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R W Burgess

Important Ethanol Message!

49 posts in this topic

From Tom Cox

AACA-VP Strategic Planning

We all know the problems experienced by old car owners, farmers, boat owners, and those with not so old cars when ethanol laced fuel is used. Currently, EPA allows gasoline to be blended with up to 10% ethanol. EPA chief Carol Browner is preparing to boost the amount of ethanol allowed in pump gasoline to 15%. This is ill conceived to say the least and should not be implemented until research provides cost effective additives to counteract the effects of higher ethanol concentrations.

I would not hesitate to contact my Congressional representatives on this issue , urging them to stop EPA from moving forward. However, since EPA is directly overseen by the White House, you should contact President Obama first at http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact

EPA has what is referred to as "Rule Making Authority", and does not require Congressional approval to institute these changes. Therefore, White House intervention is the easiest way to get this stopped, but lean on your congressional representatives to contact the White House. Please use your own words when writing. Politicians and their aides are likely to dismiss just about anything you send, but they don't even look at form letters...and please be civil, nothing is gained by giving these folks a verbal lashing...you can do that at the ballot box.

Just a few of the problems caused by Ethanol in older vehicles are as follows:

New Ethanol enhanced fuel deteriorates rapidly and leads to the formation of formic acid which rusts and corrodes your fuel system, creating leaks and clogs.

It destroys many rubber components as well which leads to fires and loss of life and property.

The added ethanol aggravates the vapor lock problems many of us experience , contributing to unsafe situations while driving.

Another big issue EPA ignores is the fact that these new heavily oxygenated fuels with ethanol deteriorate rapidly. When vehicles and equipment are used seasonally, fuel often has to be drained and discarded. While its against the law to improperly dispose of old fuel, its costly to pay an environmental firm to dispose of it, so much of it ends up in rivers, streams, and landfills which is a huge pollution problem. Additionally, this old fuel gums up carburetors and injectors leading to improperly running engines with increased emissions. Once again a government program to abate one problem creates more in its place.

Please check out the SEMA action alert below and pass this along to Region and Chapter members, friends, family, and other clubs in your area. Recent input from hobbyists to EPA helped soften new tighter restrictions on painting cars, so this may work as well. Numbers are important. Apathy is our greatest enemy. The time to get involved is now. At worst, you will feel better for having tried to save us from the evils of reformulated fuel.

Tom Cox

VP Strategic Planning

Web link to alert

http://www.semasan.com/main/main.aspx?id=62807

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A chemist addressed our AACA group a while back, informing us of the disadvantages of alcohol fuel (ethanol) aside from the potential damage to our cars, as Wayne states so clearly. Among these, it must be transported to the refineries by truck or train, as it cannot go in the underground pipe system. Also, it requires petroleum-based fertilizers as well as tractors, etc. to produce, costing almost as much in oil distillates to produce as the volume of alcohol produced. Also, it has less energy than gasoline, this reducing MPG. Finally, it detours corn production from food to fuel use. Perhaps others could add to or correct my analysis.

Phil

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Your friendly corn lobby at work! People just thought DuPont had a lot of influence in DC. They didn't count on ADM. My own opinion is that ethanol fuels and byproducts are going to be every bit as harmful down the road as tobacco has been made out to be, but the corn lobby is powerful.

My trouble here is the 5th District seat in VA is up for grabs and considered one of the most important races in the country. The R candidate has ties to the people who are pushing to mine uranium in this county so his efforts are gonna be concentrated on defending that. The other guy, not sure, but he's shown himself not to be a party-line D. So who knows if they'll lean on people to get rid of this ethanol nonsense.

The big problem I have always had with EPA is that it is a rogue agency with no oversight and accountable to no one. It does basically what it wants, and sometimes the consequences are near disastrous. You can count on whatever it implements making EVERYTHING more expensive. Then countries with less stringent or no environmental rules in place have us for breakfast and laugh all the way to the bank.

'Course if I were an EPA employee, I'd make sure I had plenty of rules and regs to enforce too. Job security and all that. I doubt much of their motivation is altruistic.

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Posted (edited)

I thought, obviously incorrectly, that they had more or less brought this issue to rest. The economic consequences, satellite to farming a given acreage due to increased corn ethanol demand, tended to move corn prices up, hence stressing feedlot costs in corn-feeding the beef. I thought it was determined that the advantages gained in moving more acreage to corn, was, after all, offset by these disadvantages affecting other markets! Did I read that wrong a few years ago that this was a consensus? Then there was this bad ass chemical MCE or something, that detracted from what was thought to be ethanol's environmental superiority as well! I would like to hear the other side of the story. There are some sharp folks trying to protect us from ourselves...(sarcasm NOT intended). Maybe my memory is starting to go limp like that other thing.

