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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
    This is not about oil consumption its about how much does it cost to run a car with E85.

    The costs need not be static, they can be lowered by increased production and distribution, and incentivized by modifications to taxation policies. Just as Europeans have motivated consumers to opt for diesel and Australians have encourage consumption of LPG with pricing and tax policies, the same can be done for ethanol and/or whatever alternatives that the government may favor.

    Again, the US taxpayer and military pay a large price for the country's foreign policy as it relates to oil, this is not necessarily just an issue of pump prices as of today. If the financial cost of the Iraq war was financed by a gas tax, it would increase the price of gas by $0.75 per gallon, and that wouldn't include either the war dead or the drag on the economy created by high fuel prices which are the byproduct of both the war and increasing demand for oil.

    Oil is a much more expensive product than the pump price reflects, and shapes the very essence of US foreign policy. The fact that we are all paying for policies oriented toward oil through our income taxes and deficit spending does not make it any cheaper. The nation will have to determine whether it is willing to continue to divert massive resources to purchase petroleum from dictatorships and to protect our supply goals with little regard for how drastically this affects us all.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    We need some gutty leaders, whatever their party.

    John McCain recently appeared in Iowa and in a speech he expressed opposition to all farm subsidies, including ethanol. I don't want to discuss the pros and cons of John McCain but I agree with you; we need leaders that are willing to deliver an unpopular message. Then we need voters that are smart enough to realize sacrificing in the short term can lead to long term gains. Probably unrealistic.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I agree with a lot of what you've said, particularly the part about the price we pay for gas doesn't reflect the true cost. You seem to be advocating a system where the same can be said about ethanol in that the price at the pump won't reflect the actual cost. So let's stop doing this. Pass on the war costs to consumers of gas/petroleum, which will include the farmers. Eliminate the farm subsidies for ethanol production. I doubt that ethanol will suddenly be attractive from a price perspective. What will happen is that with the consumer paying the full price we will probably see gas and or ethanol at around $4/gallon. That will be a powerful incentive to come up with a real solution. Not to mention that any policy designed to artificially lower the price of fuel at the pump is contrary to encouraging conservation.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    The costs need not be static, they can be lowered by increased production and distribution, and incentivized by modifications to taxation policies.

    I know the costs need not be static, also increased production and distribution does not always decrease prices. Ethanol has to be made from something, right now mostly corn, to increase ethanol production would increase the demand for corn, an increased demand will increase costs. Furthermore it is questionable if we can produce enough ethanol to switch over to E85 completely.

    As for taxation policies, that should never be done as it promotes policies that are economically unsound. As it stands now E85 is heavily subsidized by the government.

    Just as Europeans have motivated consumers to opt for diesel

    Its government interference that is keeping diesel off the US roadways. Without tax incentives and/or subsidation diesel would be an economically viable alternative since it would be at a cost that is less per mile than gasoline. Its environmental concerns and increasing regulations (more strict for 2007) on diesel engines that are keeping diesel off US highways in large numbers.

    Again, the US taxpayer and military pay a large price for the country's foreign policy as it relates to oil, this is not necessarily just an issue of pump prices as of today.

    I am not debating that and its not germane to this conversation.

    It is still a fact that E85 is more expensive to use and as long as it remains so it will have limited success.

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

  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    It is still a fact that E85 is more expensive to use and as long as it remains so it will have limited success.

    All this talk of using E85 is kind of useless. The producers of ethanol cannot even keep up with the demand for ethanol as an oxygenator. If they cannot supply E5 to E10 as a replacement for MTBE, how are they going to supply E85 for FFVs?

    Even if you live in MN where E85 is taxed at a lower rate than unleaded regular. It will cost you about $4 more to drive 100 miles on E85 than on regular. Or about $50 a month more to be corny.
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    E85, E95, E10 and Biodiesel are a solution from Americans, by Americans using American know-how to solve the foreign oil cartel's extortion policies as it relates to America --NOW!

    As far as the Sierra Club is concerned, I chuckle when I see that they have suddenly switched to an anti-green fuel agenda. They are often totally confused by the truth.

    Trying to smear politicians and companies with the broad brush of anti-American hatred is always with us, people who only tear down and have no answers for anything. Negativity did not build this country and will not solve our energy crisis.

    This forum is to discuss E85 as a fuel, there are many pros and cons that are legitimate concerns with thinking Americans.

