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Thread: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

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    The Disappearance of our Hobby?


    I ran across the following editorial from Brian Brennan of Street Rodder fame. This editorial was printed in the current July 2012 issue of Street Rodder. You may ask; "Why would this editorial be in an antique automobile web site"? I have said more than once that All Automotive Hobbyists, regardless of leanings, had better work together to protect ourselves, and our hobby. Without a united front we will not survive. Governments need money and they do not care where it comes from. If this serious legislation passes in California, it will surely work its way back east.

    I appreciate so much that Mr. Brennan has allowed us to reprint his editorial and help spread the word. Wayne


    For Starters

    The Disappearance of the American hot rod

    By Brian Brennan

    The American hot rod is under attack and there’s nothing we can do about it. A provocative statement and one that needs proof (or maybe you are hoping there isn’t). You ask how the American hot rod is coming under attack.
    For starters, there are four major points of attack. We begin with the most highly visible and most frequently spoken—registration and emission standards. Next up the noise issue—mufflers and the use of drag strips. Then there’s the use of an alternate fuel—ethanol has a known adverse effect older fuel systems (vintage engines). And, lastly and possibly the least understood or publicized—tire aging.
    The hot rod registration and pending emission standards are well documented and if I have to talk on this subject one more time I am a candidate for the Betty Ford Clinic! But all of us know (hopefully!) and have learned how to cope with this aspect.
    Local municipalities are making and enforcing laws (or ordinances) that are closing drag strips in many of the more highly populated areas. Here in Southern California we have lost seven major ¼-mile drag strips over the past decade and at the time of this writing another major drag strip was closed. There is (or was) a popular drag strip that is (or was) part of the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The latest closure has come about on behalf of approximately 20 home owners that have homes within 600-feet of the facility and have complained about the weekend noise. It should also be noted that the area is a heavy commerce location with an incredible number of 18-wheelers truckin’ up and down the roads in question.
    Another attack is coming from alternate fuels. With respect to our hobby it’s the use of ethanol based fuels to lessen the use of traditional gasoline. Ethyl alcohol (aka ethanol) is nothing new as the Model T was powered by ethanol until gasoline was readily accessible and improved.
    Ethanol does have a plus with its inherent resistance to “knock.” Ethanol powered engines can run high compression and gain power. But there are downsides to ethanol that “remove” the plus for vintage car owners. Ethanol requires more energy to produce than it replaces. In the United States we use ethanol, corn-based fuel that’s considered by many to be energy-negative by the time it comes out of a pump.
    The real drawback for vintage car owners or the users of vintage engines (hot rodders) is the fact that ethanol is a powerful solvent. Without the use of additives it will attack many fuel system components including zinc and galvanized materials, brass, copper, aluminum, seals and hoses, cork, polyurethane and epoxy resins. In other words, almost everything used in a vehicle made more than about 20 years ago. It’s also hydrophilic, and this attraction of water causes the additional downfall of corrosion.
    Granted many of us do not have to rely on our hot rods as daily drivers but they still consume gasoline and a rate much higher than the average daily driver. What does all this mean? Our hot rods typically cost more to drive and with the price of gasoline going up (almost daily) we are becoming more aware of the dollars we “pour” into the gas tank. I don’t believe we have reached a price per gallon that will stop any of us from driving our car but I, for one, am much more aware.
    One of the great joys of my youth was to walk the wrecking yards that were all around when I was growing up and look for really cool V-8s. These were generally nestled within the engine compartments of muscle cars that had displayed a bit too much muscle on a Friday evening. There were also the occasional Model A or Deuce. Nowadays these wrecking yards (now called “ecology” something) are few and far between and various laws now say you can’t drop that vintage V-8 into just any piece of tin. In fact, many of these vintage motors have a “hammer” taken to them destroying the block so that they cannot be recycled. It’s a shame, a real shame.
    The last attack is against our tires, well not ours but those that rest at the corners of our hot rod. The buzz term is “tire aging.” This is a process by which the age of the tire is determined by reading the code numbers cast into the tire at the time of manufacturer. There are two codes currently in use; one for tires manufactured prior to 2000 and the one currently in use. The original assumption was that tires wouldn’t be in use in ten years and, hence, since that isn’t necessarily the truth the law is (or is in the process) of being “beefed” up. I know one look at some of the tires I have on my hot rods reveals that six year old tires is nothing out of the ordinary and I would imagine this is true hobby wide.
    There’s Federal legislation afoot that will require among other things for tire service centers not to work on tires that are coded older than six years and for tire outlets not to sell tires that are older than six years. As with many laws there are good and noteworthy points to this legislation. As with many laws there are not so good and noteworthy points to this legislation. And guess where we fall?
    To date the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has refused to impose a six-year shelf life on tires. But you can rest assured that in time this will change. What does it mean to us? Well, should you need service on a tire, let’s say, while you are on the road and it is over six years old you would be forced to purchase a new tire as the tire service outlet would be compelled not to work on your “old” tire.
    Again, there are some good reasons, safety based, for this type of legislation but hot rodders fall between the legislative “cracks” and are swept up into an area we do not wish to visit.
    Approximately three years ago here in California AB 496 passed the Assembly Floor, the bill’s sponsors didn’t have the votes to proceed further and tabled the proposed legislation. It’s a matter of time before they have the votes. As soon as the California legislature realizes that by passing this bill they can then attach a “use fee” (tax!) to the AB and grab a few more bucks I am confident it will pass.
    I would imagine all of us want Mother Earth to succeed over the long haul and that we want our grandchildren and generations yet to be named to have a worthy place to call “home.” As with all legislation aimed at a “lofty” goal we need to be vigilant as we hot rodders are a small and insignificant aspect of the automotive industry and we will most assuredly be “thrown out with the bath water” if we do not pay close attention. SRM

    Reprinted through the courtesy of Street Rodder magazine

    Street Rodder website: www.streetrodder.com
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    Unhappy Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Ethanol requires more energy to produce than it replaces.
    Not true. See: Ethanol production efficiency improves

    ...various laws now say you can’t drop that vintage V-8 into just any piece of tin.
    True. You can't put old engines in new cars, which is an accurate description of many street rods that have no vintage parts in them. Given that modern V8s are more efficient and more powerful, few find this to be a problem.

