By on May 25, 2016

Ethanol Plant In South Dakota.

Serendipitously, Sajeev Mehta’s post about the possible damage to older cars from gasoline-ethanol blends went up just a few days after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new mandate to mix another 700 million gallons of biofuels — including 300 million gallons of corn-based ethanol — into the country’s fuel supply.

The objective of the new mandate: hit a 18.8 billion gallon 2017 target for biofuels.

The move has both critics and supporters of ethanol unhappy.

Corn farmers and ethanol producers* point to the fact that the new 2017 target is still short of what Congress stipulated in a 2007 amendment to the 2005 Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS).

The EPA used its authority, written into that law, to temporarily waive the standard.

The Renewable Fuels Association said in a statement, “For months, EPA has been saying it plans to put the program ‘back on track.’ Today’s proposal fails to do that. The agency continues to cater to the oil industry by relying upon an illegal interpretation of its waiver authority and concern over a blend wall that the oil industry itself is creating.”

RFS-by-year

For its part, the oil industry isn’t pleased either. Critics of ethanol as a fuel say the RFS predates the significant increases in oil and natural gas production due to horizontal drilling and fracking, and that the standard is simply no longer needed because of abundant fossil fuel supplies.

The American Petroleum Institute said, “Consumers’ interest should come ahead of ethanol interests. EPA is pushing consumers to use high ethanol blends they don’t want and that are not compatible with most cars on the road today. The administration is potentially putting the safety of American consumers, their vehicles and our economy at risk.”

Chet Thompson, president of the American Fuel & Petrochemicals Manufacturers, issued a statement saying, “While we support the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) continuing use of its statutory waiver authority to reduce the unrealistic mandated biofuel volumes for 2017, the proposed volumes still go beyond marketplace realities. EPA’s proposal threatens to force consumers to use more biofuel than vehicles, engines and fueling infrastructure can handle.”

Those claims about putting our vehicles at risk and blending more biofuel than vehicles can handle is based on the so-called “blend wall” of 10 percent that critics say will damage car engines. Isaac Orr, of the Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank, says the biofuel percentage will rise to 10.44 percent under the new rules.

As Sajeev pointed out, however, the damage to cars from current ethanol blends appears to be tolerably minimal, and not worth the additional cost of higher octane fuels that aren’t blended with alcohol. I’m not sure that a fraction of a percent is going to make a big difference with the automotive fleet, much of which is flexfuel capable, but there are millions of gasoline engines that could be more negatively affected. Small gasoline engines that power lawn mowers, gardening equipment, and snow blowers, as well as the motors that run small boats and snowmobiles, are less tolerant of ethanol. Some owners blowers and weed whackers are used to the idea of those machines being disposable, only good for a year or two if fueled by ethanol blended fuel.

My working headline for this post originally ended “New Rule Satisfies Nobody,” but that’s not entirely true. The acting assistant administrator for the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, Janet McCabe, said that, “This administration is committed to keeping the RFS program on track, spurring continued growth in biofuel production and use, and achieving the climate and energy independence benefits that Congress envisioned from this program.” McCabe called the RFS a “success story,” pointing to the U.S. as the largest producer of biofuels in the world.

Under federal rule-making legislation, the EPA is accepting comments on the proposed changes until July 11. A public hearing on the increased biofuels mandate will be held in Kansas City on June 9.

* One exception is Koch Industries, the fifth largest producer of ethanol in the U.S. The Koch brothers oppose the ethanol mandate and renewable fuel subsidies on libertarian grounds.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can get a parallax view at Cars In Depth.  Thanks for reading – RJS

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85 Comments on “New Ethanol Mandate to Breach 10% ‘Blend Wall’ Satisfies Nobody — Except EPA...”


  • avatar
    JimZ

    a couple of my R/C boats have gas engines with Walbro diaphragm carbs; basically chainsaw engines with water cooling. gas with ethanol will cause the diaphragm to deform and it won’t be able to pump fuel after a few months. luckily I live close enough to marinas, which sell ethanol-free gas.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    Well, the EPA has a legislative mandate to increase Ethanol content to X; you can hardly blame them for congratulating themselves for coming up with a plan to get closer to X. (i.e. Making The Best of a Bad Situation; apparently they’ve learned their lesson by watching the FCC get pulled into one pointless hearing after another for doing something Congress doesn’t like. I could totally see Harkin hounding some luckless EPA official, with a response of “But the whole program is stupid and pointless!” being the Wrong Answer.)