    As an aside, it was noted today on BLOOMBERG TV that Wendy's will switch from "fatty" fats to Soy and Corn oil to prepare their food because they want to increase the healthiness of their product.

    Another aside: VW has canceled all of their 2007 diesels that they were going to import to the USA. Jeep has canceled their diesel version of the Jeep Liberty...thank you California...now is CA going to cancel our 18 wheeler diesels also? Sounds like the Biodiesel plants will only be for truckers fuel!
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    Ford, Chrysler, GM speak up for ethanol
    by EPM Associate Editor Jessica Williams


    The Big Three automakers—Ford Motor Co., Chrysler and General Motors (GM)—visited Capitol Hill on May 18 to encourage Congress to pass legislation that would make ethanol fuel more widely available.

    Chrysler Group President and CEO Tom LaSorda, Ford Motor Co. Chairman and CEO Bill Ford, and General Motors Chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner said their companies supported the “25x25” Initiative, an effort led by the Energy Future Coalition and supported by agricultural and forestry groups to have 25 percent of U.S. transportation needs met by renewable fuels by 2025. The three companies also discussed plans to increase production of flexible-fuel vehicles (FFVs) for consumer scale. Currently, there are more than 5 million E85-capable FFVs on the road, and Ford, Chrysler and GM plan to sell nearly 1 million more in 2006. Six million FFVs fueled by ethanol would displace 3.6 billion gallons of gasoline per year, according to Ford Motor Co.

    To help ramp up FFV production and for the “25x25” goal to be met, the three CEOs said renewable fuels should be available at about 20 percent to 30 percent of the nation’s approximate 170,000 gas stations. Currently, about 600 gas stations carry E85, and such an increase in E85 pumps would reach 90 percent of the U.S. population, according to Ford Motor Co.

    The three CEOs expressed interest in meeting with President George W. Bush in the future to discuss these ideas, according to Max Gates, Chrysler communications manager. “It’s worthwhile to get [them] together to exchange thoughts on these key issues,” Gates told EPM. “There was speculation that [the CEOs] were asking for a handout, and that’s not what this was. They wanted to address things like our dependence on foreign oil, gas prices and pursuing the alternatives. Renewables can help us.”

    LaSorda, Ford and Wagoner arrived at Capitol Hill in decorated FFVs. For example, Chrysler sent its Town and Country minivan—with its patented and popular Stow ‘N Go seating—that had the slogan “Stow ‘N Goes on Ethanol” on the exterior.

    A day earlier, Ford Motor Co.’s Vice President for Environmental and Safety Engineering Sue Cischke visited members of Congress to express support for bipartisan legislation that would offer a reimbursement of up to $30,000 to gas station owners who convert their pumps to renewable fuels. Sens. John Thune, R-S.D.; Ken Salazar, D-Colo.; and Jim Talent, R-Mo., have cosponsored the Alternative Energy Refueling Act of 2006 (S. 2614), and a similar measure in currently in the House. “By providing the necessary incentives, this innovative measure will help us expand the infrastructure and use of renewable fuels in America—helping provide relief to Americans at the pump and lessening our dependence on foreign oil,” Cischke said.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I am not debating that and its not germane to this conversation.

    It is still a fact that E85 is more expensive to use and as long as it remains so it will have limited success.


    The political aspect is not only germane, it is key to the entire issue.

    This is not simply a matter of comparing resources and comparing pump prices, but whether we all want to pay the costs, financial and otherwise, of a petroleum-based foreign policy.

    If the issue was simply a matter of comparing the cost of unsubsidized oil and unsubsidized ethanol, then you would be strictly correct. At today's prices, gasoline is cheaper than ethanol, and that would be it.

    But that isn't the sole issue -- we are paying $275 million per day just to pay for one war alone that was driven largely by the strategic location and resource base of one country in the Middle East. We also funnel foreign aid money to other countries elsewhere in the region, the Caspian, etc. as well as maintaining a military presence, all because oil makes these areas strategically important.
    But again, this is paid for by the general fund, so you don't see it in the pump price. Perhaps it should be passed on directly to drivers in the form of gas prices and to industry in the form of a resource tax, so that we all begin to see that oil costs us a good deal more than just $70 per barrel.
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    E85 is a usable fuel that is made from a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% unleaded gasoline. E85 is designed for use in flexible fuel vehicles, or vehicles with an engine designed to run on any blend of ethanol up to 85%. As of 2006, the U.S. Department of Energy classifies e85 as an alternative fuel.

