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Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:20 AM

Will the New Ethanol Blend Tank My Ride?

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/12/will-e15-tank-my-ride

It's not that filling up with E15 one time will screw up my engine, Lyons said. Rather, the concern is that repeated, long-term exposure could cause the higher-alcohol-content fuel to degrade engine parts like valves and cylinder heads—which could potentially cost thousands of dollars to replace.


The worry is that people will put E15 in their cars without realizing it. AAA surveyed vehicle manufacturers, and found that only about 12 million of the 240 million vehicles on the roads today are built to use E15 gasoline.


Automakers are also warning against using E15. BMW, Chrysler, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen have all said that their warranties do not cover problems caused by using E15, and another eight companies have said using it may void warranty coverage, if they determine that's what caused the problem.

The EPA will require that gas pumps with E15 bear a warning sign noting the blend and that it is not recommended for cars older than the 2001 model year. But what happens if I accidentally use it?


Gas station owners don't like it very much either, because they'd likely have to upgrade their equipment to use it. Nor are environmental groups big fans of the EPA's decision. For one, they note that using corn ethanol creates many of its own environmental problems. The Environmental Working Group also argues that increasing the use of ethanol can drive up food prices, and isn't the best means of reducing our reliance on foreign fuels.

The only group that really seems to like the new rule is the ethanol lobby.

"We've force fed a fuel into every American's car that benefits a few thousand corn farmers and ethanol refiners at the expense of virtually every other American," EWG's vice president of governmental affairs, Scott Faber, told Mother Jones.

Everyone's best advice for car owners? Pay attention at the pump.

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Response to RKP5637 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:27 AM

1. I believe I've read that it also costs more to make the stuff than it sells for.

But it keeps the price of corn up and what could possibly matter more?

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Response to 1-Old-Man (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:41 AM

2. As usual, only $$$$$ counts in USA, Inc. Logic flies out the window in

favor of more $$$$$ for the few. I recall reading some years ago when all of this started that the cost of production and all of the pollution caused during the manufacture of it far outweighs any benefit to the environment. Far more intelligent to me is increasing the mpg with continued innovation in engine technology.

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Response to 1-Old-Man (Reply #1)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:53 AM

4. Keeps the price of Genetically Mutant corn WAY up

Youbetcha. Then they take the chem-soaked crap that is leftover after processing the GMO corn into ethanol -- and they feed that mutant waste crap to beef cattle and hogs.

Disgustipating.

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Response to RKP5637 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:46 AM

3. Whats E15?

I don't remember ever seeing e 15 when I fuel up my car

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Response to darkangel218 (Reply #3)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 09:56 AM

5. It's just becoming available. It's adding 15% alcohol to gas rather than 10% as is

now common. The extra 5% can eventually destroy some car engines and the benefits of that extra 5% in terms of benefiting the environment is highly questionable. It appears to be only benefiting wealthy Midwest farmers and the ethanol lobby in DC.

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Response to RKP5637 (Reply #5)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 10:13 AM

6. Damn.. thanks for the info.

I haven't seen it yet. I wonder if they're going to let us know what is in the pumps? I'm in FL and you never know what you get down here.

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Response to darkangel218 (Reply #6)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 10:29 AM

7. There's supposed to be a sticker on the pumps warning you. ... but years ago I had

friends that knew people that worked at the docks/distribution places that said often gas got mixed up, etc. and that sometimes if short on one blend another got pumped into tankers instead. ... also heard the same from my brother-in-law who knew a lot of dock workers. I don't know if it's the same now or not. There's only about 10 or 15 gas stations in the US pumping it now, but that's going to change I guess.

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Response to RKP5637 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:05 AM

8. Follow the money here

 

Look who is voting for and against these things. Those demonizing "wealthy" midwest farmers need to understand they are just growing crops. They have little control over demand, just supply. High prices have sent fertilizer and fuel costs through the roof. This year was a dry year, but it cost me $150/acre to plant and harvest my soybeans. I lost money this year, and the price for beans were twice what I was expecting, but yield was a fourth what I was expecting. Again, no control of prices on my part. I just grow and sell the crops.

As a matter of fact, the people voting for the ethanol industry is a bipartisan group of senators and reps in the more liberal states. Texas republicans voted against ethanol.

http://politics.nytimes.com/congress/votes/112/senate/1/90

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Response to mgraveman (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:07 AM

9. Thanks! Interesting!!! n/t

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Response to mgraveman (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 11:09 AM

10. by the way

 

I won't put that crap in my tank if I can help it. It's very hard on engines and carburetors. I've seen it myself. Leave it in a gas can over the winter and pour it in a glass bottle. It'll be the color of urine and not smell much better, having water in the bottom of it. That water gets stuck in carburetor bowls and won't allow fuel through. I've started buying Honda small engines because I can rebuild the carb in about 5 minutes, have to do it every year or two on every engine. Ethanol is hydrophilic, draws water out of the air and into the fuel.

