E85 Boondoggle of the Day: "U.S. Taxpayers Subsidize Ethanol to the Tune of 51 Cents a Gallon"
"Some people may buy E85 because it burns cleaner than gasoline, while others may want to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil," American Automobile Association (AAA) spokesman Eric Escudero told The Denver Post. "But to succeed, the fuel needs to offer drivers an economic incentive, something it has failed to do even after the surge in gasoline prices." Yes there is that.The trip-A is now monitoring and listing E85 prices nationwide. And here's the really sucky part (if you're an ethanol producer): they're adjusting E85 prices to take into account its relative lack of energy efficiency. "After adjusting for its lower energy content, E85 cost an average of $4.32 a gallon in the U.S. on Friday versus $3.96 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline." Oh dear. In fact, E85's rep is now so bad that the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association is playing pig pile on ethanol. "E85 is not the silver bullet, it is the red herring," claims Prez Charles Drevna. No really. "U.S. taxpayers subsidize ethanol to the tune of 51 cents a gallon, and the fuel provides significantly lower mileage. If that E85 is not 25 percent to 33 percent less than… regular gasoline, you are getting snookered." Snookered? I think there's a better word for it.
http://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/byfueltype.htm Says here you'll save $ and reduce your carbon footprint by using E85. Better yet, ask somebody that actually uses the stuff.
The fact that E-85 is so expensive proves only one thing: the sellers don't really want to sell it. I suppose there is plenty of demand in the regular gas market to sell all ethanol produced. We will need to wait for a situation of oversupply of ethanol for E-85 prices to come crashing down.
No, E85 has a higher octane rating than gasoline. If I remember correctly, ethanol has an octane rating of ~110. And the reason the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association wants to kill E85? They can buy ethanol cheaper than they can make gasoline so they mix ethanol to make premium fuel. So if E85 goes away, the price of ethanol goes down and they make more money. And I can buy E85 for $2.65 (in the heart of corn country); that's about $3.53/energy content (33% less energy).
unfortunately, next to nobody takes advantage of E85's octane advantage. If engine management could adjust timing you would see MORE power as a result of that lowered efficiency - a worthy exchange in my eyes. Even better - turbo cars could run more timing AND more boost (safely) - you'd see probably 50-100 hp gains (most turbo cars today see 50 hp with the addition of a 93 octane chip as is).