    In fact, many of these vintage motors have a “hammer” taken to them destroying the block so that they cannot be recycled. It’s a shame, a real shame.
    This appears to be pure fantasy. Engines were destroyed (chemically) during "Cash for Clunkers", but they had to be made after 1984. I can find no online reference to a program destroying engines for any purpose, environmental or otherwise, and no reference to using a "hammer" to do so in any organized sense. Given the value of a true "muscle car engine", it's difficult to believe that anybody would destroy one.


    ===============================

    There are serious problems on the horizon. Embellishing them and their threat to the hobby only hurts efforts to preserve it.
    "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."--Issac Asimov

    "Whisper words of wisdom"--Paul McCartney

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Welcome to the nanny state. The article seems to focus on CA. California is its own country as far as I can tell. Not much we can do about ethanol. Noise ordinances will chase out drag strips. The old V8. Well, there are plenty to be had. Six year old tires? If it is for rubber degradation the good old nanny should put a shelf life on all rubber products found in cars. Would I say our hobby is dying? Its on life support in CA apparently. The other states not so much. The beauty of the US is the ability to move from state to state. One can always move.
    Chris Gossweiler
    1954 Buick Special 48D. It is a 264 and nothing more.
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    I adore my 54!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jWYdKAIQX4

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    There is NO doubt that the way we "play cars" has changed over the past 50 years and will continue to evolve into the future, with an orientation toward environmental stewardship.

    It is true that an engine built to run on ethanol can utilize as much compression ratio as the 105 octane rating can support, BUT this will mean a change in carburetor jetting, internal engine parts, and other things which make it totally unsuitable for any kind of gasoline use (even if the Research Octane Rating might be the same . . . as carburetor jetting and calibration). Even if the engine was using modern computerized technology, putting 105 Research Octane facing fuel might make it useable, but you'll need a steady supply of such racing fuel to drive the car a good ways away from home. Rockett Racing Fuels also builds "real" ethanol, for sale in drums, just like their other racing fuels. "Real" ethanol means that it is much more closely quality controlled that ethanol from the pump or fuel distribution center.

    Engines "sledge hammered"? I've known some General Motors Warranty Administrators/Auditors that'd do that to keep a dealership from disposing of a rebuildable short block which GM just paid them to replace. But not a salvage yard owner who might see that block as "$$$$". In general, it might not be legal to sell a complete assembly from a salvage yard, but it would be legal to "recycle" it "in pieces", not as an assembly which might be bolted into another vehicle to pollute again (as the engine is usually the main vehicular component to caust excessive emissions, which caused the parent vehicle to fail its emissions test and end up in the salvage yard in the first place).

    Tire ageing? In the late 1990s, there was a thread in here about how older tires were more prone to tread separation, although they still had plenty of tread on them. A poster (who self-identified as a BFG tire operative) noted that if a BFG dealer sold a tire that was date coded 6 years prior, even if the tire had been in the company warehouse all through its life, they would not cover any sort of warranty on that tire.

    Back in the 1960s, it was not uncommon for farmers to recycle their pickup truck tires (street tires, not "mud grips") on various farm implements, like grain drills. As long as they held air, they were good . . . even with non-legal tread depth, or tire cord showing. These things might be 20 years old, it seemed, and still worked good. But they were not exposed to speeds over (the occasional) 20mph trip between fields and they were grossly under-loaded compared to their total weight carrying capacity. Sooner or later, though, "dry rot" would happen and it'd be time to scrounge up another used tire.

    "Dry Rot" has always been an issue with tires stored or not used regularly, after a particular period of time. Perhaps the "industry standard" was 6 years before it starts to happen? Still, though, dry rot is not an explosive situation, but happens slowly until the tire's tread separates from the base carcass plies. IF it happens at highway speeds, it can mean a wild ride . . . as I happened to observe one afternoon, at a distance. IF it happens due to a sudden evasive maneuver, it can result in a slowly-deflating tire, as happened to me one night. The same night the original spare in my car got 13 miles put on it, as it had been in the trunk at least 15 years at that time. It's still there, too.

    Now, how individual tire dealers respond to this situation might be more up to their own decisions than legislative-driven actions, I suspect.

    What CAN be a tire issue is related to the rolling resistance of replacement tires . . . and possible ratings thereof! Replacing an OEM-approved and used tire with another tire which has more rolling resistance can result in increased fuel consumption, which can affect atmospheric quality through more CO2 production. THIS is a real situation.

    In many jurisdictions, once the vehicle is past the 25th (or possibly older, in some cases) year since production, engine changes can happen as the owner might desire. IF emissions testing is in place, it's usually the emissions for the "chassis year" unless the engine can be dated to a more recent "engine model year" age, in which the engine AND all of its appropriate emissions gear MUST be transfered to the particular vehicle. In other cases, as long as what comes out the tail pipe(s) is appropriate for the model year of the vehicle, of less, that's all that matters . . . check your own local/state statutes on this situation.

    An acquaintance, who was involved with NSRA at the time that Chevy Tuned Port Injection was a popular fuel system upgrade on older vehicles, told me that he advocated that people build "a generic Chevy 350", which couldn't be model year, date-identified as a newer engine (which it usually was), but to do a "Holley 4bbl, headers, non-HEI distributor" engine instead.