    Really, the Ethanol mandate is stupid on multiple fronts. Apart from the nebulous effects on cars, it doesn’t even make any environmental sense. The growing of all that corn requires significant petrochemcials (not just farm machinery, you also need significant quantities of natural gas as the input to the Haber-Bosch process to produce Ammonia for fertilizer.) And of course you are wasting water and valuable cropland also.

    The “Ethanol mandate” is a “Corn farmer subsidy program”, nothing more, nothing less. It doesn’t save the environment, doesn’t save fossil fuels, doesn’t save money, doesn’t reduce oil imports. It accomplishes precisely zippo other than forcing the corn crop and food prices to be greater than they would be otherwise. (Many farmers don’t even like the program; many of them got into farming to feed people, and it’s frustrating to them that the most financially viable crop is simply turned into fuel.)

    OTOH, we can probably thank the Ethanol program for the low, Low, LOW! prices of cheap vodka. Most domestic vodka, if it does not explicitly state it is distilled in-house and/or from something other than corn, is pretty much universally just filtered industrial Ethanol. (I’m serious; the WSJ did an article all about it, even including the Archer-Daniels Midland Beverage Ethanol catalog entry… something along the lines of “This is the same fine product as our pure industrial Ethanol. Available in quantities from 55Gal to Rail Tanker loads.”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “It accomplishes precisely zippo other than forcing the corn crop and food prices to be greater than they would be otherwise.”

      Bingo!

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        28-Cars-Later,
        I see a lot of negative comments on TTAC directed at foreign interests. The odd issue here is the US is in the perfect position to restructure it’s agri-industry to provide food to the ever expanding middle class in East and SE Asia with produce that doesn’t require subsidies and handouts to keep the “farm” viable.

        Ethanol is just another issue of government manipulation that is touted as if its in the national interest. Ethanol is a political tool. Like a drug farmers are dependent on it for cash. Society thinks its great for the environment and from past paranoid ideals the government uses National energy security as another reason behind the policies covering ethanol.

        Ethanol sounded good over two decades ago, but the world has moved on.

        Corn farmer household income is much than the US household income. The farmers will fight tooth and nail to keep it in place, like unions, farmers must adapt, adopt and change their ways, along with the government and people.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “The ‘Ethanol mandate’ is a ‘Corn farmer subsidy program’, nothing more, nothing less.”

      Almost right, but not quite. Sadly, the extra money never makes it to the farmer. This is a “ADM subsidy program,” which is why they contribute so much to politicians to make this happen.

      By the way, the toll in environmental damage and human hunger to sidetrack this much human food production into fuels is huge, exactly as sirwired suggests above. From an environmentalist point of view, far from being a boon that replaces fossil fuels with eco-friendly renewables as the agri-conglomerates have portrayed, this policy is a disaster. In my view, it can’t end soon enough.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        tonycd,
        Average corn farm household income is almost 50% than the US National household income.

        You make an overstatement.

        Corn farmers are a business, like any business if one is not good at their choosen business, let it go under.

        Here in Australia we have pretty much broad acre farming. You here of “x” generations running the farm and when times are tough the deadwood farmers are exposed. They use excuses of generational ownership to gain sympathy.

        But the reality is they didn’t listen to their forebears, or they just can’t farm well.

    • 0 avatar
      pragmatic

      Bingo, in this case its not EPA its Congress. The same Congress that blames EPA for onerous regulations (that in regards to EtOH are needed to meet Congressional mandates).

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      sirwired,

      A problem with those that perform calculations on the practicality of ethanol is they make the erroneous assumption that the corn grown only goes to ethanol. After being processed for ethanol, the by-product is used to feed livestock. Most of the corn would need to be grown anyway (to feed livestock). In the end, ethanol turns out to be a very efficient use of resources.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        brn,
        So?

        There are easy, readily available substitute feed for livestock. Here in Australia we don’t use corn for feed lots, broiler/egg farms, etc and we don’t have an ethanol industry.

        Yet we can farm as or even more competitively than US and Canadian farmers.

        So, even with your logic subsidised corn farming is still a net negative on the US economy.

        • 0 avatar
          brn

          I was responding to the issue of resource efficiency in the production of ethanol. You are responding with concerns about general US farming. While related and highly debatable, you contradict none of my statements about ethanol.

