E85 Boondoggle of the Day: One Ethanol Plant Satisfies The Entire US Market for E85
The United States will have the capacity to produce 13 billion gallons of ethanol by the end of 2008. The United Sates will have the capacity to process 12 billions of ethanol by the end of 2008. Oops! This analysis comes to us from Wally Tyner. The agricultural economist for Purdue University predicts that this disparity will force some ethanol plants to reduce or halt production, and drive down the price of ethanol. Controversially, Tyner also suggests that U.S. ethanol over-production could lead to exports. And this is just E10 folks. During a phone interview [podcast below], the prof reveals that America's entire consumption of E85 could be satisfied by the output of ONE ethanol plant. How many do we have now? 100. Tyner agreed that the American ethanol industry couldn't survive without state and federal subsidies. But I suppose you kinda knew that already.
So here in the south what do they use inplace of the ethanol in the E-10 blend when the temperature is too high? They go back to MTBE or are they using something else. I hate that E-10 crap, it evaporates out of the tank in my bike if I don't ride it for more than 4 days. It make the carb more finiky about the air temp too.
Redbarchetta: ...what do they use in place of the ethanol in the E-10 blend... From what little I've read on the subject... The feds require oil refiners to boost the oxygen content of "summer-blend" gasoline to make it burn more completely, which is why they were adding MTBE. They stopped using MTBE a couple of years ago when it was found seeping into ground water (possibly creating a cause of cancer). When they don't add ethanol (E10), refiners use an (expensive) additive called "alkylate," which is a byproduct of refining. That's my (limited) understanding of it, anyway.
Despite the hefty subsidies, E85 is VERY expensive to use. In my area, real gas is $3/gallon, while E85 is $2.5-- 16% less than 100% gas. However,flex-fuel cars get only 66% of the mileage with E85 that they get with pure gas. High taxes to cover interest on the Chinese-held government bonds financing ethanol plants PLUS 16% higher vehicle fuel expense PLUS high food costs. Are the powers-that-be stupid, corrupt, or a combination of the two? As to the comments made about poor performance of carbureted equipment on E10, I agree wholeheartedly. My lawnmower barely runs on the stuff and I barely get 1/2 of my yard done on a tankful of the stuff, while pure gas gets the job done down to a small "Mohawk" that I leave in front of the storage shed before going in for a drink while waiting for the mower to cool prior to refilling. Back in the early '90s, my oldest kids shared a big boat of a '78 LTD, and then a carbureted Omni. Whenever one of them complained about hard starting in hot weather my first question was, "You didn't try to save a nickel using that 'super' unleaded again, did you?" And, of couse, the answer was an embarassed nod.