Edited by prs519
mis-worded (see edit history)

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Water, who needs water?

I seem to recall reading that Ethanol production requires huge amounts of water, enough to suck some sources nearly dry.

The issue was brought into focus last year in Granite Falls, where an ethanol plant in its first year of operations depleted the groundwater so much that it had to begin pumping water from the Minnesota River.

It takes between four and five gallons of water to produce a gallon of ethanol at a biofuel plant, ...

Source: Is ethanol tapping too much water? | StarTribune.com

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At this point these are just questions and not observations. Does anyone have more knowlege about the flame propagation rates of ethanol ?

Only source I found says something that is counterintuitive namely that adding ethanol increases flame propagation rate (thought alcohol injecting was used in the past as an octane improver i.e. slows the flame rate)

Bottom line: I suspect engine control computer ignition maps need to be altered for ethanol but am not sure exactly what changes are needed or how to tell what is needed.

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Posted (edited)

Since E10+ may become a reality in areas already requiring E10 AND in areas now enjoying the luxury of NOT requiring ethanol, I believe it's necessary to learn how to best burn it in our carbureted engines...

BEGIN IMHO: I'm not just 'rolling over' to the powers that be, but just being realistic. No matter how you look at it, our cars represent a very small minority of motor vehicles travelling on the roads today. The marine & small gasoline engine industries may get some attention but our hobby is considered unimportant by many. END IMHO

I am presently designing a fairly simple system which will keep the carburetor casting itself cooler. This will hopefully reduce the percolation which caused some hot weather issues for my ' 84 Toronado. If successful, this home grown modification may benefit many of us.

I will report back (probably later next spring) on my progress.

Aside from the additional loss of fuel economy with E10+ and the increased possibility of fuel system deterioration (not that it's trivial), I wonder if E15 will be any worse than E10 in terms of a still lower boiling point. The petroleum chemists may increase the boiling point of the gasoline part of the mix (85%) to compensate for the increased amount of ethanol. I'd love to talk technical to these chemists.

Paul

Edited by pfloro (see edit history)

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Posted (edited)

I live in Nebraska the state with a ethanol plant in every other town. Almost every gas station here has a e10 and once in a while e85 blend. Aside from all the risks of ethanol you know that the refineries stink bad. but on a good note alot of news has brewed about the raise in corn prices due to corn being used for ethanol. meat companies and ranches complain about the raise in corn prices. corn is everywhere and I drive classic cars daily and my experience with the nasty stuff raises some more concerns. It gets cold here in winter (sometimes 40 below zero in winter). Once I put some E85 in my tank to fill her up in my 57 Chevy with the 235. It has the automatic choke with the 1 barrel. Anyways went out the next morning to start her to warm up for my trip to work. Dumb me I shoulda had some starting fluid handly to say the least. Also my car took about 2 minutes longer to warm up to turn the heater on and temp that morning was same as the last. Then on my way to work I punched the gas to pass a slow driver ahead and the car backfired on me after a lag in throttle response. To say the least that rarely happened with the 57. The car also didnt run as hot but did notice I sucked the gas down more then usual and I could tell the difference even after 10 minutes on the road. I would say if you were to use ethanol blend fuel use neoprene seals in the carb and fuel pump along with reajustment of the carb and also have a can of starting fluid handly unless you wanta pump the pedal 5 times before starting. Just my 5 cents

Edited by Classic50s (see edit history)

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You should not use E-85 on cars/trucks unless they are designed for it. The alcohol will destroy the older rubber components of the fuel system and corrode metals. Also if you use E-85 in a car that will use it , the fuel economy will usually be about 60-70% of the fuel economy of plain gas.

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You if you use E-85 in a car that will use it , the fuel economy will usually be about 60-70% of the fuel economy of plain gas.

And that, to me, is the biggest fallacy of ethanol or other modified fuels. If you burn 30-40% more of it to go the same distance, what has been saved in the long run?

Seems to me that even if it burns cleaner, you're burning that much more of it, so any decrease in pollution is negated by an increased amount burned.

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Seems to me that even if it burns cleaner, you're burning that much more of it, so any decrease in pollution is negated by an increased amount burned.

If mileage was equal when running on e85 to running on pure gasoline, then the major concern about burning fuel, CO2, would be reduced by 85%. Of course that's not the case, and with the average 25% reduction in fuel mileage the actual savings of CO2 is more like 65%. You then have to account for the fossil fuels used to make the ethanol (good like finding an unbiased estimate for that!).

