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



  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    As for regular diesel in the car market, its success or failure will likely be driven by the free market, which probably means that it will be a big flop. There's no free market reason to gamble big on diesel

    The only gamble I can see for the automakers is the transportation costs getting here from the EU or Japan. In the case of the Liberty diesel they were built here. The diesel technology advances are for the larger market which is currently the EU and soon to be Japan. As you have pointed out so well in other threads the Big 2.5 have done little in the way of innovation over the last 30 years. That leaves the door wide open to foriegn automakers.

    If there was a market for E85 vehicles it would be easy for companies like VW to bring them in by the boat load. I am not a big fan of Honda automobiles. I think I would give them a shot if they brought a diesel Pilot into the market.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    The only gamble I can see for the automakers is the transportation costs getting here from the EU or Japan.

    I'm not denying that there will be a few diesel cars sold here, nor do I see anybody else claiming otherwise. There has long been a small market for diesel cars in the US, but it is a niche market with few customers.

    The issue I'm discussing is their popularity, and therefore their viability as a large component of any plan, and I doubt they'll be very popular. They might become perhaps 10% of the new car market (which would require more than tripling their sales), a mere drop in the bucket. Dream all you like, but without a push, there's not much reason for much more demand than that.
  • heel2toeheel2toe Posts: 149
    I think Honda's involvement and their success at getting their diesel engines US certified will go a long way towards determining acceptance by the American consumer. For instance, I am pretty confident that Honda becoming a diesel player will attract at least twenty times the media attention than the continuation of diesel offerings from the Germans. In my opinion, they are about as mainstream America as auto manufacturers come...
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    I could be arguing on my own time!
  • seniorjoseseniorjose Posts: 277
    Having lived for 25 years in South Florida, Mercedes buyers are a very rich lot or a "wannabe" lot. The cars themselves are very breakable and frustrated Mercedes owners are not very happy. The rich get their kicks from "status" cars and really do not care very much if they run well or not. Until someone who knows the business can produce a diesel comparable in price to the gasoline engined autos, the we are looking at a very tiny segment of the population that can afford these very high priced diesels. The diesel autos still use a tremendous amount of oil and wi;ll not get us to crack the oil dictators cartels. If we are at a 1/4 of 1% market penetration by diesel autos now, then I guess we can expect that even a "growth" to 1/2 of 1% will double what is already a fragile and unimportant part of the American auto scaene.

    But we all can't afford the luxury diesel autos that do not solve any oil cartel cuts and so instead we currently have ethanol and all it's derivatives NOW, not in some dream future.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    so I think hybrids are the closest thing to EV's that we're ever going to get

    Really? Ever is a long time. I don't know what the percentage of the population that would embrace EVs is. I do know that it is more than zero because I want one. I do know that the type of EV that I'd be willing to drive has already been made by GM and Toyota. Not NOW but in the past. If I wanted to embrace ethanol NOW I would have to trade in my 4 cyl Honda Accord for either a truck or a Ford Taurus and then drive 100s of miles to find a gas station that sold ethanol. So I'd have a vehicle that got worse gas mileage that didn't even have the range to get me to an ethanol fueling station. That would certainly put the oil cartel in its place. Using ethanol will still keep us oil dependent so the people that drive these FFVs are not part of the solution they are at best a smaller part of the problem.

    I would expect hybrids over time to use their gas engines less and less, which will improve their fuel savings, and the batteries to improve, which should make them lighter and more efficient.

    How do you see this happening when you have already stated an opposition to plug-in hybrids? Without plug-in capability every mile driven in a hybrid, electric or ICE, was ultimately the result of burning fuel.
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "But we all can't afford the luxury diesel autos that do not solve any oil cartel cuts and so instead we currently have ethanol"

    Yes, but NOW ethanol doesn't solve any oil cartel cuts either.

    As I understand it, NOW we produce around 4.4 Billion gallons of ethanol a year. We consume around 140 Billion gallons of gasoline a year. So, right NOW we only meet a bit over 3% of our fuel needs from ethanol. Which tells me that NOW ethanol doesn't do squat to reduce our foreign dependency for oil.