    In this later timeframe, there is NO reason that a "street rod" or "street machine" can't be built to be ecologically-friendly. Aftermarket fuel injection units (TBI or port), electronic ignition system upgrades, OD Automatic transmissions, and wrapped/insulated high flow catalytic converters, with low-drag a/c compressors and ozone-friendly refrigerants, electric power steering steering columns, etc., all painted with water-base paints. Keep the econobox for daily use, then get the high-tech street rod out for the fun on weekends! AND . . . almost all of these things can be found advertised on the pages of "Street Rodder" magazine, by observation.

    Remember . . . the original "car parts recyclers" were "hot rodders" . . .


    We've upgraded our vehicles, in many cases, to deal with unleaded fuel of lower octane than we used to get in leaded fuel. New refrigerants have replaced the R-12 gas. Automotive fluids now need to be recycled, rather than dispose of them "on the dirt". And tires might have some sort of "recycling fee", as automotive batteries, attached to the sale of replacements for them. There are also ways to get around the lower zddp levels in many motor oils, too, just as there are a growing multitude of fuel additives to help deal with ethanol issues. When each of these issues came up, they were considered to be "world-shattering" for some in the vehicle hobby, but we found ways to deal with them, over time. There were some bumpy times, but they became smoothed out as new chemistries and technologies were introduced . . . although these items made "playing cars" more expensive.

    As for ethanol, I do feel that we need to do what we can to advocate that E15 or E20 fuels DO NOT HAPPEN! Write your elected federal legislators and respectfully voice your thoughts on this subject. Most carbureted vehicles can tolerate E10 with a reasonable amount of ease, but higher ethanol concentrations have been shown to not have a linearly greater reduction in vehicle exhaust emissions. E15+ would require carburetor re-jetting, which would compromise the vehicle's use in driving in areas where E15+ fuels were not available, resulting in a richer mixture, decreased fuel economy, and INCREASED exhaust emissions.

    As observed, Ethanol is a "water absorber", which results in the degradation of metal items which are constantly exposed to it, plus deterioration of rubber fuel system items (seals, hoses, lines, fuel pump diaphrams, and other items). But, all rubber hoses produced since about 1992 have been upgraded to handle the then-new ReFormulatedGas (RFG), which had about 5.76% ethanol in its blend, usually. In another thread in here, a few months ago, a fuel pump rebuilder in the northeastern USA was identified as using fuel pump diaphrams which were highly resistant to ethanol fuels, by their own observation and the observation of many posters in that thread.

    And, of course, with the recent availability of "self-learning" electronic fuel injection (thorttle body injection, usually) systems, with electric fuel pumps, this can be an option with which to possibly get away from many fuel system-related issues with ethanol'd fuels. BUT, in many cases, it would not be appropriate for some vehicles which must maintain a completely stock appearance for national club level judging. At over $2000.00 for the kit, it can be a little pricey, but on a $50K street rod, not a big deal, seemingly.

    On the issue of older race tracks being engulfed with residential/commercial development . . . this has been going on for quite some time. As civilization expands, formerly "out in the country" venues are not that way anymore. What never ceases to surprise me is that developers don't seem to completely educate their real estate customers on what's nearby their new house! Same issues at the old Green Valley Drag Strip in northern Fort Worth! Houses were built closer and closer to the race track. Residents complained about the noise, as if they didn't know anything about the drag strip being there when they bought their new home! But this stuff happens and will continue to happen as the population grows.

    In many respects, a much more serious threat to the vehicle hobby can be zoning regulations and codes, plus the famous "Home Owner Association" rules. The codes can vary from municipality to municipality, so "shop smart" if you're going to move. If you have any kind of vehicle "in the hobby", ensure it is shielded from street view or the view from neighbors' houses. If you want to "store" a vehicle on your own property, make sure it's in an enclosed building AND all of its tires are fully inflated. I understand that CA has some regulations about such vehicles and what might be or might not be stored in the individual vehciles, too!

    I certainly understand Mr. Brennan's orientation on the noted issues. How things were done in the past has evolved into what we now have . . . and to other things we might have in the future. There are some issues and statutes which might be modified to be more hobby-friendly, BUT, at the same time, we don't need to come across as being totally resistant to any changes in how we do things. Best to be capable of compromise and a certain amount of flexibility AFTER considering all of the possible options.

    It can also be good to try to understand WHY the particular statute/code is what it is in the first place. Knowing this particular orientation, then a solution might be fomulated which would satisfy that original orientation AND us in the hobby. Keep informed of what's going on via the SEMA SAN website, too! What you might see happening in other states might ALSO be getting ready to happen in YOUR STATE or municipality! Plan for the future in what you do in the present time.

    Respectfully,
    Willis Bell
    General Chairman, Texas Vehicle Club Council

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by NTX5467 View Post
    As for ethanol, I do feel that we need to do what we can to advocate that E15 or E20 fuels DO NOT HAPPEN! Write your elected federal legislators and respectfully voice your thoughts on this subject.
    Willis, you might as well try writing your legislators and advocate that better iPods & smart phones "DO NOT HAPPEN". Trying to prevent stronger grades of ethanol fuels from being introduced would be like trying to fight the tide with canoe paddle.

    What has to be done is to assure access to fuels compatible with older cars. Just because E20 is introduced doesn't necessarily mean that E10 has to be discontinued. There will no doubt come a day when fuels appropriate to carbureted cars are a minority of those available, and eventually they will even become rare. However if a concerted effort is made the availability of them may be preserved for our cars indefinitely.
    "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."--Issac Asimov

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    I tend to concur, Dave, that "access" is needed . . . BUT we already have "access" to unleaded 100 Research Octane fuel, at many drag strips in the nation, but sold in barrells with NO road tax (just like av-gas is sold, sans road tax). Some specialized auto parts stores also sell the racing fuel in smaller quantities for autocrossers and such. There used to be a local chain called "SuperFuel" which sold the same 100 Research Octane unleaded fuel (at one time, they also has "low lead" racing gas) from a regular gasoline pump, but they vanished a decade or so ago.