          Speaking of your claims about farm income, according to the USDA, the average income for a corn farmer in 2016 is forecast to be $152,600. That’s quite a bit more than half of the average household income you claim.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            The average /income/ may be that high, but the operating costs are insane. Net profit is about the same percent whether you farm 500 acres or 5,000+.

    • 0 avatar
      DweezilSFV

      That’s called spin, Sirwired.

  • avatar
    qfrog

    People have been running E85 as cheap race fuel for years. It works well in turbocharged engines with huge injectors due to high resistance to detonation and possibly for the cooling effect the larger volume of liquid has as it vaporizes.

    Hell a couple of model years of the A4 2.0T have flex fuel (ethanol) sensors.

    If your old car can’t handle the fuel then maybe it is time to update it with fuel lines that can.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “If your old car can’t handle the fuel then maybe it is time to update it with fuel lines that can.”

      Maybe the fuel shouldn’t suck as much?

      Maybe real gas should be sold side by side everywhere with ethanol blended fuel without additional price gouging to see which drivers prefer?

      Maybe you should buy us all new cars since the ATP of most of them exceeds stagnant wages and the only solution thus far has been longer loan cycles?

      Maybe you should think more before responding?

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        When was there ever a guarantee that the fuel a car was originally engineered for would be available forever?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          That’s right because capital intensive products shouldn’t have long support cycles, everything should just be disposable in a year or so.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            What about leaded gas?

            (Some) people complained loudly about that, but the predicted “car-pocalipse” didn’t happen.

          • 0 avatar
            qfrog

            A year or so? That is exaggerating a bit much don’t you think?

            Did you also get upset when whale oil was unavailable for use in lanterns? What about leaded fuel?

            I did not say that the non ethanol fuel should be unavailable. Actually I like the idea of having a high octane straight gasoline available because it makes it easier to cocktail race fuel using E85.

            My point is this, no fuel will be available forever unless you are making it yourself from an unlimited source of base materials. Without that level of control you need to be aware that you are dependent upon a large manufacturing and distribution infrastructure that is acting based on things other than what is good for your obsolete car’s fuel system.

            With that said, yes I like old cars and yes I like to see them on the road. So there are a couple of choices, bring them up to date to run on the new fuel (my first suggestion) or only use those cars where a compatible fuel is available (limited places you can drive to without damaging your car). Which makes more sense if you value your vehicle?

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @qfrog

            I did grossly exaggerate for the benefit of sarcasm, but capital intensive items should and do have longer support cycles than something cheap and disposable. E85 can exist but ethanol is yet another distortion of the market as consumers by and large don’t want or need it in their fuel. If some people like it or prefer it, that’s great but its existence makes everyone’s costs go up for the benefit of a small minority of farmers and multinationals such as ADM. I also seem to recall it was supposed to be much more inexpensive than gasoline which has definitely not been the case and probably never will be. What I’d personally like to see is US EPA back off of the targets it clearly has failed to meet and let the whole thing fall on its face. This isn’t the same thing as lead in fuel, there is no large societal benefit – only cost.

            Your point on overall fuel production is well taken, but the amount of pre-ethanol product is still a large percentage of registered automobiles in the USDM. If this were leaded gas and I were defending some malaise era carb’d product, I’d see your point more on “get with the times” as it were. The way I see it, society’s costs go up and private owners are impacted because of utter statist stupidity.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          There never was, but the absence of a guarantee isn’t a window for the government to tell us what to run in our cars.

          What if the government created a law that effective tomorrow morning, you had to run your car on high fructose corn syrup even if you have an electric/natural gas/hydrogen/diesel/e85 car? Would you support that for the same reasons?

        • 0 avatar
          ferdburful

          Bizarre comment. Cars with gasoline engines are meant to run on gasoline. When you change the admixture that much that it damages the gasoline engine then the fuel isn’t gasoline.

          • 0 avatar
            qfrog

            Remember what sony did with Some “compact discs” to prevent piracy? Yeah, they were no longer red book compliant and thus not technically a “compact disc” but they still put them in the market and those discs if I remember correctly were damaging to computers.

      • 0 avatar
        cwallace

        Maybe that’ll come to pass, the states will let retailers sell unadulterated fuel alongside the flammable Drano that the federal government is mandating.

        (But, in a world where the federal government is literally telling the states where their citizens can take a leak, that probably won’t happen.)