    I've seen projected production numbers for ethanol in the 8-10 Billion gallon/year range by 2010 (is this the 'dream future' you refer too?). Assuming an increase in demand for fuel in this country of roughly 2%, by 2010 the annual consumption of fuel would grow from 140 B gallons to around 150 B gallons. So even with 10B gallons of production of ethanol by 2010, that would still be less than 7% of our fuel needs.

    And you'll note that even 10B gallons of ethanol doesn't even fill the requirements for the E10 mandate. NOW or in the 'dream future'.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    Just a few figures to think about. According to Car & Driver the mandate is for 2.78% ethanol mix in all unleaded regular gas by 2012. That is an accumulative figure. So if we get those folks up in MN to use E20 it will lessen the amount needed in say Colorado. The mandate further states that we will produce 7.5 billion gallons by 2012. From my calculations that will not keep up with our increased usage as the DOE has projected. So that means in 2012 if we are able to grow enough corn to make 7.5 billion gallons of ethanol we will still need more Saudi oil than we need today.

    Add to that if the current price of ethanol continues upward it will price itself out of existence long before 2012.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    E85 arrives at co-op pumps
    STACY LANGLEY, The Huron Daily Tribune

    The Cooperative Elevator Co. recently made a place for the ethanol-blend at its retail fueling stations in Ruth and Pigeon.

    Tim Sielaff, vice president of petroleum for the Cooperative Elevator, said they went on-line offering E85 at the Ruth location on June 7, followed by the Pigeon location several days later. Today, all systems are a go.

    “Our customers can now pull in, fuel up and pull out with E85 in their tank,” Sielaff said. “Adding E85 is a move that I feel shows the commitment we have made to our growers by offering alternative fuels and biodiesels here at the co-op.

    “We’ve been in the ethanol business for more than 30 years, offering ethanol products. And we’ve been in the biodiesel business for seven or maybe into our eighth year. Now we can say we’re the first ones in Huron County to offer E85 retail.”

    E85 FlexFuel vehicles can run on any combination of gasoline and/or E85, a fuel blend of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline.

    Sielaff credits E85 as a move toward creating energy independence in the United States because it diversifies the source of transportation fuels beyond petroleum. And he said it provides positive environmental benefits in the form of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

    “Using E85 is an option. Research has shown many owners of flexfuel vehicles are unaware their vehicles are capable of using E85, but recent strides are being made across the state to better inform consumers about E85,” he said. “We (the co-op) are currently working to purchase several vehicles that will use E85 — right now we are in the bidding process to do so. Our gasoline pick-ups we are using now burn a 10 percent ethanol blend, and all of our diesel vehicles use biodiesel. It’s important to us because of the investment the farmers are making in the co-op — we want to in return do everything we can by using the products and supporting the soybean and corn growers here.”

    The sales fleet Sielaff mentioned involves about a dozen vehicles.

    “We’re working on trying to figure out exactly what we need. Right now our sales people use their own vehicles, and you can’t tell someone what to do or what to burn in their own personal vehicles. We want to have all our own fleet that uses E85. We plan on labeling those vehicles and promoting the products made by many of our growers — promote corn and soybeans,” he said. “It makes sense financially to do this. We will have all the vehicles lettered letting people know they are E85 vehicles — just another opportunity to enhance our growers’ value.”

    As for value right now at the pump, Sielaff said the Co-op is offering E85 at a price slightly higher than unleaded gasoline. He said it’s simply a matter of supply and demand — there just isn’t enough E85 to go around.

    One reason is refineries have switched their production from winter-grade gas to cleaner burning ethanol-based summer grades. Nationwide they’ve stopped using MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) and are switching to ethanol, which is more expensive to make and costs more to get from an ethanol plant to the pump.