    I know the ethanol/corn lobby is quite well-funded, all things considered. But I've also read that corn ethanol is just the first step, with "grass" ethanol being the more desired base stock. In South America, they use sugar cane for their cellulosic ethanol, which I understand is better. End result is that if ethanol production is continued, the later base stocks will NOT be corn.

    I also tend to concur that we need local, renewable fuel sources. But the other side of the whole ethanol equation is that emissions reduction is most cost effective at the 10% level, such that adding more ethanol to the blend results in marginal improvements in emissions reductions, at best. In many respects, it would be best to stop the ethanol progression at 10% (or, hopefully, 15%) due to the cost/benefit situation. BUT, it's not in the EPA's base orientation to be "cost effective" in any manner. Still, it would seem that some sanity in this issue might kick in, somewhere, at some point in time. Perhaps that's wishful thinking, too.

    With all of the legislators who've signed on as "friendly to the car hobby" on SEMA's website listing, you would think that there would be enough "numbers" there to better control the issue of "more ethanol in gasoline"! Many claim to own older vehicles, which would be prime candidates for ethanol-related issues. Where are they on this issue?? [/I]

    In the end, we'll find some way to better tolerate the ethanol-in-fuel issue. I'm considering the fuel injection route. I've also found a website for a company that claims that with their "box", any fuel injected computer controlled vehicle can be a "flex fuel" vehicle. Unfortunately, that won't affect the carbureted vehicles many of us have.

    Somewhere, back in the 1980s, I remember seeing a comment in a service manual or something that carbureted vehicles (of a particular manufacturer) could use fuel with up to 15% alcohol in it. I've also found accelerator pump cups for "export" GM QuadraJets which notes "high aromatic fuels" in the application.

    From what I've seen in my own research, E10 fuels usually cause issues with occasional-use vehicles, but very few issues with regular-use vehicles (other than possible OEM rubber hose deteriorations). AND, I've also found some additives which claim to delay and/or compensate for phase separation in gasoline . . . other than the normal StarTron or "blue" fuel preservatives.

    In the mean time . . . the list of "car friendly legislators" is on the SEMA website. Perhaps they might be some of the first, in addition to your own legislators, to be contacted with your own orientations on E15, E20, or higher ethanol blend concentrations. Plus, deactivating the basic legislation which mandated the increased (gallons) of ethanol put in gasoline, originated during the George W. Bush Presidency.

    Respectfully,
    Willis Bell
    General Chairperson, Texas Vehicle Club Council

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    What is also disturbing about our car hobbies is that the older ones are dying off and the next generation isn't quite as CAR-HO as we used to be.

    Don't know what direction the old car hobby is going to take...
    Custom cast parts mfg

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    Post Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by NTX5467 View Post
    I've also found accelerator pump cups for "export" GM QuadraJets which notes "high aromatic fuels" in the application.
    Aromatics are ring-shaped carbon compounds like benzene and toluene. In areas with a lot of chemical facilities they used to commonly appear in fuel, especially high octane fuels. They were sourced from chemical plant wastes and off-spec products. In Pittsburgh there was once a local off-brand chain (I believe it was Red Head) whose high-test gas was exclusively a 50/50 blend of off-spec benzene and toluene. This is not a cost-effective use of these materials any more, although it is still perfectly legal. Most gasoline was and is mainly composed of chain compounds (aliphatic compounds).

    A few other points:

    Ethanol made from sugar cane is not cellulosic in nature. That ethanol derives almost exclusively from the plant's sugars. Sugar cane is used in Brazil because it is plentiful, grows easily, and is an excellent source of sugar (better than corn). Cellulose is essentially a polymerized form of sugar somewhat like starches (but with different bonds). Cellulosic ethanol depends on breaking down those polymer bonds, and the fermenting the resultant sugars. It is believed to be the future of ethanol production.

    The emissions reduction from using ethanol is mainly a function of reducing carbon emissions. The CO2 released from ethanol was recently photosynthesized out of the atmosphere, making it carbon-neutral. There is a reduction of emissions due to the oxygen content of ethanol which peaks at 5.6% ethanol. Beyond that there is little effect except the reduction of "new" CO2 added to the atmosphere.

    That reduction in our collective "carbon footprint", and the reduction in imported energy, is the main force driving ethanol development.

    Finally:

    Plus, deactivating the basic legislation which mandated the increased (gallons) of ethanol put in gasoline, originated during the George W. Bush Presidency.
    What you're referring to here is the Clean Air Act of 1990, which required oxygenates to be added to fuel to reduce hydrocarbon emissions. One of the approved oxygenates is ethanol (which, if only used for emissions, would only be used up to 5.6% of fuel content as stated above). The other main oxygenate approved was the disastrous MTBE, effectively pushed through by the friends of Haliburton. Today's focus on further increasing ethanol in pump gas has nothing to do with this legislation. We're already well beyond what it required in ethanol content.
    Last edited by Dave@Moon; May 11th, 2012 at 00:21.
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    The legislation I'm referring to is the SAME legislation which gave "flexfuel"-rated vehicles additional CAFE MPG credits for being that way. This happened during GWBush's term. It specifically calls out the gallons of ethanol which must be added to gasoline. When the projections were done, back then, they used data from when gasoline was somewhat stabile in price and supply. AND when GM and Ford were selling Suburbans and Expeditions in large quantities. Getting the flexfuel "adjustments" to these vehicles' CAFE numbers is the reason that GM and Ford could keep selling these larger vehicles and not harm their respective corporate CAFE numbers.

    Now that gasoline has topped $2.00/gallon (observed to be the amount when people started driving less, not leaving work to go to lunch off-site . . . at our place . . ., and looking more intently at smaller and more fuel efficient vehicles) and move upward, lessened driving and gasoline use is making the legislative mandates of how much ethanol MUST be used to motivate operatives to seek greater ethanol blends in gasoline to meet these mandates, although the mandates were figured when MTBE and ethanol were the "10% fuel extenders" of "RFG".