    There are many benefits to e85, including the primary source of ethanol used in the blend. Corn is the most common source, which makes e85 a renewable resource. In addition, e85 is a high-performance, clean burning and environmentally friendly fuel.

    Though e85 is not as common as unleaded gasoline, it is becoming more widely used, especially in the Midwest where corn crops are plentiful. Many major motor vehicle manufacturers, including Daimler Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Isuzu, and Nissan, have been manufacturing flexible fuel vehicles since as early as 1999 and the number has been increasing each year. The potential for decreased dependency on crude oil is one reason the use of e85 is being closely watched. It is not difficult for retail gasoline stations to convert to e85 and there are an increasing number of stations that offer the fuel. Though gas mileage is reduced by 10 to 15% with the use of e85, the price of e85 has traditionally been lower than unleaded gasoline, by as much as US$0.80 per gallon (about 3.8 liters) thus far.

    The biggest hurdle the industry faces is increased awareness and availability. Though flexible fuel is an option that can be ordered with a new vehicle at little or no extra cost, many people are not aware that their newer vehicles are e85 compatible. Check your vehicle owner's manual to see if you have a flexible fuel vehicle. If your manual does not state you can use e85, it is not compatible. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, the flexible fuel option may prove a sensible choice if available.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    E85, E95, E10 and Biodiesel are a solution from Americans, by Americans using American know-how to solve the foreign oil cartel's extortion policies as it relates to America --NOW!

    That's also not accurate. Ethanol production is currently not sufficient to serve needs today, and most cars do not run on E85.

    Any solution that is centered around the use of alternative fuels, whether E85, biodiesel, etc., is going to take several years to implement. What can be done in the short term will differ from what could be done during the medium- and long-term.
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    Stations Offering E85 Surge to 710 Study shows Gas Stations offering E85 nearly double from 2005.
    Minneapolis (PRWEB) May 25, 2006 -- The latest count by http://e85vehicles.com/e85-stations.htm shows that 710 Gas Sations in the US are now offering the ethanol based alternative fuel E85.

    This study gives clear indication that the ethanol based fuel E85 is becoming a true alternative to gasoline for many Americans.

    Those 710 Stations offering E85 are up from less than 200 E85 Stations in 2004 and 397 in 2005.

    The greatest growth continues to come in the Midwest, Indiana for example went from zero E85 pumps in 2004 to 30 so far in 2006 and they are expected to add another 20 E85 pumps before years end.

    While Minnesota with 189 stations offering E85 continues to lead the nation in e85 use, Illinois has already doubled the number of stations from 63 in 2004 to nearly 120

    5 States with the most E85 Stations are:

    . Minnesota - 189
    . Illinois - 120
    . Iowa - 55
    . Nebraska - 38
    .South Dakota - 32

    Those E85 stations are going to be in heavy demand as the Automakers are adding a record number of Flex Fuel vehicles this coming year. GM produces 14 Flex Fuel models and plans are for 5 more flex fuel models for 2007 totaling 400,000 new E85 capable vehicles in one year.

    Ford is adding the ever popular F-150 pickup to it's offering of 5 flex fuel vehicle models in 2007.

    Stations wanting to add a pump for E85 can apply for State and Federal grants up to 30K to help cover the installation of a new pump for E85 or for the conversion of an existing pump.

    A complete listing of E85 Stations can be found at http://e85vehicles.com/e85-stations.htm.
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    If you have or are buying an FFV vehicle NOW, you can pump E85 into it provided you are in the Middle West at one of the 701 E85 stations. It can't roll our overnight, but the effort by all people associated with Ethanol is very high. As a priority for the United States as defined by our president, it will be coming even faster. SoCal -- will not get it as fast as the Middle West.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    Even if you live in MN where E85 is taxed at a lower rate than unleaded regular. It will cost you about $4 more to drive 100 miles on E85 than on regular. Or about $50 a month more to be corny.

    Not only that but if you don't have a station along your regular route that carries the stuff you have the added expense of the fuel burned going out of your way to buy it. Not to mention the extra time you spend with more frequent fill ups and the time spent going to an out of the way gas station. I figured that in my daily driving going the extra distance to get E85 (about 3 miles) would cost me almost $60 and 20 hours of my time, and that above and beyond the extra cost per mile I am using.