    “Ethanol is expensive — it’s expensive to buy, it’s expensive to truck,” Sielaff said. “Right now at the pump in Ruth (and Pigeon) we’re selling it for $2.99 a gallon. The only reason we can do that is because we bought some prior to contracts expiring. Today our E85 is very close to the same price as no-lead. But if I had to go buy it today, it would be about 80 cents higher than no-lead. And at those prices I don’t think there are many people who can afford E85 at rack price.

    “We’re doing our best to find the best prices we can. We want to be able to provide this to our customers with the expectation that a year or two years down the road there will be more supply to meet the demand and the cost will come down.”

    Sielaff said that demand by other states across the nation for ethanol is yet another reason E85 is so costly.

    “Right now ethanol is the fuel oxygenate of choice for most refineries in the United States after a fierce battle with (MTBE). Oxygenates are chemicals added to gasoline to make them burn more efficiently,” he said. “The ethanol trend is good news for Michigan, because it is expected to create hundreds of jobs and spur millions of dollars of economic growth in areas that choose to produce and distribute the fuel.”

    A typical ethanol plant making 40 million gallons a year employs about 50 people.

    Michigan is among the nation's leading corn producers with more than 257 million bushels a year. Currently Michigan Ethanol LLC in Caro is the lone ethanol plant in Michigan, producing 45 million gallons a year. Michigan still is 11th in the nation in terms of overall production — but not for long.

    Sielaff said four more plants are on their way.

    They are Great Lakes Ethanol in Riga, Superior Corn Products in Lake Odessa, Andersons Inc. in Albion and Marysville Ethanol of Marysville. All which are expected to come online within two years and combined produce more than 200 million gallons of ethanol a year.

    “When they can increase the supply, of course the price will go down. Right now they can’t keep up with the demand for E85,” Sielaff said. “We get calls from all over the state for biodiesel and E85, now we can offer it at our retail locations. We can cater to the public, our fueling systems are designed to be unattended to help keep the costs down. We want to be able to set people who are interested in becoming customers up with a card, then all they have to do is pull up to our filling station, insert their card and fuel up.”

    Sielaff said the co-op also recently invested in the first biodiesel plant in Michigan (Michigan Biodiesel LLC) which will begin production in July.

    Located in Van Buren County, it’s a 10 million gallon plant and has the versatility for using multiple feedstocks. Biodiesel is nontoxic, renewable, and biodegradable fuel produced from domestic resources such as soybeans. It is a cleaner burning fuel than petroleum.

    Pat Anderson, chief executive officer of the Cooperative Elevator said “the purpose of the minor investment of 1.176 percent in Michigan BioDiesel LLC is to have a viable interest in the biodiesel market and to promote the use of renewable fuels with agricultural products.”

    “We did this is for the long-term investment in alternative fuels,” Sielaff added. “We actually made a cash investment in a biodiesel plant. There was a limit to the amount of stock that any one entity could own. We didn’t purchase the maximum amount, and we surely would have liked to have purchased more. We feel biodiesel is important — being a totally grower-owned co-op it was important to use the products that come back to where they originate.

    “Instead of sending corn and soybeans away and not getting anything back, we want to reuse the products we
  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    Question for the forum:

    I know that MTBE is being phased out as the favored oxygenate and ethanol is being used instead. I also know the Feds require some form of oxygenate be used.

    But I was under the impression that with current fuel management systems in todays cars and trucks (with O2 sensors in the exhaust) that oxygenates do NOTHING to reduce pollution?

    I found this regarding MTBE:

    "Oxygen helps gasoline burn more completely, reducing tailpipe emissions from pre-1984 motor vehicles. In more modern vehicles, the emissions reduction is negligible."

    So, is the claim that E10 reduces emissions because ethanol is an oxygenate, OR because the ethanol displaces gasoline and ethanol itself burns cleaner?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    because the ethanol displaces gasoline and ethanol itself burns cleaner?

