The Inconvenient Truth About Ethanol



  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    No doubt about it. You put a fuel into your car that has less energy per unit volume and your mileage will suffer. It's even worse when you look at it in the way I came up with back in April (Matter Of Perspective), miles per dollar.

    On the highway my Versa was getting 8.6 miles per dollar of fuel using non-blend. With the great savior ethanol that dropped to 7.8 mpd

    MPD is a great way to make the kids aware of the fact that drivng the car is NOT free :P
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I like to remind myself that each trip to Costco, Lowes or Home Depot costs me $9. I ask myself if what I need is worth an additional $9. Most of the time it is not.

    Still looking for REAL gas for my cars.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    If your Costco is like ours you won't find your real gas there. 10% ethanol. Dang!
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • jkinzeljkinzel Member Posts: 735
    Same in Gig Harbor, WA. I have yet to find a station that sells "pure" gasoline.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Both Costco and the Shell I use say 10% ethanol. I get the same mileage from both. Shell is about 30 cents more on average.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    That rings absolutely true here. Next time I head up to dad's I want to arrive with an empty tank because the suspect station - the one we think actually has real gasoline is up there. It's Lukoil which I wish it weren't, but if they'll sell me gas instead of a blend I'm there.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    Yet another ethanol issue - Mechanics see ethanol damaging small engines
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    For those of us who pay attention to our cars and mileage, ethanol is Running On Empty
  • pafromflpafromfl Member Posts: 47
    "In reality.. if ethanol is only 70% as efficient as gasoline, then E10 would only be 3% less efficient that straight regular gas..

    For most people, that is less than one mile per gallon...

    Of course, the argument could be made that the mixture of ethanol/gasoline creates a fuel that is less than the sum of its parts.. Whether that is valid or not, I have no idea, but it doesn't seem likely. "

    I my experience, the E10 sum is far less than its parts. My 330i takes a hit greater than 5% while my 300C Hemi loses almost 10% (based on entire tanks of gas traveling at constant speed along I-95). It's hard to tell, but I think the ethanol prevents the 300C from switching to 4 cylinders around 70 mph. The whole state of Florida is switching to E10 and I can no longer find real gas in my county. I'd rather they just left the ethanol out of the gas and charged 10% more.

    Note that E10 can also destroy the fuel lines in 2-cycle yard equipment. I have had to replace the fuel lines and choke bulbs in two Ryobi line trimmers. Even worse, E10 can destroy built-in fuel tanks of older boats.

    I have also heard rumors that modern 2-cycle boat motors do not like E10, and can be damaged if the E10 sits around long enough to separate out the ethanol (and sludge). Does anyone know if there is a stabilizer designed for E10?
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I'd rather they just left the ethanol out of the gas and charged 10% more.

    In many parts of the country it costs more for E10. In CA they have to truck that nasty stuff in and mix it. That makes the cost of the ethanol laced gas higher. The only people making out on ethanol is the State and Federal government with more taxes collected and the big agriculture companies. That is exactly what it was meant to do. I say ban ethanol as we did MTBE. I lose at least 10% on my vehicles. The longer they are parked the lower the mileage.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    The best I can say about ethanol is it makes great fodder for my blog :P

    I'm guessing my comment section with pick up a few entires on today's entry...

    Tell Us What You Really Think Ted
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Member Posts: 427
    Filled up Saturday at the BP station in Sarasota with pure good old 93 octane...Cost was only $3.92/gal..They sell NOOOOO ethanol-enhanced gas..

    Let's say it was a change from the liberal-sponsored corn-belt liquid E-10 that leaves my 260HP-SC V-6 hungry and suffers a 15% decrease in the MPG too boot!!

    Mileage with pure gas will suffer because I like to hear the supercharger whine and spool up..That's the America I know and love!!!!

    At 74 years young I am entrenched somewhat in the past life style and if you young ones like to jaw-bone over the green aspects of saving the planet---help yourself...Buy hybrids and feel good, save animals and feel better, but I will continue to seek out ways to maintain the good old life style..

    I really can't see, feel, or hear my CARBON footprint...Love CLIMATE Change, adore Global warming, and looking forward to Global cooling...

    Owned 43 cars over the years and the only four-bangers were two Porsches in Germany..The autobahn in the late 50s was a pedal to metal road with the only problem being the 58 & 59 Porsches were maxed out in the 110/115 range, however you were able to enjoy the liter bottle of suds at those leisure speeds..

