and jobs--gone!

    The oil market is global. Oil purchases float the boat of all oil exporting nations, be they friend or foe, and many are foes financing terrorism, rogue nuclear programs and assisting our enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Watch the 2 minute video at
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Ok, Iistened and think he is preaching to the choir. I am all for practical alternatives to fossil fuel. Corn ethanol IS NOT A GOOD ALTERNATIVE. Sugar cane ethanol would not be bad except Jimmy Carter taxed the crap out of it and Congress has protected our corn farmers interest ever since. Corn ethanol has nothing to do with alternatives. It has to do with big agriculture companies like ADM getting mega bucks from the tax payers. How much has been done to promote and research biodiesel made from algae. It is a viable alternative and gets little Government help.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Posts: 2,915
    If you are goingto try to scare us all into reducing our use of foreign oil at least supply the facts. Yes 70% of our oil use comes from foreign countries. But Canada supplies us with the most oil followed by Mexico. We only get 30% (might be a little more) of our oil from the Middle East with Saudi Arabia supplying the majority of that.

    Yes oil is a finite source but quite honestly no one knows how much oil is available. All we know is that production costs for oil will increase as additional sources will be harder to get at. Of course, the US is sitting on some HUGE sources, but that is another topic...... having said all of this, I too want to see alternative fuels.

    Try not to use such a broad brush when you make your point. :)
  • bpizzutibpizzuti Posts: 2,743
    If you are goingto try to scare us all into reducing our use of foreign oil at least supply the facts. Yes 70% of our oil use comes from foreign countries. But Canada supplies us with the most oil followed by Mexico. We only get 30% (might be a little more) of our oil from the Middle East with Saudi Arabia supplying the majority of that.

    That balance has probably changed significantly recently. At under $50 per barrel, many North American oil sources become unprofitable..heck, at that price, Iran and Iraq are unprofitable, didn't you hear them whining already? IRAQ whining that we aren't paying enough for their oil...right! Anyway, North American sources get unprofitable, then some of them shut down. When I have time I need to try and find some updated numbers. But profitability is a factor...a viable oil source when oil is selling for $150 bbl can (and probably does) sit idle at $50 bbl. If it costs $100 to create something that you can only sell for $75, it may as well not be there.
  • There is so much non truth being said about ethanol, it only leads to ask "where do some of you get your information. Some of the articles listed are way off base. Can anyone tell me the energy value of that 1/3 bushel of corn remaining that is high protein. Does anyone know that there is more indirect tax relief for gas then the current .05 cents for E10. For you people who say they loose milage on E10, are you sure that the 90% gas is really tier II gas or is there some low quality gas added since their only concern is mantaining 87 octane (regular) at some blenders. Blender pump case study shows that 90% Teir II gas with 10% ethanol on average over 35 vehicles, milage increased 2% and equal mileage on E20. I know some vehicles showed slight decrease but on average it is equal or slight increase. This is mainly do to car manufactures programming vehicles slightly rich. Don't blame ethanol, blame the oversight by goverment and the petro blenders.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    The mileage loss is real. Same gas stations, same brand of gasoline, same vehicle. The only difference being the introduction of ethanol. I take great pains to maintain my vehicles and I'm VERY upset by what ethanol is doing to the mileage performance of the vehicles of everyone I know who bothers to pay attention.

    Please, tell me exactly what it is I'm saving when I have to buy 10% more fuel to travel the same distance? What miracle of accounting needs to be performed to make it appear that ethanol is doing anything to decrease the use of oil?

    It's simply not believeable that adding something to gasoline that has less energy density will increase fuel efficiency. That's as silly as the HHO kit claims and flies in the face of physics just as much.

    My highway mileage on my 2007 Versa is down over 10% from 35 down to the 30-31 range. My 2001 Altima is seeing similar decreases. A friend who owns two Toyota Prius' is seeing significant decreases as well. Check all the different mileage discussions on the various vehicles here on the forums and you'll find people experiencing the same.

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  • No Silly, only one boat manufacturer that used cheap fiberglass resin had a issue with fuel tanks.
  • Like I said, question your blender, the gas station does not have that information. A test recently found that in E85, the octane of that 15% gas (or 30% winter blend)varied from 45 to 87. The flame front varies but the vehicle can't determine fuel quality going in, only what come out. I did not say all vehicle's equaled or increased, but clearly the average was not a lose on E10 or E20. Critics always look at BTU's, so at least here and with blender pumps we will say ethanol is more efficient.
  • fezofezo Posts: 9,328

    Classic stuff. Never mind that that one can find measurements all over the place that show a gallon of ethanol simply does not have the energy that a gallon of gas does. Am I to assume that when they blend ethanol some magic fairy outs in extra energy?
  • How efficient is your car? One/third, a third of your heat goes to the radiatior and a 1/3 goes out your tail pipe unused. Ethanol take more heat to ignite but has a faster flame front. Thus, it is possible to get more work energy out of ethanol then just looking at BTU's
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 5,854
    It's not the cars. The DAY that the "contains ethanol" stickers went on the pumps, my mileage went down. My first experience with ethanol blends was on vacation this summer when we went into an areas where the only choice was ethanol. The return trip mileage was far worse, but I didn't jump to conclusions since it could have been a fillup error or impending issue with the car. I use my mileage performance as a sort of monitor on the health of my car. Any sudden change and I'll keep a very careful eye on the next tank or two. Continued poor performance and I know something is up. Anyway, back to vacation... on our return home we still had ethnol-free gas available in our area and my mileage returned. But as I said, the day ethanol-blend was introduced at the last of our stations here, down the mileage went again and it has stayed there for the last 4 months.