    Ethanol burns cleaner. The mandate uses the theory that MTBE needed replacing while in truth you have pointed out as has many other articles, modern engines do not need an oxygenate to burn clean. Of course there is still many scientists that question how clean is the process of growing corn and producing ethanol.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    Then there is ethanol, the heavily subsidized energy produced from crops like corn, soybeans and sunflowers. Ethanol producers receive a 51-cent-a-gallon federal subsidy, which cost the government $1.4 billion last year, and are protected from international ethanol imports by a 2.5% tariff and an import duty of 54 cents a gallon.

    But it is not clear that ethanol is a good economic or energy bargain. Producing it requires diesel fuel for tractors to plant and harvest the corn and fertilizers, and pesticides to allow it to grow, so it takes about seven barrels of oil to produce eight barrels of corn-based ethanol. But then more truck or rail fuel is required to deliver it, since there are no pipelines from corn country to urban areas, making shipping ethanol about double the cost of shipping gasoline. In the end ethanol may be a more expensive fuel. Sen. Charles Schumer (D., N.Y.) says there is no policy reason for ethanol: "If the ethanol producers and the corn growers weren't benefiting from this, we wouldn't be doing it."

    WSJ opinion
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    If I wanted to embrace ethanol NOW I would have to trade in my 4 cyl Honda Accord for either a truck or a Ford Taurus and then drive 100s of miles to find a gas station that sold ethanol.

    I agree that E85 is not ready for prime time, I've acknowledged this. Please note that I don't see E85 accomplishing much in the near- to medium-term unless production can be increased many times over, something that can't likely happen if corn is the primary biomass used to produce it.

    "I would expect hybrids over time to use their gas engines less and less, which will improve their fuel savings, and the batteries to improve, which should make them lighter and more efficient."

    How do you see this happening when you have already stated an opposition to plug-in hybrids? Without plug-in capability every mile driven in a hybrid, electric or ICE, was ultimately the result of burning fuel.

    As time evolves, I could see a dual system in which the battery is charged by either the motor or household current, but that was not the way to introduce the product.

    Take a look at Toyota's brilliant marketing of the Prius, and it's obvious that using old-school EV technology was not going to woo the innovators and tastemakers, and probably turn them off completely, so it was critical to avoid any overt connection to the past-its-prime EV concept. (For a technology to be disruptive, it has to be significantly different, so associating it with a past flop was the last thing you'd want to do from a marketing standpoint.) But as hybrids become more popular among mass consumers and have no doubt that they work, they will likely then become more accepting of the plug-in as an added benefit to something that they already like. It was important in the beginning to completely differentiate the hybrids from the EV cars of the past, but at that point, the hybrid should be on solid ground in the marketplace.
  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on this one. I believe that the vast majority of hybrid owners would welcome the ability to plug-in and derive some of their miles from grid power. In addition I suspect that there are many that crunch the numbers and conclude that hybrids, in their current form, don't make financial sense. That might not be the case if they could substitute 30 miles per day with grid power, which ends up costing the driver about 3 cents per mile. How much would this feature add to the price of a car?

    I've read about a company that will start manufacturing NiMH batteries capable of providing 30 miles all electric range. These batteries will cost $4,000 and weigh 350 lbs. but they say that the weight and cost should drop as they refine the manufacturing process. When you consider that the battery pack that now exists on a Prius weighs over 100 lbs and costs over $1000 the price and weight difference becomes less. For a driver that commutes relatively short distances every day the additional cost of this feature could be recouped in a few years worth of gas savings. Toyota has stated that they have no intention of pursuing this because there is no interest from the public. I don't know what this position is based on but I doubt that Toyota has actually polled their customers or done much market research.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    Hybrids (at least from Lexus) seem to be getting hotter and hotter every day. The Hybrid Lexus cars that provide no mileage benefit, do offer amazing feats of acceleration.

    The performance lover in me loves this concept.

    But I do wonder what this approach actually does toward decreasing our use of foreign oil (especially middle eastern oil.)