    My first experience with ethanol was around 2001 in the small town of St. Clair, Mich where I played alot of golf, had a chain of discount gas/party stores with pricing about 5 cents/gal/ less on gas. After many fillups I started questioning the lack of pep and rotten gas mileage---got smart and read the label 10% ethanol.

    Ethanol gas doesn't pay any benefits...only pain...

    Hurricane Fay petered out to a Tropical storm and Venice, FL was spared w/o any rain and very little wind..BHO could use some help on his presidential bit with a nice hurricane---too bad---the empty suit remains preaching Hope and Change..5,000,000 new green jobs for Detroit.

    What's for Good for GM is great for America......Hope you auto buffs driving Asian cars enjoy the coming recession, times are good now, just wait for the dropoff..I am retired living off of investments--no pension--little Social Security pays the villa fees, ins, gas, cigs, and booze..Life is good..I don't depend on the Govt..for my lifestyle..You all may have to look the GOVT for instructions...they sure screwed the economy and your gasoline, and they are working to put you in a golf cart/horse&buggy/or a bicycle..

    I am lucky--owning land around Detroit, maybe the 5 million new jobs that BHO talks about comes from cutting grass in the State of Michigan with hand mowers and creating alternate fuels, melt snow in the winter for drought assistance..

    Greenies---have a good day with your wind and solar power dreams..Spend the next 50yrs living with hope and change..Soon you will embrace oil,coal, and nuclear energy to relieve the stress of Change and Hope..Maybe in the future you will be able to buy a Polar bear or Caribou at your local pet store...
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Member Posts: 427
    First tank of 93 octane real gas showed a mileage increase of 10.1% to 21.55mpgs..granted I still had ethanol in the tank on this run. Filled up yeaterday with the same grade, paid $3.92/gal..

    Ethanol in Fla is not mandated until 2010, maybe 2012..V-power Shell ethanol isn't any better that cut-rate premium..

    Now does one really expect our Politicans to tell the truth with the 1-1.5% decrease in gas mileage using E-10????.They would lie if the truth fit better!!!!!

    I feel sorry for anyone dumb enough to believe ethanol is an improvement..The runoff of chemicals used to enhance the corn production into the Gulf of Mexico will show up in soon and pollute the Gulf..The liberals will hold investigations and shift the blame to big business...

    I love the 33mpg Toyota Avalon,,I would have it bronzed...

    My car is a lowly 260hp S/C Pontiac GPGT, 2006 to be traded on another polluter/big carbon footprint--09 Mustang Bullitt..

    Real gas is sold in Fla due to high-percentage of vintage cars that are not able to chug along on the marine industry which is another big problem for the ethanol..But then again the mechanics will love the extra business of screwed up motors..Maybe BHO was referring to increased employment in the green sector due to engine failures..I am sure someone is working on a kit to upgrade a Ford flathead V-8 to run on E-85!!!!! Green Jobs..

    Monday could be the last day for the Pontiac---dealer appt. on the 09 Bullitt..sometime during the day..maybe I could rent the Bullitt for a couple weeks??? really all I need..Long term it could be a tiring car..
  • jkinzeljkinzel Member Posts: 735
    I have looked high and low and cannot find pure gasoline for sale in my area, Tacoma, WA. I even stopped by the local chain saw dealer who is adamant about using pure gas and he had no idea of where to get pure gasoline. All the local gas stations i.e. Shell, 76, Arco and Chevron are posting “may contain up to 10% ethanol” :mad:
  • jkinzeljkinzel Member Posts: 735
    While reading the Scheduled Maintenance Guide for my new Taurus I found an interesting bit of information.

    It states the recommended oil change intervals to be 7,500 miles or six months “unless” you operate under the special operating conditions and then its 5,000 miles, 6 months or 200 engine hours.

    One of the special operating conditions listed is “Use of E85 fuel 50% of the time or greater (flex fuel vehicles only).

    So those who operate Flex Fuel cars and use E85 50% of the time are penalized with more frequent oil changes.

    Another reason not to use ethanol.
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Member Posts: 427
    Tacoma is in the heart of the TREE-HUGGERS, so I not surprised about the lack of good old fashioned American gasoline..E-85 is a total waste of money and it only adds to the expense of motoring..Great that you bought a Taurus and supported the American auto Industry..

    Prius owners support Japan and it's Asian content..Ain't nothing American in it except the owner--maybe???