    From my point of view, IF these mandates were not in effect, we wouldn't be having these conversations about E15, E20, or E20+ gasoline blends. The Clean Air Act of 1990 has many far-reaching aspects, many of which have a time-line for implementation plus capabilities of certain regulations becoming "tighter" as time and alleged need progresses.

    http://www.khoslaventures.com/presen...el_Ethanol.pdf page 21 of 26 includes a section on Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) Section 1501 (with "Table 5" for reference) details mandated Ethanol use in gasoline motor fuels. THESE are the mandates I'm referring to.

    Further information can be found at Ethanol Incentives On this page, scroll down to "Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988".

    I realize this is a State of Texas website I've found, but it just came up in my Google search. Still, it seems to be a comprehensive resource for the multi-faceted ethanol use in gasoline issue.

    Certainly, the Clean Air Act of 1990 set the stage for expanded use of ReFormulatedGasoline (RFG), but what's happened AFTER that (mentioned on the above SECO website) were individual expansions and modifications of the earlier fuel standards, which happened in prior Presidential administrations, including the GWBush administration.

    I also learned, this morning, of an API Study which indicated that 70% of the gas stations in the USA do NOT have fuel dispensing items which are compatible with E15, plus 40% of the new pumps being purchased are not E15 compatible. In some cases, it's a simple change of hoses, in other cases, much more involved. General orientation is that any changeover costs will be passed on to the consumers, although I also understand there will be some federal assistance for the retailers to make the needed upgrades. I need to do more research on those numbers, to see if the are "nationwide" or just in the area where some sort of RFG is needed due to atmospheric quality issues.

    Respectfully,
    Willis Bell
    General Chairpeson, Texas Vehicle Club Council

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    No one has yet proved to me we are helping the environment by using ethanol.

    Tests that I have personally conducted or have been conducted by my customers are pretty conclusive that fuel mileage will suffer. How much? We are seeing about a 15 percent decrease in fuel economy on computer controlled fuel injected vehicles using E-10.

    OK, do the math.

    An EFI car gets 20 MPG on gasoline, 17 MPG on E10. This vehicle uses 50 gallons of gasoline per thousand miles, or 58.8 gallons of E-10 per 1000 miles. But wait. E-10 is 90 percent gasoline (or should be, quality control doesn't seem to be a virtue with E-10). 90 percent of 58.8 is 52.9 gallons of gasoline.

    So the EFI car would use 50 gallons of gasoline per 1000 miles if the fuel supply were just let alone; but after all the hullaballou with the E-10 it uses AN ADDITIONAL 2.9 gallons of gasoline PLUS the E-10.

    If this is saving the environment, it must be the new math!

    Carbureted vehicles will not lose as much as EFI (stock), but they also won't run well without being recalibrated. With the recalibrations we recommend to allow the engine to run correctly, we are seeing about a 12 percent reduction in fuel economy on carbureted engines. Why do carbureted engines not lose as much as EFI? Easy, no O2 sensor feeding false data to a computer.

    I am not against progress! I am against change for the sake of change, with NO progress. If the government really feels that ethanol is necessary; how about tax incentives for vehicles which run E-85 AND fix the fuel system so that ONLY E-85 could be used (remember the unleaded tank necks). Getting rid of the lead WAS progress. If they must, they could mandate that E-85 vehicles only could be built after x number of years. Since the newer cars make up the lions share of the market, in a few years the environment would be cleaner (at least of the current 3 pollutants tested, I am not so sure about aldahydes).

    My opinion, but I don't really expect any of our government "experts" to listen.

    Jon.
    Last edited by carbking; May 13th, 2012 at 14:07.
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by NTX5467 View Post
    www.khoslaventures.com/presentations/Fuel_Ethanol.pdf page 21 of 26 includes a section on Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) Section 1501 (with "Table 5" for reference) details mandated Ethanol use in gasoline motor fuels. THESE are the mandates I'm referring to.
    Willis, from that documents executive summary:

    In addition to the above tax incentives, the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-58) established a renewable fuels standard (RFS). This standard requires the use of 4.0 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2006, increasing each year to 7.5 billion gallons in 2012. Most of this requirement will likely be met with ethanol. In the United States, approximately 3.4 billion gallons of ethanol were consumed in 2004. Thus, the RFS will likely lead to a doubling of the U.S. ethanol market by 2012.
    In 2010 the United States consumed 138,496,176,000 gallons of gasoline ( 2010 Gasoline Consumption | American Fuels ). Thus if the goals set by the Energy Policy Act of 2005 were reached two years early, and were reached exclusively using ethanol to the total exclusion of biodiesel, we would still be burning gasoline with only 5% ethanol on average across the country. The national average is well over 9% already ( Gasoline with higher ethanol content getting closer to U.S. drivers' fuel tanks - Today in Energy - U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) ). I don't think the goals set by that Act are much of a concern today.

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by carbking View Post
    We are seeing about a 15 percent decrease in fuel economy on computer controlled fuel injected vehicles using E-10.
    Jon, that is at least 3 times higher than any academic investigation has found among F.I. vehicles. Even if ethanol were inert in effect in the combustion chamber, occupying 10% of the volume that'd otherwise be provided to a fuel source, the reduction couldn't be that high. Ethanol would actually have to inhibit combustion of the gasoline to reduce mileage that much.

    The established standard is a decrease of 3-4% in fuel economy using E10. The latest and most thorough study on this, done by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a sampling of existing fuel injected cars (see: http://feerc.ornl.gov/pdfs/pub_int_b...t1_updated.pdf, Table 3.1), found an average MPG loss of 3.68% using E10, 5.34% using E15, and 7.71% using E20.
    Last edited by Dave@Moon; May 13th, 2012 at 15:06.
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave@Moon View Post
    Jon, that is at least 3 times higher than any academic investigation has found among F.I. vehicles. Even if ethanol were inert in effect in the combustion chamber, occupying 10% of the volume that'd otherwise be provided to a fuel source, the reduction couldn't be that high. Ethanol would actually have to inhibit combustion of the gasoline to reduce mileage that much.