        • 0 avatar
          bikegoesbaa

          Just like that mess back in the 60s where the federal government told states what drinking fountains and bus seats their citizens could use.

          What a crazy overreach that was, right?

        • 0 avatar

          @ cw
          I must live in a very unique part of the country. We have always had a variety of fuels to choose from at the pump of every station in my area. I can still by straight unleaded along with at least one – if not 2 – different blends, premium and diesel. I recall years back having the choice of regular leaded, unleaded, premium leaded and premium unleaded. I naively assumed everyone else in this country had the same situation.

      • 0 avatar
        raph

        Ethanol is a cheap octane booster and it is also a cheaper alternative additive in areas where special fuel blends are required for air quality.

        Fuel that matches or is required to be blended a certain way sans ethanol will be more expensive. Especially if an environmentally friendly high octane fuel is desired (if such a thing can be done).

        As I understand it more traditional non-tetra ethyl lead alternatives are still fairly toxic when used to boost the octane rating in addition to the toxic elements already present in gasoline so eliminating ethanol would invariablyou lead to lower octane fuels which would certainly spoil the fun with these great high compression engines we have now ( the GT350’s 12:1 5.2 or GM’s 11:1 LT engines or even supposedly fuel saving direct injected turbocharged engineso like Ford’s EcoBoost engines ) as they would either continously roll back ignition timing (taking a hit in power and efficiency) or would be manufactured going forward in lower compression form.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          If we need ethanol to hit octane targets, then how can it be that ethanol free premium gas is semi-widely available? You don’t need ethanol to hit 87 to 93 octane, it can help octane but it isn’t required.

          What about avgas? Or race gas? They don’t need ethanol to hit high octane with those engines.

          Also, fuel with ethanol in it burns worse and leads to worse tailpipe emissions – especially in cars that try to hit pure-gas stoichiometric ratios which are different than e10 stoichiometric ratios.

      • 0 avatar
        Erikstrawn

        Here in Oklahoma ethanol-free gas can often be bought at the same pump right next to E10. I did the math, and ethanol-free is only a bargain at a 10% premium, but it usually runs a 20-40% premium. My Mustang runs just fine on E10, so for the price, it’s what I run. My Suburban sits for weeks at a time, so we only fill it with ethanol-free, and with a 44 gallon tank the 20% premium really stinks.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      The bigger issue on carb equipped vehicles is that you will need to re-jet them to have them run right and not increase their emissions because they are running too lean. That is a problem for people who don’t have a Motorcraft, Rochester, Holley, Edelbrock or Webber carb since you can’t get jets for most OE carbs now. Back when oxegenated fuel was first introduced in our area the cars with carbs that were stuck getting tested in the time of the year Oxegenated fuels were used could be quite problematic. Sometimes you could run the idle mix at the rich limit and that would richen the no load 2000 rpm enough to quell the HC problem. Other times it required raising the float level to the point where it caused driveablity problems the rest of the time so the owner had to come back and have the car returned to driveable condition after passing the test.

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        That sounds like a huge pain in the ass to deal with and if I had an engine with a carb in a car I’d be looking to convert it to a simple EFI system like those holley injection systems, the ones that look and work like carb with large fuel injectors integrated. By adding a wideband oxygen sensor the system uses a table of target air/fuel ratios to self apply trim values and arrive at something of a self tune that can be driven on.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          And that’s great for people with old cars. But there’s no plug and play system for most old motorcycles, or new motorcycles with carbs, or snow blowers, or lawn mowers.

          You could do an EFI conversion but that can easily cost $1000 in hardware and requires some advanced skill to wire up an engine, install sensors, fuel pumps, and program the ECU. (And potentially convert the ignition system)

          Which is a steep price to pay for this crony capitalism for farmers.

          Frankly, I’d rather just cut the checks to the farmers so I don’t have to drive to the farmer’s co-op to get pure gas.

          • 0 avatar
            qfrog

            Yes it is a high cost to pay. For a lot of old cars that are really just nostalgia mobiles it probably isn’t that bad and it might actually make a lot of cars more usable. Of course some folks would rather distill their own fuel but for the people that can live with the idea of a retro look cd/mp3 radio I bet it would be just fine.

            I hadn’t really considered motorcycles. I figured that I’d be just screwed on my half a dozen or so pieces of two and four stroke yard equipment with carbs.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            It’s not a problem with most old motorcycles. The big Japanese manufacturers have been on top of this for decades.