    Did you Asian car owners realize that 85% of the content going into domestically assembled Hondas and Toyotas is foreign, supplied thru their own manufacturing bases located in small town America?? Spent two years in the early 80s with a Japanese manufacturer located in Battle Creek, Mich, and got to know their business slant......

    Oil changes I stick to the 3000 deadline, oil is cheap compared to any mechanic in this day and age...Of the 43 cars owned in my log life, I only destroyed one engine, 48 Chevy, over-revved a bit..Wasn't satisified with 65 in 2nd gear, next car was 50 Ford crestliner V-8 w/overdrive-95 in 2nd gear..

    Have a nice one and good luck on your gas search.
  • motorcity6motorcity6 Member Posts: 427
    Mileage went from 21.55 to 20.38, running a/c with sunroof open in 90+ weather..and stoplight starts a little more spunky..

    Topped off tank with 9.66 gals. of E-10, too lazy to go to my pure gas station for stations in southern Fla will soon be out of gas due to the Hurricane Gustav..Premium E-10 was 3.769...

    Has anyone tried a Fuel reformulator called "ETHOS" for the earth---greenie outfit out of British Columbia??? I think AL Gore is a silent partner!!!! They sell windmills, and solar panels..

    Love Global Warming!!!!! It brings out the whackos....
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,646
    Here's another article that talks about the damage over-use of fertilizer causes, including this great quote: “There’s a great danger in doing something like, oh, overfertilizing a cornfield to boost biofuel consumption, where the carbon benefits are far outweighed by the nitrogen damage.”
    The nitrogen problem
  • aveo5aveo5 Member Posts: 8
    no mention of the switch of oil dependence from the mideast to the midwest ?
  • setamericafreesetamericafree Member Posts: 7
    Exactly what is the problem of depending on the Midwest? Wouldn't that be depending on AMERICANS like you (maybe?) , who care about the future of America like you (maybe?). Energy Independence (American grown liquid fuels) would look like NOT SENDING $700,000,000,000 (that's seven hundred billion dollars with a "B", which both Presidential candidates put forth as a goal at each of the political conventions) out of the AMERICAN economy to countries in the Mideast (and Chavez in Venezula is no freind either).
    I know it can be confusing, but it the guys in the Mideast who wear the other team's jersey and manipulate the American economy and our lives via their control of the price of oil thru the OPEC monopoly. It's the Mideast, (not the Midwest) that has funded the fundamentalist Islamic radicals around the world over the last 25 years attacking our soldiers, embassies and ships. Here's one more memory jogger to help tell the teams apart; it was folks from the Mideast (not the Midwest) who attacked The World Trade Center TWICE, brought us 9/11 and are funding and fighting the other sides of the wars we're fighting, sponsors TERROR world wide and necessitate HOMELAND SECURITY against. You may be sniffing too much 100% gasoline. You better mix it with some fresh air. Unless your desire is to speak Arabic and have your daughters wear full headcover, you should push the automakers and your local mechanic to get our cars running efficiently on Flex Fuel and get off foreign oil..
  • jkinzeljkinzel Member Posts: 735
    You can make your plan work only if you can reduce the number of passenger cars driving on US road to the same levels as the 1920 to 1930.

    Henry Ford designed his cars to run on alcohol because there were no gas stations back then, but every farmer had a still. Then along came prohibition and they had to use gasoline in cars.

    So if you can get 90% of the cars off the road, corn alcohol might work.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    It's the Mideast, (not the Midwest)

    I have NOTHING against the Midwest producing an alternative fuel. Here is the problem. It takes as much or maybe even more fossil fuel to plant, fertilize, grow, harvest and distill corn ethanol. So how does that reduce our dependence on foreign oil? Even the most adamant defenders of corn ethanol admit that it takes the equivalent of 8/10ths of a gallon of fossil fuel to produce 1 gallon of ethanol. Add to that it has a much lower energy content per gallon than gas or diesel. It is nothing but a scam to divert money to the Midwest from the other parts of the country. There is NO proof that it has cut ONE barrel of imported oil. There are much better ways to spend our alternative energy dollars.

    It was laid out by Palin in here acceptance speech. She probably knows as much about energy as anyone in Washington DC. Her proposal was to expand Nuclear, solar, wind, natural gas, geothermal, clean coal and further oil exploration.