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

  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    Careful...your arguements are getting thinner. FFV vehicles means you do NOT have to use E85 ...ever, if you don't want to. But to kick the oil cartel in the pants, I certainly would like to do it! Sorry that your 3 mile too far jaunt will keep you in the clutches of Fidel and the boys!...cheers!
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    If you have or are buying an FFV vehicle NOW, you can pump E85 into it provided you are in the Middle West at one of the 701 E85 stations.

    I'm not going to buy a FFV vehicle NOW, because at this stage of the game, I don't buy domestic cars, plus my car is too new for me to trade it in to buy a fuel that isn't available in my area. Where most of us live NOW, there is no E85 to buy.

    Your own article makes the point clear -- there is very little distribution of E85 as of today. It may be a solution in several years' time, but it is not a solution NOW as you continue to state.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    The political aspect is not only germane, it is key to the entire issue.

    Since I wasn't talking about the political aspect it is not germane to the conversation. You do have a habit of taking threads off the topic and I am not going down that road. We are not talking politics but mircoeconomics, please keep on that subject.

    This is not simply a matter of comparing resources and comparing pump prices, but whether we all want to pay the costs, financial and otherwise, of a petroleum-based foreign policy.

    Unfortunately it does come down to comparing pump prices see my post here (number 635 on this forum). Generally when people stop at the gas station they are not thinking geo-politics when they choose what gas they buy, they are far more incline to think their pocket books.

    But that isn't the sole issue

    It is when Joe Sixpack is looking at pump prices. To say otherwise means that you are either 1.) not getting my point or 2.) ignoring it.

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

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    Careful...your arguements are getting thinner. FFV vehicles means you do NOT have to use E85 ...

    Nope actually the fact that I don't have to use E85 makes my case stronger. Why use a fuel that gives me fewer miles for my dollar that I have to search for? Just use regular gas, its cheaper and easier to get.

    Sorry that your 3 mile too far jaunt will keep you in the clutches of Fidel and the boys!...cheers!

    The alternative would be to be in the clutches of ADM?

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

  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    We are not talking politics but mircoeconomics, please keep on that subject.

    Then to clarify, **I** am talking about the political aspects, because IMO, that should be the main determinant of fuel policies going forward. Using today's pump prices as the sole measure of what needs to be done tomorrow is short-sighted and will continue to drain the US treasury of significant resources.

    The reason that oil is as costly as it is today is largely because of the lack of planning and a coherent, long-term energy policy that has made us so utterly dependent upon it. We are potentially on the verge of the return of stagflation because of the importance of oil to the world economy, and this dependency is largely self-inflicted.

    The free market alone won't solve this problem. Then again, oil long ago stopped being a free market solution, being that the US has spent billions of dollars on a foreign policy meant to ensure its supply. In effect, the US has already been subsidizing oil, we just haven't seen this at the pump.

    As for alternative fuels, assuming available distribution, if taxes for conventional gasoline was increased while the cost of the alternatives were reduced, whether through subsidies, lower taxes, etc., then that price shift would influence consumer behavior. Anything that does not include the continuation of the status quo is going to require policy changes, whatever those happen to be.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    Trying to smear politicians and companies with the broad brush of anti-American hatred

    I did not see any posts that claimed anyone was anti-American. I think many politicians are ignorant of the facts about ethanol. Or maybe blinded by huge campaign contributions in an election year. Ethanol has become a political issue. I don't see any reason to think it has anything to do with being anti-American.

    As far as the Sierra club they are very pro alternative fuels. They look at the big picture. Not just what it means to one entity. They would like to see ethanol from biomass. Their biggest concern is the wasteful farming practices to get a few extra bushels of corn per acre. What is done on an acre of land in Iowa can have bad environmental effect a thousand miles away. What is good for Iowa or MN is not necessarily good for Mississippi.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,993
    I would say it will never be a factor on either coast. Farm land is too valuable to grow corn. If CA is able to produce enough ethanol for just the mandated 7% I would be surprised. I cannot imagine cutting down an orange grove to plant corn. There are so many crops that pay more per acre that it is just not practical to grow corn here. Except White Diamond ear corn NOW that is corn I will use.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    Then to clarify, **I** am talking about the political aspects,

    To clarify I am not and you are trying to turn what I am talking about into the political aspects and I would appreciate you not trying to highjack what I am saying.