It's not as bad in the cars because they don't sit over the winter, but it still has less energy than gasoline and can cause pinging.

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Response to mgraveman (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 12:08 PM

11. Global warming is a crisis.

We must do something.

It doesn't much matter what it is, as long as somebody, in the heat of the crisis, says it'll help. Think it through later. We can always make corrections. We must act, we say, and we must act now before it's too late.

As a result, we will pay more for cars. There's more government regulation of the corn industry and ethanol industry. Price support. And less CO2,l we like to believe.

Now, you may say that paying more for cars, but think--that means more people will have to take the bus. And if they can't be in suburbs, good! Urban centers are much handier and better!

Government regulation is good. Who wants corn farmers and the energy industry to be completely unregulated? (And the straw in that straw man can be fermented for *more* ethanol!)

Price supports just take money from the rich--a social good--and make sure government has some say in the agricultural base of the country. What, you against "we the people," the government?

And just think--if we *do* buy more cars, it'll be viewed as an economic *stimulus*. Perhaps we can have a means-tested "car purchase credit"!

If we wanted cheap ethanol we'd allow the import of more sugar from abroad. This is "I want to be seen as doing good, regardless of the harm the good does" thinking. The lobbyists now are an odd assortment of anti-AGW folk with ethanol producers.

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Response to Igel (Reply #11)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 12:24 PM

12. What are you even saying?

 

Ethanol is worse for the environment than dinosaur fuel.

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Response to mgraveman (Reply #8)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:58 PM

15. +1. archer daniels midland, cargill dominate ethanol on every level.

 

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Response to RKP5637 (Original post)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 01:17 PM

13. Considering the amount of natural gas used in making nitrogen fertilizer,

which corn loves, and the diesel used in mining potassium and phosphorus fertilizer and seed corn, planting and harvesting, and transporting the corn to ethanol refiners, and then transporting the ethanol to planets that blend it with gasoline by truck or rail (ethanol cannot travel in pipelines made for petroleum products) many environmentalists question whether there is much net energy resulting from growing corn for ethanol.

This year, with small harvests in the U.S., and high prices for non-ethanol uses, it makes less sense to me, at least, to require a certain amount of corn to be made into ethanol. Better that it be fed to animals, particularly chickens and pigs which produce more protein per unit of corn than beef cattle, or be made directly into human food like corn bread and grits, if the harvested corn is the type for those

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 03:20 PM

14. I agree so much! When I first heard of it when it started, I thought it made a lot of sense, but

more and more I've come to learn the same as you said ... It's basically a waste of resources and probably results in a border or net energy loss in the big picture when variables are factored in ...

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Response to amandabeech (Reply #13)

Mon Dec 24, 2012, 04:21 PM

16. Actually, this was the eighth largest corn crop ever

... And world wide, only 5% of the corn crop is used for ethanol-- and of that amount, about 40% is returned as livestock feed.

Your points on petrol and NG used to produce corn are well taken, though. That's why under the renewable fuel standard(RFS) only about half of the US renewable fuel is to come from corn ethanol-- the rest must come from cellulosic -- e,g. Corn stover, energy crops, etc.

Big Oil is pushing back hard against the RFS now that E15 has been approved. Our renewable fuels industry is why US petroleum imports are the lowest percentage of our fuel use in 40 years.

The Empire is striking back.

That's why it's very disheartening to see environmental groups and (sigh) DUers sometimes towing the Koch Bros anti- ethanol line.

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Response to farmbo (Reply #16)

Fri Jan 4, 2013, 09:46 PM

17. I followed the cellulosic ethanol issue on TOD and the old Yahoo "Energy Resources"

group.

It was very, very frustrating. Many technologies touted, including some in Canada. I'm thinking that you're not from the U.S., since you use the term "petrol" which is not used here.

As to corn stover, I defer to my late uncle. He had the option of renting the tillable portion of the family farm to a higher bidder, but he went with the lower bidder who promised (he was the son of my uncle's best friend) to improve the soil.

The son went on to leave the stover on the field and rotate corn with vetch, which to my knowledge is a legume that does not require the long-term commitment of alfalfa, which also does well in the region.

I don't think that my uncle would have approved of taking the stover from the field. Why do you? My understanding is that greater humus in the soil is better.

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