    Those that try to block all of the above are also against ethanol from Corn.
  • jkinzeljkinzel Member Posts: 735
    I talked with a tank truck driver at a local 76 station and was told that ALL gasoline sold in WA state is E-10. You cannot buy pure gasoline at the pump any place in WA. :mad:

    Thanks Christine. :sick:

    All diesel is ULSD and as of January 1, 2009 all diesel will be B-5.
  • eliaselias Member Posts: 2,209
    May I blame E10 for the gasoline leaking from somewhere in my snowblower's fuel system? Or, maybe it's just "aging" (of the snowblower that is).
  • jkinzeljkinzel Member Posts: 735
    May I blame E10 for the gasoline leaking from somewhere in my snowblower's fuel system?

    It certainly is not out of the realm of possibilities. E10 has caused many problems with pleasure boat fuel systems.
  • duke23duke23 Member Posts: 488
    texases, we must refrain from such posting. Verily G has his facts at hand but who are we ?
    Poor Texans that are only the second largest crude producers in the country. What knowledge have we against our most informed brethren from the NE ? Be not easily deviated from your position. Btw how did wti close? The stars at night, one of 5 states that have no state income tax.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,646
    Sorry, Duke, you've lost me... :confuse:
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    I would like to see a an unbiased source that tells IF we have imported any less oil with the 9 billion barrels of ethanol produced this year. My guess is it takes as much fossil fuel to produce as we get back. In school it was referred to as busy work.

    Jeremy Susac, director of Florida's Energy Office, stands behind the state's investment. He thinks the latest science is flawed and that ethanol offers deep cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions. Even if ethanol turns out to be a major polluter, he'd still back it.

    This guy doesn't care if it is a big polluter. He probably has a fat cat job promoting ethanol.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    Verasun Files for Bankruptcy Protection.

    And that is WITH all the subsidies. Put a fork in it.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,646
    Verasun's not the only one in trouble - many ethanol makers bet on high corn prices, locked in corn contracts at those prices, and are now have to pay prices that guarantee losses when they sell the ethanol at the current low prices. Automatic bankruptcy!
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Hang onto your wallets folks. We the Federal Government guaranteed those loans to build all those Ethanol Plants. Part of the 2005 Energy bill. It was a giant scam and we will be paying the bill. ADM and VeraSun have probably skimmed Billions and will leave US with a bunch of Rusting ethanol plants across the country.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    I almost hate to give you an easy one but you predicted as much a good year - and probably longer - ago. Not that the current situation took much predicting - we had the same model 30 years ago and it did the same thing.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    Thank you. And I try to learn from history. I wish our politicians would do likewise.

    I do hope that the low priced oil will not lull us into thinking we do not need alternatives. Just more research before we throw big money at the solutions.
  • duke23duke23 Member Posts: 488
    drmike wrote:
    "What's it going to take? $4 gas? $5 gas? I'll tell you what it's going to take.

    It's going to take the refusal on the part of the US electorate to elect politicians who will risk the economic security of this country by continuing to hold up safe US oil extraction and refining from known reserves and/or shale, thus making us continually dependent on our enemies in the Middle East, and the election of politicians who are not in the pockets of the farm subsidy/ethanol wacko crowd. "
    Thank You Sir. I am compelled to quote the great Samuel Clemens colloquially known as Mark Twain who stated: Politics, From the Greek word Poly meaning many and from Tics, (mis-spelling intentional ) meaning a small viscious blood sucking insect. In total agreement with your post as well as with my brother in laissez faire, g who has stated in very succinct terms the economic concept of comparative advantage which states that they who can produce a good at least cost should produce it. My apologies in advance to the good lawyers in this forum but I have a feeling you'll agree, regarding our elected officials, ( again transposition intentional), They know not their hole from an [non-permissible content removed] in the ground.
  • dtownfbdtownfb Member Posts: 2,918
    We can add it to the banks and mortgages we own. Nice prediction, gagrice. Although maybe we can find a place for ethanol since we already invested in it.
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    We will end up with a bunch of old Corn Stills. I think it will be a case of throwing good money after bad. Be interesting to see how it all turns out. The Ethanol mandate is still in place. How will the gas people comply if the stills are shut down? Or the corn farmers switch back to crops that pay the bills?
  • duke23duke23 Member Posts: 488
    "Be interesting to see how it all turns out. The Ethanol mandate is still in place. How will the gas people comply if the stills are shut down? Or the corn farmers switch back to crops that pay the bills " ? Sadly I think the status quo remains in place. Since the vaunted one embraces alternative fuels/ energy, this scam sadly remains even without economic viability.
    On the other hand, it's good to be ADM. link title . Looks like they have their lobbying work cut out for them.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    What exactly is ethanol saving me? I'm taking roughly a 10% hit in mileage on both my vehicles now that all my area gas stations are on the ethanol kick. So while they're stretched my fuel by 10% by adding ethanol, I have to buy 10% more of it to complete the same travel.