    Now the new $100,000 Lexus hot rod, hyper lux, hybrid is announced and while I laud its features and performance (and recognize at that price range its quantity of customers will be limited), I again wonder what purpose with respect to energy this has. In some way, I guess there is an implied oil reduction, for to achieve the accelerative performance that the 600h offers (for instance) it would surely take a whole bunch more oil fired horsepower and torque.

    Maybe the goal is to increase performance so that instead of measuring 0-60 in under 6 seconds, we can measure it in under 6 nano-seconds ("instant on?")

    Hybrids, perhaps, to have a chance at being successful need to focus on the LPS and HE market first -- emphasizing smooth but brute force performance. Of course, that definition of success really has little to do with reducing anyone's dependency on oil (foreign or domestic.)

    The Bosch link, I left above, suggests that diesel hybrids might be attractive because they do provide "the best of both worlds."

    Well, maybe. But even with a 15% adoption (which despite my personal enthusiasm still seems unlikely -- but possible) the impact is more like three steps forward and 2.5 steps backward.

    Oh well, I guess it will be spun to make that .5 step improvement seem huge.

    Zoom zoom indeed.

    I bet a hybrid luxobarge that can accelerate to 60mph in under 5 seconds would be a rush -- so I guess I'll just conclude with "don't knock it, until you've tried it" and hope someone wants me to try it. A $100,000 car is not the direction I want to go. :surprise:

    Trickle down, anyone?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    A gallon of ethanol was going for as much as $5.75 on East Coast spot markets, more than double the $2.54 that it fetched as recently as three months ago, says Tom Kloza, analyst for the Oil Price Information Service.

    Prices vary around the country. At the SuperGas USA station in Rockford, Minn., owner Cal Ismail says E85 is getting more popular. He charges $2.39 a gallon, 30 cents less than regular gasoline at $2.69 a gallon. Although it's cheaper, motorists can't drive as far. The Energy Department says a motorist needs 1.4 gallons of E85 to travel the same distance as on a gallon of gas.

    At an Exxon station in Columbia, S.C., owner Mike McMenamin says he has to charge $2.76 a gallon for E85, compared with $2.69 for regular. He says he's sometimes lucky to break even on E85 purchases.

    "You can't expect the American consumer to buy ethanol if it's less miles per gallon and costs more. Even if you're the ultimate tree hugger, you won't do that," McMenamin says.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    I bet a hybrid luxobarge that can accelerate to 60mph in under 5 seconds would be a rush

    I think the whole Toyota hybrid story is a smoke screen. They came out with the unusual Prius and have limited the production to keep it from being over exposed. Mainly because it is a "Loss Leader". I am sure they are making money on the other hybrids that have come later. They still only appeal to the techno geek or HOV commuter. Lots of gadgets. I propose in 7-10 years when the gadgets get old and the repair costs are through the roof you will see a lot of unhappy Toyota owners. As an example one fellow posted he was charged $250 on his 2006 Prius when it ran out of gas. I guess it had to be reset by the dealer. Who ever heard of a car that is disabled when you run out of gas.

    I think that all these alternatives are just flailing with no purpose or direction. What happened to simple solutions and American ingenuity?
  • captain2captain2 Posts: 3,971
    the knock on diesels all these years - the clattering underpowered vehicles, the black smoke/odors. The VW Jetta TDI certainly not high priced, minimizes many of those historical objections, and will beat the pants off the hybrids in real world economy. Diesels, in recent years, (and thanks to the Europeans) have come a long way - drove a E320 and (almost) could not tell it was a diesel and it certainly sports the power that folks expect in cars these days. If we assume that there is a 30-40% fuel efficiency advantage for diesels is this not the most logical and achieveable way to reduce our fossil fuel dependence shorter term? The technology, production and distribution structure is already there. Ethanol may be out there in the future and it does need to be developed - but many of us may not live long enough to see it.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 31,178
    associating it with a past flop

    Have you ever analyzed this supposed flop? Take a look at the motivation. First CA mandates ZEV cars will make up a percentage of all cars on CA roads. The Feds toss money at GM to come up with a solution. Very similar to the current E85 boondoggle. 6 million FFVs and a handful of stations selling E85. With the current ethanol price at around 5 bucks a gallon how many people will even consider filling with E85. No dealer in the country is selling E85 cheap enough to make up for the loss of mileage. If it were not for government vehicles using E85 not much would be sold.

