E85 Boondoggle of the Day: E20 To Save Industry?

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
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e85 boondoggle of the day e20 to save industry

The Departments of Energy and Agriculture have released a new Biofuel Action Plan, designed to guide U.S. policy towards biofuel development. As Green Car Congress reports, the plan mandates improved oversight over biofuel development, especially in the area of sustainability. More importantly, it confirms that the market for E10 ethanol blends will be saturated in the next few years. Of course, mandated ethanol production levels aren’t dropping to reflect this. As a result, federal agencies are testing E15 and E20 blends, in hopes of proliferating them to soak-up surplus, federally-subsidized ethanol. Meanwhile, the United Nations has a new report out too. “Policy interventions, especially in the form of subsidies and mandated blending of biofuels with fossil fuels, are driving the rush to liquid biofuels,” notes the UN’s State of Food and Agriculture report. “However, many of the measures being implemented by both developed and developing countries have high economic, social and environmental costs.”And will the ethanol industry please stop bleating-on about saving Americans 10 cents a gallon at the pumps? The feds are giving them a .50 a gallon “blender’s credit.” So I reckon it’s costing us– even those of us who don’t use it– .40 a gallon.

Edward Niedermeyer
Edward Niedermeyer

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  • Kericf Kericf on Oct 08, 2008

    That sucking sound you hear isn't money leaving your pockets, it's the vacuum caused by lawyers rushing off to see who they can sue when the class action suits start rolling in from all the cars this shit is going to destroy. Just now are engines being designed to run on these various blends. I guess in a round about way they are helping the auto industry by making people buy more cars.

  • Jaje Jaje on Oct 08, 2008

    E10 is no big deal as has already replaced MTBE which was an additive that was toxic to ground water if spilled. In fact we really should have not pushed the unrealistic agenda for E85 (but people are stupid and will believe anything that seems like a quick fix) but E10 instead to all stations with a slow and sustainable. E10 does not affect a car's fuel lines or fittings, it can be transported through standard gasoline pipelines, and can be stored in normal gasoline tanks and use normal equipment. Since it is such a low concentration, it only slightly reduces your mpg (by a fraction of a mpg) but on a side note provides slightly higher octane (again a fraction of such).

  • Rob Rob on Oct 08, 2008

    Damn it TTAC! I really should be working right now (masters thesis due on friday!!) but I have to chime in on this ethanol thing. I don't care too much about the reduced mileage (of E-10). Or even E-20. I'm annoyed that the engines in my 10 year old car and family's boat might kick the can. What I do care about are the "high economic, social and environmental costs." Especially the costs to countries and people less privileged then me. I'm outraged that the f***ing of the livelihood of others is actually being mandated by the government and funded by the tax payers (me!). Ethanol was a good idea in theory. In practice, however, it has turned out to be disastrous. Instead of further mandates and subsidies, there should be an effort to find something that's actually better for humanity (that's why we're paying for this shit, right?). jaje - In my mind, it's not the financial costs and pros/cons to the end user that matter in this debate.

  • Menno Menno on Oct 08, 2008

    Well, rob, when you (meaning "we all") have a socialist/communist type government (whether the candidate's name has an R or D next to it seems to make no difference any more) and the elite powers that be simply rule like dictators, you end up with an economy like the Soviet Union, where decisions were made on high (and were usually wrong). Thus, we have ethanol subsidized. jaje, I have to add that I've tested E10 (aka gasohol in the old days) in every single car I've owned since 1979, and since the feedback fuel system cars of 1984 on, I've noted a 6% to 20% MPG loss on E10. I've noted virtually no measurable MPG loss on 2% ethanol in my Prius (that is, pure gasoline with 2.2 gallons of E10 added into the 11 gallon tank). Once the solution goes to 3% or more, the MPG drops off to the level of the ethanol, and once it gets to 10%, it drops off significantly more. Ethanol seems to be an absolute idiocy. I honestly think that it probably does not decrease our oil imports into the United States ONE IOTA. As for E85, we "dumb americans" can do math. Putting 85% ethanol into the tank of Flex Fuel vehicles (locally $3.05 per gallon vs. $3.55 for regular unleaded) means folks lose 25% MPG according to "official statements" by the EPA. Do the math. It's less expensive to run gasoline. Plus, being a taxpayer, I really resent the idea that I'm forced to subsidize an industry which I regard as totally wasteful. It's not like I was even given a choice in being able to vote for anyone who will stand up against this idiocy (or, for that matter, any of the other give-aways of what was supposed to have been my, and your, money).