    Silly me. I should see the positive side of that right? :confuse:
  • gagricegagrice Member Posts: 31,450
    it's good to be ADM.

    If ADM is doing well what happened to VeraSun? Looks like someone took pity on them.

    SIOUX FALLS, S.D. » Ethanol producer VeraSun Energy Corp. said Monday it received commitments for up to $215 million in debtor-in-possession financing to pay bills after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last weekend.

    I'm sure it is our tax money that is backing this up. I have no idea what debtor-in -possession means.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    Debtor-in-possession means that the person or company filing bankruptcy is still in possession of property that a creditor has a lein on.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,646
    Having worked with bankruptcy courts regarding oil companies that went bankrupt (it happens!), Chapter 11 probably gives VeraSun the right to void its previous contracts (here, for high-priced corn), making it attractive to banks for loans (they'd be first in line, before any stockholders).
  • pafromflpafromfl Member Posts: 47
    What exactly is ethanol saving me? ...

    I previously reported a 7% gas mileage degradation when using E-10 for my BMW 330i and 10% for my Chrysler 300C Hemi. Since then I’ve acquired a Saturn Astra XE that also loses about 10%. Modern fuel-efficient engines are optimized for pure gasoline, and are more sensitive to bad fuel. Hopefully the ethanol is not causing damage. The ethanol in E-10 is useless, wastes diesel fuel for production and transportation, depletes the Midwest aquifers, destroys older boats and weed whackers, and drives up food prices. Why are the news reporters ignoring this? I’m not a big fan of class-action lawsuits, but something needs to be done about this scam. :mad:
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372
    I'm really curious about how many complaints on the forums, across all makes and models, about new cars not getting near the EPA estimated mileage numbers are due to ethanol-blended fuel. I know that driving conditions and styles are a large component, but I'm suddenly getting mileages that people complained about and the ethanol is the only change.

    It IS a bit frustrating.
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    What exactly is ethanol saving me? I'm taking roughly a 10% hit in mileage on both my vehicles now that all my area gas stations are on the ethanol kick. So while they're stretched my fuel by 10% by adding ethanol, I have to buy 10% more of it to complete the same travel.

    Silly me. I should see the positive side of that right?

    Oh, good. Glad to see you understand...
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • texasestexases Member Posts: 10,646
    "Silly me. I should see the positive side of that right?"

    Insult on top of injury - the original mandate for oxygenated fuels resulted from their (limited) ability to reduce tailpipe emissionsm which has been put in doubt by a number of studies. That mandate completely ignored any downside to making the stuff, of course. So it seems to be a lose/lose/lose proposition. :sick:
  • fezofezo Member Posts: 10,384
    Yes indeed. It's why you have to honestly evaluate BEFORE you commit to such things. If it actually resulted in overall cleaner air I could live with the lesser mileage but it doesn't.
    2015 Mazda 6 Grand Touring, 2014 Mazda 3 Sport Hatchback, 1999 Mazda Miata 2004 Toyota Camry LE, 1999.
  • duke23duke23 Member Posts: 488
    g : wrote :
    "If ADM is doing well what happened to VeraSun? Looks like someone took pity on them" PF is correct, Hey, I had a pair of them!
    It sucks to be lowly capitalized but it's good to be ADM. $215 m speaks of veritable peanuts and that isn't even a typo at good old ADM. Brazilian sugar makes more sense? Gomer Pyle coloquiallism and lobby on.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Member Posts: 9,372

    Nov. 6 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama plans to support unprofitable U.S. ethanol producers and pursue the same policies that failed George W. Bush.

    Obama, the Democratic senator from Illinois, the second- biggest corn-growing state, will maintain Bush's goal requiring fuel producers use at least 36 billion gallons of biofuels in 2022, said Heather Zichal, the campaign's senior energy adviser. The ethanol industry, which loses about 66 cents a gallon at current prices, will receive at least as much support as from the current administration, including tax credits to spur consumption, she said.
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