            Some Ducatis had issues with plastic tanks that went soft, but that’s part of the charm of having an Italian bike. I’m not convinced that this was caused by ethanol. It could just be a poor choice of materials. Should we blame ethanol for their 1990s voltage regulators too?

            My bike gets put away with a full tank of e10 (and some Stabil) every Fall, and it starts on the fourth or fifth kick every Spring.

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          Meh… I know several people who race thier cars with carbs and they do a good job of tuning with just a wideband o2 sensor installed on the vehicle.

          For more serious pursuits a dyno tune would be the name of the game anyways.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            raph,
            We used run a car at the drags on methanol. We ran a 308 with 14:1 compression, even AVGAS with was 100 Octane wouldn’t suffice.

            The 780 Double Pumper needed constant maintenance. Also fuel lines, jetting, anything to do with the less dense fuel required a thorough flush and rebuild frequently.

            The methanol, which has similar properties to ethanol dissolved any sythentic rubber, gasket, seal, etc in the system.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            raph,
            Sorry, I had a brain fart. We are talking over 35 years ago.

            We had a 800 Double Pumper for racing and used the 780 with vacuum secondaries for the street.

          • 0 avatar
            yamahog

            That’s great for people tuning old cars. But it’s a real PITA to do it on bikes, there’s 1 carb per cylinder and getting everything balanced and synced and jetted properly is a whole to-do and you can’t really get it perfect. Give us pure gas!

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      qfrog,
      A very simplistic view of the situation.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    How long before we are back to 25 cents per gallon gasoline and we can be subsidizing 90% of the cost of producing ethanol?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      My understanding is that the subsidies ended in 2011.

      Oil on the other hand: http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/
      OK, I’m not vouching for the article. It may be FUD, but it does bring up the question.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        brn,
        The farmers are still subsidised growing the crop.

      • 0 avatar
        yamahog

        And there is a government mandate to use ethanol in fuel. If you have compelling reasons why a government mandate to buy a product isn’t a government subsidiary for the producer, you could be an excellent attorney for the ACA/Obamacare.

  • avatar
    yamahog

    I live in rural Minnesota and half my neighbors grow corn / soybeans. The only place to get pure gas is the farmer’s co-op.

    If corn farmers won’t use e10 on their personal equipment, why they should get to use the government to foist it on us?

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      I also live in MN and don’t know a single farmer that refuses to run E10. Many are happy to run E85.

    • 0 avatar
      Drzhivago138

      We don’t use E10 because very few (if any) modern tractors run on gasoline. After turbodiesels became commonplace in the late ’60s, it was only a matter of time (early- to mid-’70s) before gas and LP engines were dropped from all but the smallest tractors.

      When it comes to using E blends in older gassers, most farmers will run as high a blend as possible before the fuel economy penalty (measured in hp-hours per gallon) offsets the cost savings.

  • avatar
    mason

    “Under federal rule-making legislation, the EPA is accepting comments on the proposed changes until July 11.”

    Perhaps they should listen to what the manufacturers have to say.

    http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/uploadedfiles/e15_auto_responses.pdf

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      Lets just shut down all these 3-letter agencies that do no good for people or country.

      • 0 avatar
        IAhawkeye

        Ohh yeah cause the EPA has never done anything good for the people of the US.. the people here loved when there was smog and rivers caught fire.

        Give me a break. The EPA is absolutely an government agency that we need. Stop listening to the crazies like Ted Cruz.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          $8 billion annually to miss illegal diesel particulates in the air for six? years, turn the Animas River orange by accident, and f*ck up the national economy with ethanol nobody wants.

          An agency is needed, the EPA we have isn’t it.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            We spend what $598 billion on the military each year? I definitely don’t agree with all their actions, but I deal with my taxes going there. The $8 billion for the EPA is a drop in the bucket and hardly enough. That works out to less $200 million per state. That’s part of the reason VW got away with what it did, they don’t have the money to check every vehicle themselves.

            The RFS was signed into law by George W the EPA was just in charge of getting the standard set up and making sure it was brig followed.

            As for the Animas River, see above. Early mining companies left behind thousands of mines filled with billions of gallons of toxic waste. Those companies are all gone now. The EPA on it’s own dime has to moniter those sites, and evaluate leaks and so on. That isn’t cheap. They made a mistake on that one. It was bound to happen sooner or later. That’s just one environmental problem out of many. $8 billion isn’t nearly enough.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            You sound like one of those who cry about how “public” schools are so underfunded when statistics come out showing how stupid students are year after year, and that’s just completely wrong thinking on such issues.