    One good thing came out of the Electric Vehicle mandate. NiMH batteries were developed by GM and associates. To me it was not a flop as it was never given a chance in the market place. The cars were only leased in the 3 metro areas of CA. The home hookup was a costly $3000 device and the commercial power locations were riff with problems. To me the flop was a direct result of government trying to force something that was not ready for prime time. It probably set the EV back 30 years. Kind of like the GM diesel engine of the 1980s. Technology advances better when market driven not government mandated.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 13,561
    The performance lover in me loves this concept.

    Same here except when I sit in traffic in my commute I ask myself is high performance really worth it. A car that does 0-60 in under 5 seconds can't outrun a car that does it in 10 seconds in a rush hour grid lock.

    Maybe the goal is to increase performance so that instead of measuring 0-60 in under 6 seconds, we can measure it in under 6 nano-seconds ("instant on?")

    That is rather humorous in itself, but the reality of going from 0-60 in 6 nano seconds would most likely kill the driver and all occupants.

    I bet a hybrid luxobarge that can accelerate to 60mph in under 5 seconds would be a rush -- so I guess I'll just conclude with "don't knock it, until you've tried it" and hope someone wants me to try it. A $100,000 car is not the direction I want to go.

    if you want 0-60 in under 5 seconds you can get several alternatives and save yourself 10's of thousands of dollars to boot.

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

  • tpetpe Posts: 2,342
    GM, Toyota, Ford and all the other auto manufacturers aggressively tried to overturn the ZEV mandate as soon as it came out. One of their strongest arguments was that the demand just didn't exist and they used their sales figures to back this up. So GM leased about 800 EV1s but had a waiting list of 5,000 people that wanted to buy/lease them. This does not reflect a national market but, I believe, only CA and AZ. And from what I've heard and read they did almost nothing in the way of marketing this vehicle. So now they were in the position of testifying before policy makers and stating that over the years they have only been able to sell 800 of these things, which clearly supports their position that almost nobody wants them. In retrospect I think it was unfortunate for GM because it represented an area where they actually had a competitive advantage. I've heard it mentioned that GM has primarily become a health care provider that has to sell cars to finance this.

    One of the producers for the soon to be released "Who Killed the Electric Car" is also a former owner of an EV1. When his lease expired he offered to buy the car outright for $200,000. He was refused and the GM representative said these cars were all destined for Universities and other research facilities. Not the case. They went to AZ to be crushed. In Edmund's article about this movie the GM chief states one of his biggest regrets is dropping the EV program. His opinion is probably based on some insight that most of us don't posess.
  • smatt11smatt11 Posts: 8
    you can get a Ford Focus ~$25k modified by Saleen or Rousch and get 0-60 times around 5.4 seconds. Rousch and Saleen have much higher quality than Toyota as well.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    Have you ever analyzed this supposed flop?

    I have, and the issue has nothing to do with CARB or some great conspiracy.

    Enough of the rhetoric -- tell me a single time within the last fifty years when a large segment of Americans wanted diesel cars.

    Of course, you know the answer: there isn't a single time when Americans wanted large quantities of diesel cars. Not once. Even when the regulations played no role whatsoever.
  • markcincinnatimarkcincinnati Posts: 5,343
    What other LARGE luxury car can do this (under 5 seconds) that costs $10,000's of dollars less?

    My beloved Audi W12 cannot, the S8 V10 cannot. The RS6 isn't out yet and regardless would probably cost close to 100K.

    I was, mostly, joking, since a $100,000 car wouldn't be on my radar screen, unless it was purchased with OPM. Not likely, I'd wager.

    The thing about all these alternative technologies is that to succeed I believe they have to trickle down from the flagship cars.