    The established standard is a decrease of 3-4% in fuel economy using E10. The latest and most thorough study on this, done by the Oak Ridge National Laboratory on a sampling of existing fuel injected cars (see: http://feerc.ornl.gov/pdfs/pub_int_b...t1_updated.pdf, Table 3.1), found an average MPG loss of 3.68% using E10, 5.34% using E15, and 7.71% using E20.

    Dave, seemingly in another lifetime, I took a graduate course in statistics at the local university. My college experience was working my way through, so was maybe thirty at the time; and a good friend of the course instructor.

    One of the basics taught in the course was how to sell up polls. In class during a lull in the conversation, I asked my friend the instructor, what was the very most important consideration in setting up a poll. He thought about this for a few moments, and stated: "remembering who was paying for the poll". I asked if he would elaborate. He said "sure, if we are conducting a poll to determine the nations' favorite non-alcoholic drink, and Lipton (ice tea) is paying for the poll, our 'universe' is NOT going to be Minneapolis in January!".

    You are certainly welcome to believe the male bovine food recyclement coming from these government sponsored tests if you wish. I, on the other hand, live with this issue daily in my business, and must attempt to keep customers (both ours and others) as happy as possible.

    And no, the ethanol does NOT inhibit the burning of the gasoline; instead, it decreases the A/F ratio into figures that create more power, but less economy. A byproduct of the reduced economy is increased power. Few EFI owners complain about a loss of power; this because of the reduced A/F ratio.

    Jon.
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    As long as there are girls that like boys with cool cars, our "hobby" will be just fine.
    ROA#14165. 1963 Riviera. Rare "Radio-Delete" model. 100% original, authentic and unrestored paint, chrome, interior, trunk and engine. A true "Survivor". 1 of 158 produced with Option Code T5. Purchased from original owner in 1996 with 18k miles...now has just over 21K original miles. Better cared for than "Air Force 1". Glad to send reference pics on any part of the car to help with your research / restoration.

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by carbking View Post
    Dave, seemingly in another lifetime, I took a graduate course in statistics at the local university.
    I took a year's worth in high school and again as an undergraduate at the University of Pittsburgh, and 1 1/2 years post-graduate statistical analysis courses at Iowa State. My graduate thesis involved a statistical comparison among the rates of slope change of five graphed data curves over time, proving an impact on the reproductive biology of a stream fish in non-point source agricultural pollution. (I amazed by statistical adviser by being able to prove significance at the 90% level, something he thought impossible given the material.)

    It's amazing how much learning and scholarly pursuit can be lost and discarded by the simple act of presuming bias without doing the work of digesting the material. (I don't think Lipton, ADM, or anyone else, pays for study results done by the Oak Ridge Lab. They're not exactly for sale.)
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by Silverarrow View Post
    As long as there are girls that like boys with cool cars, our "hobby" will be just fine.
    Now that's a threat to the hobby! I pick my daughter up at high school every day, and I'm appalled by the cars in the parking lot driving by the kids. For the most part they are the most boring cars imaginable. It may be different elsewhere, but around here cars appear to mean almost nothing to teenagers.
    "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."--Issac Asimov

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    Senior Member Larry Schramm's Avatar
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    I agree with Carbking on surveys. I took a survey/statistics class in college and the one thing that I remember is tell me what you want to prove and I can write the survey to prove it.

    On a continuation of the mileage issue, I took a 2,500 mle trip with my Chevy Silverado truck and depending on the gas fill up(brand of gas), the mileage varied from 16.1 miles/ gallon to 19.3 miles/ gallon all highway mileage. This trip was in the center of the country with no big hills/mountains. I just set the cruise at 70 mph and relaxed to enjoy the scenery.
    Larry Schramm

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    Question Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by Larry Schramm View Post
    I agree with Carbking on surveys. I took a survey/statistics class in college and the one thing that I remember is tell me what you want to prove and I can write the survey to prove it.
    .....so all knowledge is useless.

    Really, what can't be dismissed by that line of logic?
    "The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom."--Issac Asimov

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Jon's A/F comments have been validated many times. E0's "stoich" is 14.7-14.8, E10 is 14.2, E15 is 13.9. This makes E10 have a leaner mixture, which needs a little larger main jet to put things back to where it would otherwise be. Therefore, a carb calibrated for 14.7 cruise would be little leaner than that with E10, much less E15. Hence, the need for a richer jet calibration with E10 to keep the engine "well fed at cruise". Once you throttle into it some, you're on the verge of "the power mixture" and things work better, mixture-wise, but with decreased fuel economy. So, with E15, if you re-calibrate the fuel curve to its optimum A/F ratio, you'll be very close to what the part-throttle enrichment A/F ratio would be, EXCEPT this would now be the "base calibration" rather than the part-throttle power calibration.

    In the earlier 1970s, Holley came out with a Two-Stage Power Valve. It allowed the base calibration to be about 2 jet sizes leaner than their normal calibration . . . at cruise . . . for better/cleaner exhaust emissions. When I had my '77 Camaro hooked to a Sun Engine Exhuast Analyzer, I discovered that the "first stage" enrichment began at 10" Hg, with "full enrichment" at the normal 6.5" Hg vacuum level. Luckily, in my application, idle vacuum in gear was 10.5" Hg. So, in such carburetors (2bbl and 4bbls), changing the power valve and primary main jets to those of the prior specs MIGHT be all that's needed. Or some fiddling with the Carter AFB/AVS metering rods and power piston springs, if possible, to get the rightr fuel curve. BUT . . . once these have been done, it highly impacts the use of the carb with a different fuel than what it was calibrated for.