            The entire federal bureaucracy needs Neutron Jack’d, do not cash paycheck, do not collect pension, be happy if you aren’t jailed for gross incompetence and f*** off. This definitely includes DoD along with all of the other failed agencies, but the reality is it won’t happen – this whole sh*tshow is going to come apart first.

            “That’s part of the reason VW got away with what it did, they don’t have the money to check every vehicle themselves.”

            Speaking of diesel, here’s a fun one I just came across:

            http://allianceforca.org/carb-study-indicates-that-diesel-particulate-filters-may-be-part-of-the-problem/

            “The RFS was signed into law by George W the EPA was just in charge of getting the standard set up and making sure it was brig followed”

            Off the top of my head I’m not too sure, but I was under the impression it was EPA who sets the amount to be used. In theory they could set it at E5 or E15, so if they are just the management arm of a bad law why not crank it down and see what happens. When the ethanol lie started, it was ostensibly supposed to replace MTBE which IIRC was about 4% of a gallon of refined gasoline around 2003 when I read this. Why is it E10 and not E5?

        • 0 avatar
          slavuta

          EPA is stupid. They will report “great success” of renewable fuels but they don’t care that in the process we lose forests and poison land and water with pesticides and herbicides. I don’t even mention usage of drink water that we soon will have shortage of. Have you purchased corn lately? It used to be 5 for $1 Thanks to EPA it is now 1 for $1. Poor people can’t afford food, so they eat cheap junk and get sick from it. Go kiss your EPA. I would call Rubio on them.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            @28CL we could go at this for days about how “the great” politicians in my state have slashed taxes, so there’s no money, and slashed funding for schools. El oh el. No kidding scores are going down, most school districts have had to consolidate classes making class sizes bigger, getting rid of ESL programs and so on. We’re super lucky in my pretty affluent hometown of only 20,000 we have no money crunch at all. But head up the road to the Quad Cities to see the s*** show of schooling Branstads unleashed in the poorer communities up there.

            As for the RNF I have no idea why they chose e10 and all that, this all happened while I was far too young to be part of the debate. As for the why they don’t just ramp it down, the way I (quickly) scanned the article about it, it sounds like congress set an original “schedule” for it’s adoption with the EPA making further changes and adding the blend wall, etc. as time has gone by.. as I said I read it quickly. But the law itself came from George W, and a bipartisan effort in congress.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            Your entirely correct about poisoning the land and streams around here.. the big problem right now is nobody wants to figure out where to get the cash to fix it and no ones willing to budge.. I guess the politicians are just gonna make us wait and see.

            As for corn, my grandfather plants a food plot with more then enough corn for him and his extended family.. seriously we can’t even pick/use it fast enough.. no better corn then right from the field, living in Iowa isn’t all bad.

  • avatar
    Geekcarlover

    The owner’s manual for my car says it can handle up to e10. If only e15 or higher is available, what am I supposed to do? Buy a new car? Replace/upgrade the whole fuel system?

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      qfrog thinks you should scrap them, and replace them with vehicles that do.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        I know. My vehicle’s manual also warns against using anything greater than E10.

        However, my car was built all the way back in July 2014!!! It is totally ridiculous for me to try and keep some moldy antique like that as a regular driver.

  • avatar
    zip89105

    Since the positives don’t outweigh the negatives I say NO to ethanol. Gas in my tank and corn on my plate. Thank you.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Wouldn’t a better solution be to mandate all farm equipment run on E85? Then all the ethanol could be expended just for the purpose of growing more ethanol and so it won’t make it into the general fuel supply.

  • avatar
    redapple

    I have never gotten a clear answer.
    Using E 10 gives you how much LESS mpg than PURE Gas.

    If I get 5% less, what the hell is the point????
    OR
    Is it Higher …. as in 9% or 10% less mpg with E10.

    With all the automotive engineering guys out there this should be easy to answer.

    Of. BTW- the EPA uses pure gas in lab testing MPG. Huh- interesting.

    i suspect it s all just a huge chuck of graft for ADM. Evil ADM.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      redapple,
      The specific gravity for alcohol, including ethanol is lower than gasoline. Also the energy content of alcohol is lower than crude based fuel.