    The Prius is either the second or third "worst car" in the world based on its DRIVING characteristics, not its DRIVE-LINE characteristics or "motivation."

    I saw a test report of the Prius and it apparently has almost not capability of cornering at any speed above a crawl unless it is on dry pavement. You couldn't even give one to me, unless I thought I could turn it around and sell it -- and, even then I would be worried that I would be selling a car that would make even Ralph Nader long for a Corvair.

    None of the preceding has anything to do, of course, with hybrid technology. The Prius, if ever there was a car that could kill a potentially decent approach to a problem, is that car.

    Lexus is getting its act together -- it just strikes me as odd that the cars they are putting on the market really can make no claim to improving our use of fossil fuel.
  • socala4socala4 Posts: 2,427
    I believe that the vast majority of hybrid owners would welcome the ability to plug-in and derive some of their miles from grid power.

    At this point, I'd say that it's true today for the Prius, and probably will soon be true for the more conventional cars. If it didn't have any accompanying downsides, you could probably introduce them in the next generation and gain consumer acceptance.

    It has been, in part, an issue of timing, it would have been too soon to do it before the product gained popularity. But now that the product has generated both buzz and actual sales in significant numbers, the tie-in to older EV's is not as risky, and may even be a plus.

    There is a company that will be introducting a conversion package in the UK, but it is expensive (well over US$20k at introduction) and requires extra batteries. They are reporting getting over 105 mpg (US gallons) with this in place. Could be an interesting prototype, if it works.
  • smatt11smatt11 Posts: 8
    I do not believe any of the articles I read from authors that are not using e85 themselves. Their writings just do not match my real world facts. They always find the one station owner that cannot make a profit on e85, and has to seel it for $5/gal, and a couple of car owners that say thier mileage is terrible. I have a good feeling these owners or writers are lying, because a number of Ford and Chevy vehicles are difficult to start when running e85. This fact is never mentioned, and I would think more important than a minor drop in efficiency (which by the way is pretty much eliminated when using a turbo or supersharger on the engine). If you are against e85, I recommend dropping the mileage debate and move on to more pratical items such as transportation of the fuel.

    Maybe it is different on the coasts where e85 is scarce, but in MN, we have over 100 stations. I even found one in Cohasset, population 2476, right on US hwy 2.

    In my neighborhood it is $2.39 for a gallon of e85 and $2.85 for gas. It was better in Cohasset where e85 was

    My Taurus gets 20mpg on e85, 22 mpg on gas. that is 1.1 gallons of e85 for every gallon of gas, so I am saving about $0.22 for every gallon of e85 I am using. Gas would have to be 2.63 (2.39*1.1) for me to break even.

    Since I am saving $0.22 per gallon, I am saving a lot of money...$165 this year alone (or five tanks of gas). I have driven over 15k miles with e85 and ~10k miles on gas (before I knew it could use e85), so I know the mileage numbers are very accurate.

    The only problem I have ever had is the octane rating is over 100 for e85, and the Taurus's computer is such a piece of crap (it is a Ford) it cannot tell that the octane is so much higher than 87, so it takes a couple of cranks to start. However, once it starts, it runs fine.
  • snakeweaselsnakeweasel a Certified Edmunds Poster.Posts: 13,561
    What other LARGE luxury car can do this (under 5 seconds) that costs $10,000's of dollars less?

    My beloved Audi W12 cannot, the S8 V10 cannot. The RS6 isn't out yet and regardless would probably cost close to 100K.

    I am surprised an Audi W12 cannot. Anyway my Caddy can beat 5 seconds (but its an entry level size and not "large" and is in the low $50's) and I know that the STS-V can also beat that mark too and thats only $75K. I would expect the BMW 7 series to be in that area and the start in the low $70's. And I do believe that MB has a few AMG's that can do it starting in the low $80's (but not sure if they are considered full size).

    2008 Sebring Ragtop, 2011 Hyundai Sonata.

This discussion has been closed.