    Somewhere, in all of the ethanol use documents I've looked at over the past few years, it appears that ethanol-in-gasoline blends are NOT universal across the USA. The percentage I recall is that EIG is only in about 3% of the total gasoline sales in the USA. In the back of the Exxon and/or Mobil gasoline websites, I've found maps of which fuels must be sold where, in the USA. But, mandated ethanol blends first appeared with RFG in areas which allegedly needed them to improve the local ambient air quality. One of the first areas were the higher altitude areas of Colorado, in the winter.

    The Mobil maps indicate where ethanol blends, along with other "modified" gasolines, must be sold. They do NOT indicate where it might be sold in areas it's not required to be sold in.

    Starting in model year 2009, the "default mode" of engine use in GM vehicles became "FlexFuel", making it a standard equipment situation rather than a no-cost option.

    ALSO, in looking at many varied ethanol research documents I found in Google searches, Jon's observation of polls is highly accurate, with respect to how the research documents reach their conclusion . . . in the vast majority of the research documents, the outcome of the researcher very much tends to follow the orientation of whom the funder of the research might be. Still, though looking at their processes and the vehicles they might have tested to reach their conclusions can yield some interesting information.

    One research project, in search of a "representative fleet", looked at the best selling vehicles in the USA. A valid orientation. Many were of particular model years. Almost NONE were carbureted. In many cases, the real physical condition of the vehicles was not really alluded to, by observation. All we can do is presume they were "good running vehicles", not "ideal situations" with recent qualtiy engine rebuilds and fresh carburetor rebuilds, for example. As NONE of the test fleets were completely identical, it can lead to some highly varied results . . . almost as if the fleets might have been chosen to be 90% agreeable to higher blend ratios of ethanol in gasoline . . . but that's another vauge area, too, I suspect.

    Following "The Money Trail" for each research situation led to differing individuals/organizations. And then there was an operative for "The Auto Channel" who openly admitted, up front, that all of the claims about vehicles not being capable of using E15+ ethanol were "defective" and "untrue" (my paraphrasing), so HIS research was setting out to prove that fact (again, my paraphrasing). As a result, the research he commissioned/performed proved his point . . . not unlike Jon's ice tea reference.

    When I see lots of "smoke and screaming/hollering", I usually step back and try to figure out where the smoke is coming from and who's doing the screaming/hollering . . . and why . . . before I make any determination of what the real issues might be. Sometimes, you have to get to the THIRD level below the obvious to really see what's going on any why.

    Ethanol fuel blends, and the RFG before it, did cause some problems in vehicular fuel systems . . . in vehicles which were "ocassional use" in nature. In "off road" engines, many times, I suspect the simple carburetors on those engines (lawn equipment, etc.) used very inexpensive rubber items in them, so they were affected also. I've got a now-three year old lawnmower whose carburetor began having issues toward the end of its second use season (last year)! I also suspect that with the number of off-road engines out there, and carburetor repair kits, it might take more than 5 years to get that stock purged into items to better tolerate ethanol. By that time, the ethanol blend levels will probably be greater, so the "goodness" of that new stock might be questioned as currently-sold off-road engines are needing carburetor rebuilds.

    I don't guess that some enterprising supply company might start making small engine carburetor parts to better tolerate ethhanol, but then these higher blend levels will also need to have fuel system recalibration for these higher blend levels, too. In the end, the real result of higher ethanol blend levels in gasoline might mean a huge export market for used lawn equipment! On our side of things, and our general economic conditions, a new weed whacker can be about the same price as getting an older one repaired. Only thing is that the newer, CARB-certified units have been noted to be "hard to start", moreso than the ones built 5 years ago.

    So, if anybody would like to see the Mobil fuel use maps I've downloaded, send me a PM with a valid email, putting MOBIL FUEL MAP in the subject line, and I'll send them to you. They can be a little hard to find on their websites, by observation. Kind of like their motor oil charts which detail the zddp levels in their various automotive motor oil products.

    The reality I see is that the whole ethanol use in gasoline, with the intent of "decreasing the dependence upon foreign crude oil" is good, but highly ineffective on many fronts. I'm "for" renewable energy sources, too.

    BUT, for the good and health of all USA citizens, I feel it would be much better for many corn producers to put their land into GRASS production for grazing beef cattle to fuel our USA Beef Industry. Almost every health guru raves about how much better for us "grass fed beef" is and whey power supplements (from grass-fed cows) is for us, health-wise. Then . . . put their land up for lease to wind-electricity generation co-ops and such. Even solar in some areas, too! This would put our beef supply much closer to "Organic" than it currently is, the grass would be a constant environmental contributor, and wind/solar would be additions to the existing electric grid infrastructure. To me, those would be winning situations AND job generators. THEN, with all of the locally-available electricity, make those areas "electric vehicle ONLY" zones, for even more synergistic affects!

    Excess grass could be baled for hay, further helping THAT industry, country-wide. Or it could be used in "switch grass" ethanol, if desired.

    Enjoy!
    NTX5467

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    Senior Member Larry Schramm's Avatar
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Define "Knowledge"
    Larry Schramm

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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Dave, all knowledge is NOT useless . . . but as things have progressed, it's been my observation that data can be manipulated in many ways, regardless of how "absolute" it might be. Data from surveys should be viewed in the light of what the questions might be, plus how they are worded. Not specifically in the results they might have given. Seemingly, a further expansion of the "glass half-full/glass half-empty" situation.

    Another observation is that many things we grew up believing were "absolute" proved to be slightly different as time progressed. We were admonished to "not lie", but then we saw adults in movies use "little white lies" in certain situations, which younger members of the movie questioned . . . as if it's OK for adults to do this as they know when it might be appropriate. The art of inductive reasoning has become "altered", in some cases, too, just as "scientists' peer reviews" recently came under fire in "global warming-gate" emails! This has led me to conclude that only two things are really important any more . . . integrity and credibility . . . everything else is open for discussion due to "point of reference" issues. My observation . . . you might agree or disagree, which I respect, but that's the result of my observations over the years.