      Diesel is quite high, this is one of the reasons diesel can return good FE.

      The US would be better off using propane in lieu of corn for energy. It will be better for the environment and economy.

      • 0 avatar
        IAhawkeye

        Propane is a fossil-fuel.. using it over corn and over gas/diesel gets you nowhere, lol.

        • 0 avatar
          yamahog

          oh what an ethanol shill from Iowa.

          George W rammed ethanol down our throats as energy independence. We’re energy independent now and besides, we should let the market decide. Besides, fossil fuels are dated. Autonomous electric cars are the future for 90% of Americans.

          • 0 avatar
            IAhawkeye

            I’m not an ethanol shill. It was mandated way before I even started driving. I have no opinion either way on it, I don’t really agree with it.. but at the same time I have friends and family who’ll be directly affected in a bad way if it goes away.

            Your right that electrification is most likely the absolute future. I was just pointing out to our Aussie friend that propane still comes from dead dino’s. In the sense of a “renewable fuel standard” propane doesn’t fit the bill.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Depends whose blend, but I see about 10% FE reduction with E10 vs. E0. ADM is evil incarnate.

    • 0 avatar
      Scoutdude

      It depends on the vehicle. I’ve seen testing that showed that the loss was statistically insignificant for some cars and in excess of 10% on others.

      • 0 avatar
        mason

        According to Honda, E15 nets a 5-6% loss in fuel economy over E0. E85 nets a whopping 27% loss in fuel economy over E0. Every single manufacturer believes E15 may damage certain components in their vehicles, and all state your warranty will not cover any repairs caused by fuel containing more than 10% ethanol. I posted this link once already, but I will put it up again. It’s a really good read.

        http://sensenbrenner.house.gov/uploadedfiles/e15_auto_responses.pdf

        • 0 avatar
          JimZ

          you needed Honda to tell you that a fuel with a lower stoichiometric ratio will get you poorer fuel economy? gas 14.7:1, ethanol 9:1.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Well, I needed Google to tell me wtf “stoichiometric” means. Granted, it’s a cool word and I’d use it a lot, too, on public forums.

            My latest fave is “iliopsoas”. I throw that around a lot during my ortho visits. In fact, I’m gonna use it later this morning when I go begging for more percocet.

          • 0 avatar
            JimZ

            I had someone on another site yell at me that I couldn’t possibly be an enthusiast because I sold my Mustang.

            I look at a lot of people and think “how can you be enthusiasts when you don’t even know how cars *work*?”

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Oh, well, yeah… if’s someone’s gonna claim Enthusiast status… can’t hang that rap on me, though.

            I’m just a keen fan and observer of all major appliances. Sh1t’s gotta work or I wanna know why, in omni causa.

          • 0 avatar
            mason

            If you are asking if I prefer testing from a reputable source over $hit some hair brain spews from behind a computer screen, yes I do. Just because something appears to have an advantage on paper doesn’t mean it always will in the real world. If it did, we would be seeing Kenworths and Peterbuilts rolling down the road with gas engines, eh?

  • avatar
    Robbie

    My experiment with no-ethanol gas from a marina seemed to indicate that the mileage on my car improved by nearly 10% when switching to gas that did not contain 10% ethanol…

    • 0 avatar
      brn

      That’s fairly dramatic, but possible for a limited test. While the lower energy content of ethanol is partially to blame, much of the blame is because your car is [EPA] tested with E0, hence manufacturers design and tune for E0. If the EPA tested with E10, manufacturers would design tune for E10. You’re MPG with E10 would be much closer to the MPG with E0.

  • avatar

    i just wish I had a choice…. My cars don’t care, but I’d like to buy real gas for my jetski…I’ve rebuilt the carbs twice. The closest real gas to me is over 150 miles away.

    What was a good idea at the time is now corporate welfare for Big Ag.

  • avatar
    ceipower

    A cash cow for companies like ADM , and a political snowjob by self interested politians like Chuck Grassley. Ethanol blends have done no real good and have indeed proved harmful as well as useless. Yet another case of money influence screwing the public good.

    • 0 avatar
      IAhawkeye

      I would nominate Iowa as having just about the worst senators of any state at the moment, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst are both unbearable. Ugh. I didn’t vote for Ernst, and this fall will be the first time I can even vote for or against Grassley.. he shouldn’t count on my vote.

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