By on May 14, 2011

TTAC has paid close attention to the fortunes of ethanol in the United States, where grossly wasteful subsidies have forced the corn-derived fuel into the fuel supply in growing percentages, drawing backlash from small but vocal portions of the population. But much of the ethanol ire is directed at higher blends like the recently-approved E15 and the increasingly-unpopular E85 mixtures. Meanwhile, most Americans regularly fill up their tanks with E10, which has become standard at pumps across the nation. But in Germany, where E10 was only just introduced, people are rejecting the low-ethanol blend that even the most vocal American ethanol opponents use every day. Initially, the biofuel industry in Germany blamed a lack of education for suspicion of E10, but according to Autobild, some 75 percent of German drivers now know whether their vehicle takes E10 (and most do)… but still, only 17 percent actually chose E10 for their last fill-up. And only 39 percent who know for a fact that their car can take E10 have ever used the ten-percent ethanol fuel. Why? Despite the high level of education, 52 percent of respondents still feared motor damage from the ethanol. Another 50 are opposed to “filling up with food.” Sometimes the more you know about something, the less you like it.

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12 Comments on “Ethanol In Germany: Education Is Not The Answer...”


  • avatar
    sitting@home

    From the chart I am guessing that 58% of people are buying 5% Ethanol blend because that is what is mostly available. So while the numbers may be different the situation is the same as in the USA.

    • 0 avatar
      HerrKaLeun

      E5 super has been the only choice in the EU for some time for “Super” (midgrade) gasoline. It just was never called that way since there was no E0 so to speak. Same for diesel. all EU diesel has up to 5% biodiesel (the energy calculation for bio diesel actually is quite good, unlike ethanol).

      The reason why “Normal”(regular) has such a small fraction is that the price was only 1 ct less per liter (3-4 ct / gallon) compared to “Super” and often the very same price. At 150 ct/ liter, 1 ct isn’t much difference,really.

      Most people bought “super” (midgrade) anyway and nowadays even if their cars were “normal” cars. Many gas stations only have “super” and “super plus”, which saves them one pump and tank.

      “Super Plus” (Premium) probably is purchased by Porsche etc. drivers, where the manufacturer is too lazy to build a powerful engine, and makes up for it by higher compression so the costumer pays for the added horsepower every time they fill up. The manufacturers always say higher grade gasoline cars are more efficient, but ironically only gas guzzlers use super-plus. More compression actually reduces thermodynamic efficiency, but increases power. (Overall efficiency can be higher, if the added power allows me to have fewer cylinders etc., though)

      I don’t know if the Octan numbers really work out exactly that normal=regular, etc. It seems the Octan number is a bit differently derived in Europe than in the US.

      • 0 avatar
        John Horner

        “I don’t know if the Octan numbers really work out exactly that normal=regular, etc. It seems the Octan number is a bit differently derived in Europe than in the US.”

        There are two different methods of measuring the octane rating of a fuel, Research and Motor. The Research method generally returns a higher number for a given fuel than does the Motor method.

        Most of the world references the Research number, while the US, Brazil and a few other places list the average of the two figures on the pump. Consequently, the US style number is generally 3-5 points lower than it is for the samr fuel when sold in Europe.

  • avatar
    MBella

    What about the factor that most “ethanol education” misses. Ethanol has a lower energy content than gasoline, so the more ethanol you mix into your fuel the less energy per gallon your left with. If 100% gasoline was still available here in MI I would buy it, I would even be willing to pay a couple more cents a gallon for it.

  • avatar

    It’s not a matter of availability. E10 gas is abundantly available. People here don’t buy it although it is cheaper (about 5 cent per liter).

    Nobody asked for this blend, only a minority buys it. It is an easy way to show government and other green weasels that they can shove it.

  • avatar
    AaronH

    Why would you choose fewer MPG with the low energy density E10 when you are paying $8 per gallon ($4.50 of it tax…for petrol gasoline that really costs just $0.25 per gallon to produce)? E15 should make diesel cars more attractive in the USA.

  • avatar
    Davekaybsc

    Both my A6 and my girlfriend’s Milan have lost 2-3 MPG since pure gasoline became basically unavailable in upstate NY. We use E10 because there’s no other choice. E10 doesn’t make the emissions cleaner, it doesn’t make gas prices lower, and it certainly doesn’t get you any farther, not even taking in to account what it does to small motors, watercraft, etc.

    As far as I can tell there is zero upside, other than to corn farmers of course. I hope GM are proud of their “live green, go yellow” campaign.

    Also, who decides that 2001, or 2007, or whatever year is somehow “safe” for E15, but the year earlier isn’t? Did the government tell every automaker that their engines had to be E15 capable by 2001 in the late ’90s? I don’t remember that happening. Or is this a number they just made up whole cloth?

  • avatar

    Forcing a lot of the world to go hungry so stupid people can fill their bloated POS with corn juice is idiotic

  • avatar

    Its simple. Corn ethanol is NOT the answer or a “biofuel”. Its a subsidized hoax, conspired by midwest processors, pols and Detroit.

    Biodiesel however, IS the real deal in Germany, the rest of Euro and should be here.

  • avatar
    pk386

    The only people who benefit from ethanol are the corn farmers and fuel pump manufactures.

  • avatar
    GS650G

    Finding pure gasoline is like drinking beer right at the brewery. We The People were not consulted on watering down the fuel supply at greater cost, it was a cabal of lobbyists, the EPA, and lawyers. The adoption of ethanol as the only oxygenated additive came after MTBE was blamed for all sorts of ills. A concentrated campaign left refiners unable to use anything else. Big Corn celebrated the day Congress refused to offer legal protection for using MTBE after 15 years of mandating it under the clean air act.

    Essentially we are powerless to address this. When E20 then E30 rolls out and starts destroying your car, ask your representative if they plan to pay for the damage. Should be good for a few laughs.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    We have a choice at some areas here. 87 octane is E0 while 89 octane is E10 for a dime less regardless of the price of gasoline. If it were 5% less for E10 I would probably run it, but since I get 3% worse mileage they had better make it worth my while to use it. Other stations here proudly proclaim the 92 octane hs no ethanol added so it is safe for your “toys” and lawn equipment.


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