    At one time, we had a third-party survey company do customer service surveys for our service department customers. When I read one, I was amazed at just how easily it would be for the customer being surveyed to provide an "Unacceptable"-type reply. As if that was the default mode of replies! Not unlike (with all due respect) testimony in a trial being influenced by how attorneys (on either side) might phrase their questions to witnesses/operatives! It was almost as if upper management was wanting to use these surveys to validate some changes they might have desired to make, at the time. Six months later, we weren't using those telephone surveys any more.

    At one time, I had a supervisor who seemed to have read the book "Winning by Intimidation" (or something similar). He didn't phrase questions in the same manner that other people did. If he was wanting to prove something against somebody, if you answered "Yes", it proved his point, or if you answered "NO", it proved his point. When I started answering in full sentences, rather than "yes" or "no", it seemed to derail his pre-programmed script . . . AND was the end of him phrasing quesitons in that manner to me.

    Regarding the "follow the money trail" observation, a highly-ranked lab/research entity might not "be for sale", BUT how the research is configured and executed CAN have an impact upon the ultimate results, by observation. What is desired is qualtiy and reliability of results, otherwise, another lab would have been used, by the research-funder . . . without regard to whom the funder was or what point they were desiring to validate.

    I also seem to remember that prior to the start of the actual research, one of the main points is to state the purpose of the experiment/research, which will give direction to how it's configured and executed. Think "Management By Objective" . . . which has NO bearing upon the quality of the research done. Not unlike "Can we get there from here?" and "How best to do that?" After all, even the most highly regarded labs need to maintain their presence in "the published world" and satisfied customers to mutually benefit from the contracted research.

    Regards,
    NTX5467

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    Unhappy Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    I didn't cite a survey. I cited a thorough, independent, primary research study by one of the most prestigious scientific institutions in the world. There are many such studies available (ALL of similar result), but they won't matter to those who are predisposed to disagree with them. Normally you can easily tell who's so predisposed, because they presume either the same or the opposite predisposition on everyone else's part, no matter who the other party may be or what they say. They'll often cite insanely picayune minutia like the "global warming-gate emails" as if they're MUCH more than what they are. That's just how some people's worlds are composed. To them everything's negotiable.

    ....and that would include this post.

    When people start positing (or even insinuating) that the best institutions on earth (Ivy League universities, cutting edge research labs like Oak Ridge, MIT, etc.) are lying on a subject of their own expertise, there is no further discussion to be made. ALL knowledge has been rendered moot, and is therefore useless.
    Last edited by Dave@Moon; May 13th, 2012 at 23:40.
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave@Moon View Post
    ........................When people start positing (or even insinuating) that the best institutions on earth (Ivy League universities, cutting edge research labs like Oak Ridge, MIT, etc.) are lying on a subject of their own expertise, there is no further discussion to be made. ALL knowledge has been rendered moot, and is therefore useless.

    ...and yet, the discussion continues??????

    I began this thread to establish that all hobbyists need to be alert to the fact that numbers really matter. We ALL need to pull together to protect the automotive hobby that we love. I'm not disputing the facts that Mr. Brennan brought up, just the fact that he allowed us to share them with our club members.

    Let's move on, as we all have an opinion on this subject!

    Wayne

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    Exclamation Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by R W Burgess View Post
    ...and yet, the discussion continues??????

    I began this thread to establish that all hobbyists need to be alert to the fact that numbers really matter. We ALL need to pull together to protect the automotive hobby that we love. I'm not disputing the facts that Mr. Brennan brought up, just the fact that he allowed us to share them with our club members.
    Wayne, to my mind there is no disputing the goal of the author, or of you presenting the material here. However that VERY important argument for vigilance gets undercut severely when it's supported by even one "fact" of serious dispute. Mr. Brennan based his treatise in (large) part on the argument that "Ethanol requires more energy to produce than it replaces.", a position with which no competent professional familiar with the program as it now exists in 2012 would agree.

    This lie, and that is what it is these days, inspired some of the most thorough posters on this forum to expand on Mr. Brennan's position into areas that have nothing to do with driving/owning an antique car. We have been conditioned to fear change, and frequently react badly to it even if it's a lie.

    When making the case for the preservation of hobby, it is vitally important to stick to the facts as they are and not base it on partisan, dated, non-independent, or anecdotal information or "observations". Empirical information exists in sufficient quantity to support the hobby virtually indefinitely, as long as those making the arguments on our behalf don't over-reach and compromise their integrity.

    The world is not full of corn farmers greedily conspiring tho rid the world of 1967 Buicks. Portraying this subject in that manner is worse than counter-productive. It'll kill us.
    Last edited by Dave@Moon; May 14th, 2012 at 10:19.
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    Re: The Disappearance of our Hobby?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave@Moon View Post
    Wayne, to my mind there is no disputing the goal of the author, or of you presenting the material here. ............The whole point of my posting this Dave!

    This lie, and that is what it is these days, inspired some of the most thorough posters on this forum to expand on Mr. Brennan's position into areas that have nothing to do with driving/owning an antique car. We have been conditioned to fear change, and frequently react badly to it even if it's a lie.

    Dave, you have made your point on this issue, as have others of different views from you.

    When making the case for the preservation of hobby, it is vitally important to stick to the facts as they are and not base it on partisan, dated, non-independent, or anecdotal information or "observations". .........

    Dave, I'm not sure if anyone knows what the facts are anymore. It seems to me that everyone has an agenda nowadays.

    The world is not full of corn farmers greedily conspiring tho rid the world of 1967 Buicks. Portraying this subject in that manner is worse than counter-productive. It'll kill us.

    Dave, I grew up on the farm. I know what regulation can do to the small businessman!

    I see that, again, members of this forum have trouble discussing these issues. Ok, I guess this was all my fault.

    Sorry! End of story!

    Wayne

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