    You can't get more work out of ethanol than it has in it. Think about it.

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  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    Welcome to the forum. From your handle I must assume that ethanol is high on your agenda. Just what is that agenda? Do you sell corn or work for ADM, Verasun or one of the many ethanol distributors? All the tests and reports by universities show that the maximum net gain for corn ethanol is 21%. Most show a negative return. That means you use 1 gallon equivalent fossil fuel for each 1.21 gallons of ethanol produced. Most of the time you will use more fossil fuel in the production of ethanol than you get out at the other end.

    Currently Verasun has filed for C11 as they cannot make money off of ethanol with the current $1.03 subsidy. And the restrictive tariff on Sugar ethanol is proof that ethanol is purely a political boondoggle.

    And as far as the high protein residue mash being fed to cattle. Cattle should not be fed corn to begin with. They have to be given antibiotics or the corn will kill them.

    We have not touched on all the environmental downsides of high fossil fuel fertilized corn.

    So even if your argument of ethanol giving equal mileage was true which it is not. There are too many negatives to corn ethanol for US to be wasting billions of tax dollars to prop up the Midwest corn conglomerates. It is corporate welfare to the max.
  • For you people who say they loose mileage on E10, are you sure that the 90% gas is really tier II gas or is there some low quality gas added since their only concern is maintaining 87 octane (regular) at some blenders.

    My 05 BMW 330i mileage decreases about 7% using premium E10, my 06 Chrysler 300C mileage decreases about 10% using midgrade E10, and both my 08 Saturn Astras lose about 10% using regular E10. Maybe they have mixed in bad gas with the E10, but I suspect modern engines are optimized for pure gasoline and are just not happy with E10. My cars extract virtually no energy from the ethanol in E10. The ethanol has destroyed the fuel lines on three of my yard tools, and some older boats have also been ruined. Food costs have risen and the midwest aquifer is rapidly being depleted. E10 with corn ethanol is a scam that funnels tax dollars into the pockets of greedy corporations. On the plus side, it may help out the economy by rapidly growing the car and boat engine repair industry.
  • How do you think the coming increase in oil prices will impact the global financial crisis?

    Since 1973 America's dependence on foreign oil has grown from 24% to 70%. A frog dropped in to a pot of hot water realizes the peril and immediately leaps out. A frog placed in a pot of cool water that is slowly brought to a slow boil will end up cooked. We're only our way to being cooked.

    The economic crisis that paralyzed America during the 1973 oil crisis was the bellwether that development of oil alternates were necessary for energy security. Perhpas, if the Big 3 and Big Oil didn't have Congress in their pocket perpetuating the status quo, a level playing field would have allowed American ingenuity to neutralize this problem over the last 35 years.

    This discussion must be grounded in fact because our country's future depends on it! There may be some inconvenience but we must demand rapid implementation of alternates today. Indeed the economic viability of alternates, including oil from Canada's oil sands, is fluctuates with the price of oil. Global financial crisis aside, competition for scarce resources will increase oil prices. The International Energy Agency Outlook 2008 reports 80 major oil fields in production decline. Expect oil prices to increase much sooner because OPEC wants prices in the $55 - 75 range. On 60 Minutes a Saudi offical related their price to produce a barrel of oil is $2. OPEC has promised a "December surprise". Most expect a further reduction of 2.5 million barrels/day on top of the 2.0 million reduction over the last few months. This week Russia announced it would reduce oil in concert with OPEC.

    Facts are readily available at and http //
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,850
    I think you will find most of the posters at Edmund's favor alternative energy sources. Corn ethanol was the big rage in 1980 just as it is today. Ask the people that live in the towns where 90+ Corn ethanol stills are now just a rusty old memory cluttering up their dead little boom town. Corn ethanol was not a good alternative in 1980, and it is not a good alternative now. Whether it has occurred to you or not, corn ethanol is a huge user of fossil fuel. From the tractor that plants the field to the fertilizer that yields the big corn crops. Then the trucks & trains to transport the corn to the still. The coal or natural gas to fire the still. Then back into tanker trucks to the places of distribution. That is why overall we probably do not get a gallon of ethanol for every gallon equivalent of oil. Most studies yielded less than a gallon for every gallon used. Then add on our wasted tax dollars to subsidize the corn growers, the plant operators and the gas distributors. It is a classic case of corporate welfare. And now they are going broke because it costs way more than just the subsidies to make the crap.

    Then the added negatives of using all the cropland for corn year in and year out is very bad for the environment. It raises the price of food as corn is a major component of much of the processed food the masses eat. In my research if I could find one good thing that has come out of this latest corn ethanol boondoggle I would post it. There are no positives unless you are temporarily employed in the ethanol business.
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