E85 Boondoggle of the Day: Blame Big Oil
Industriainfo.com reports on the largest-ever ethanol industry hoe-down in Nashville. Reading between the lines, the corn-fuel folks are feeling the heat from their critics. Lucky for us, the Renewable Fuels Association blamed Big Oil for the anti-ethanol backlash. "The oil companies are behind it all, Prez Bob Dinnean pronounced. "With the passing of the 36 billion-gallon renewable fuels standard, the oil barons saw one-third of their market share slipping away and concocted an enormous campaign against renewables. They sit on editorial boards of every major newspaper." What's more Big Oil "bought themselves some studies" and conspired with major food companies to create a giant smokescreen. "They need to stop us now," battling Bob told the assembled throngs. "But they won't." To that end, the 2008 Fuel Ethanol Workshop & Expo will discuss plant development, new enzyme technology, water utilization and conservation, and the utilization of non-fossil fuel to power ethanol plants. Hmmm, what that all about?
To all those complaining about mileage being less with E10 and overpriced E10. Of course the mileage is less! Duh. The price is less to compensate. If the price of E10 is not low enough in your area to compensate for the reduced mileage, do not buy E10. Anyone who continues to buy overpriced E10 is stupid. E10 is distributed by oil companies who collect the subsidy in the form of a tax credit called the blenders credit. It is not priced by the ethanol producers or corn farmers. Gas distributors have found that many people are gullible enough to buy E10 when it is inappropriately priced. They collect the subsidy and gain an extra profit on over priced E10. The ethanol subsidy was necessary to buy off the liquid fuel distribution monopoly which the oil companies hold. They have enough monopoly power and political power behind them to refuse to sell ethanol. We are in a post Peak Oil world. If ethanol is shut down, what then? There are no other current liquid fuel alternatives to gas. Think about it.
OK, so tell me how to tell if the gas I'm buying has E10 or E0. If I'm driving down a street and see 3 gas stations within a block or so I can see the signs listing a price but not the E%. If I show up on the lot and get up to the pump I may or may not see a sticker about ethanol content. If I do it will say: "This gas may contain up to 10% ethanol" that is a conditional statement not an absolute. If I take that to mean it absolutely will be E10 and drive to the next station how much gas will I waste running from station to station to look for stickers? I only spend about $10 a week on gas so I'm not too worried about it but for those who are, how much effort do you put into finding E0 when you are in an area you aren't sure about?
E10 doesn't ALWAYS reduce mileage by 10%. Actually, in my Ranger, the mileage drops 10% or more on the first tankful bought after a long period of running pure gas, but on the second and subsequent tankfuls of E10, economy improves to only 3-5% lower than pure gas. Does the fuel system computer need a tankful's worth of mileage to learn how to use E10? Exactly the same thing happens with my Pontiac--10% mileage reduction first tankful-- lesser reduction any subsequent tankful. I try to avoid E10 in Nebraska because 5-10 cents off $4 gas isn't enough to compensate for 3-5% decrease in mileage. In Iowa, I'll bite the ethanol hook because E10 in Iowa is typically 20 cents cheaper than Nebraska's pure gas price.
I think they say 3 to 5 trips that include a full warm up cycle to get the computer adjusted. Now if you don't use a full tank in a weeks driving it'd be less than a tank to adjust. If you do use a full tank in 3 days driving then sure a tank sounds about right.