    Again the political ramifications is NOT germane to the microeconomic realities of E85

    The reason that oil is as costly as it is today is largely because of the lack of planning and a coherent, long-term energy policy that has made us so utterly dependent upon it.

    And a poorly planned incoherent embracing of E85 isn't going to help.

    The free market alone won't solve this problem.

    If the free market were allowed to work it would provide a workable solution. But then the free market is hindered by government interference. More government interference is not the answer. I am not advocating no government interference just limited well thought out government activity (yeah I know thats a pipe dream).

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

  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    To clarify I am not and you are trying to turn what I am talking about into the political aspects

    What I am doing here is underlining the point that a position based strictly upon short-term pricing is short-sighted, and disregards the significant hidden subsidy needed to ensure oil supplies.

    If the question is strictly a matter of whether the free market will, by itself, result in the widespread adoption of E85, then I think that it is clear that the answer is "no."

    But this discussion has largely become a debate about what should be done, rather than what is happening at the moment, and to that, I say that a broader vision is required. As I noted, oil is not truly a free market solution because of the significant costs of maintaining governmental policies that fight to ensure its supply, so any course of action will require government involvement/ interference/ etc.

    As a nation, we cannot afford to ignore one uniquely difficult aspect of oil supplies -- much of it happens to be concentrated in dictatorships that are not especially stable or friendly to the US. This comes at a great price which goes well beyond the pump price, and should be addressed lest we end up back in a repeat of the 70's fuel crisis or something worse.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    What I am doing here is underlining the point that a....

    Again you are trying to interject something that is not part of my original posting and I will not go down that road.

    If the question is strictly a matter of whether the free market will, by itself, result in the widespread adoption of E85, then I think that it is clear that the answer is "no."

    And there is a reason why that answer is "no" it is because it is not an economically viable solution. Forcing a solution that isn't economically viable is not going to work in the long run.

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

  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    .. increasing regulations (more strict for 2007) on diesel engines that are keeping diesel off US highways in large numbers.

    CA caused all VW auto and Jeep diesels to be discontinued in 2007...! Seems to be a shortsighted legislature and lobbying effort by the Sierra club.
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    Bad illustration..I am not interested in what Joe sixpack or any other Redneck thinks or does on this subject.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    It wasn't CA that did that, it was a Federally mandated increase in the emission standards for diesel engines and fuel. Diesel pumps are now starting to say that it is illegal to put that fuel in 2007 or later diesel vehicles.

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

  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 11,727
    Well if Joe Sixpack rejects E85 then E85 will not be the fuel of the future. For E85 to be anything more than a designer "feel good" fuel it has to be able to play in Peoria.

    You promote it but don't care if the end user will use it? doesn't sound right to me.

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

  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    A solution that does not address adoption and consumer demand is not a solution.

    I can see a place for ethanol among a number of solutions, but it will likely require a costly government initiative, including R&D investment, a whole host of subsidies and taxation policies meant to encourage its use. Assuming current government policies (minimal ethanol investment, combined with a significant hidden subsidy to support oil), you won't see E85, biodiesel or any of these other alternative fuels going anywhere.

    Even at $3+ per gallon, US fuel prices are not currently high enough (at least with the current fuel tax structure) to encourage alternative fuels. You would need to have higher gas prices (either via taxes and/or oil price increases), lower ethanol prices, more FFV vehicles, and more E85 distribution to make it work. Otherwise, it's also a non-starter.
  • john500john500 Posts: 409
    1. CO2 emissions and the potential for global warming
    2. the US dependency on foreign oil as a transportation fuel as opposed to domestic energy
    3. the currently existing power grid infrastructure of the country and how it affects fuel processing
    4. the effect of change upon geographic regions

    It appears that each person prioritizes one aspect over the other. The ethanol advocate uses 4 to assert their opinions (economies will grow in the midwest) and states that domestic coal can be used for a portion of the energy costs (3). The gasoline advocate uses 1 and 3 to assert their opinion (clearly ethanol does not improve the environment and the mandate for oxygenated fuels is obsolete). From an environmental perspective (i.e. prioritization of 1 and the angle I look through), ethanol clearly does nothing to improve the situation. I do not agree with any logic that supports emitting more CO2 to justify having domestic energy unless severe reductions in vehicle weight and increases in fuel economy are initiated FIRST.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "Bad illustration..I am not interested in what Joe sixpack or any other Redneck thinks or does on this subject."

    You'd better if you think Ethanol should be accepted.
This discussion has been closed.