In the end analysis there is probably still a substantial savings to the environment. Future advances in ethanol production are the real hope for its use.

However if you put e85 in a 1957 Chevy that's not prepared for using it you'll likely ruin the car, which even worse for the environment than anything the car does no matter what fuel it uses.

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Since my 2006 gets 8-10% less mpg with E10 then straight gas, I would guess there is little CO2 saving and that doesn't count the CO2 emitted planting, picking, hauling and processing the corn.

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The only places here in S. Florida where you can find pure gas with no ethanol is at a marina. Most have very long hoses and if not busy will let you fill your car, unless there is a Florida Marine Patrol boat around.

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This response is related to ethanol fuel and two cycle engines as used on weed wackers some roto-tillers, mopeds, and older Vespa scooters.

As a result of NOT draining the fuel tanks, and the fuel system on my Mantis roto-tiller, Sachs moped, and HPOF Vespa scooter I had to do complete fuel system clean outs, and a carburetor rebuild on the Vespa. The Mantis needed a new carburetor at a cost of $75.00.

There are new gas stabilizers on the market for preserving ethanol based fuel, and they work even with two cycle gas/oil mixes.

Fortunately I have a non-ethanol gas station close by, and after last year's hassles I have switched to non-ethanol fuel in the two cycle engines, and my air-cooled Volkswagens. The non-ethanol costs about $.25 more per gallon. It comes in 87, 89, and 94 octanes. Go with the 89 octane for two cycle engines. :)

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Posted (edited)

Jim, Can you tell me the name and location of the station that still has ethanol free gas near you? I'm about 1 1/2 hours east of Harrisburg and all of the stations I was aware of that had ethanol free gas can no longer get it.

I used gas with ethanol (E10) in my '29 Packard and after only the second tank the alcohol dissolved the rubber gasket in the pressure regulator (it turned into a soft gummy substance) and I had gas spilling all over the garage floor when I turned on the electric fuel pump. I was lucky the car and house didn't both go up in flames.

Ethanol in our gas will only destroy our beloved antique vehicles, as well as our everyday cars. The only ones that benefit from Ethanol are the lobbyists and corn growers. We have a very loud voice and powerful voting block if we stick together, please write your legislators and join the Sema Action Network.

Edited by jjohnb (see edit history)

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Here's a website that has ethanol free stations listed. Check it, and the stations out. There is a provision on the site to remove and add stations as their product changes. Good luck to us all!!!B

Ethanol-free gas stations in the U.S. and Canada

A dubious web site discussed here several times, most specifically here: http://forums.aaca.org/f120/found-online-list-stations-selling-ethanol-295701.html .

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It seems like to me that the old car hobby is not paying enough attention to the effects of Ethanol. It causes rotting gas tanks full of rust and vapor locks and heaven knows what else. I put some stuff in a blue bottle that NAPA sells into my tanks to hopefully fight the rot when they aren't run regularly. I finally think I solved the constant vapor lock in hot weather by wrapping the fuel lines in the foam like tubing stuff you use to insulate water pipes to and from your hot water heater.

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We got to Williamsport, Pa yesterday, all ready for the Vintage Tour. On the way up, I stopped at a gas station to top off my towing vehicle. As I was filling the tank, I noticed the sign........."enriched with up to 10% ethanol!"

Enriched! One word, no two words..."That's RICH!"

Calling this caustic stuff, enriching is a really big laugh to me.

My Essex started leaking from a gas line this morning, so I had to fiddle with it. Of course everywhere I stopped, I left a small puddle of gasoline. My last stop at my transport trailer, got my attention as the gasoline was dissolving the sealer right off the pavement. I quickly replaced a brass fitting, but noticed that the rubber gas hose had damage from the gas leak too.

Man, this gas up here is worse then Chemo treatments! To think we're supposed to be protecting the environment, really???

Well we park downtown tonight to show up to the locals. We've had a good time so far.

Wayne

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Jim, Can you tell me the name and location of the station that still has ethanol free gas near you? I'm about 1 1/2 hours east of Harrisburg and all of the stations I was aware of that had ethanol free gas can no longer get it.

Was away on vacation. The station is GAS USA on Route 22 (Colonial Park) east of Harrisburg. Get off the Colonial Park Exit from I-83 and head east for about 1.5 miles. Station is on the left at the 3rd. traffic signal after you exit.:)

In response to the leaking fuel lines, etc caused by ethanol I am going to tell you all that about 10 to 15 years ago I brought this up to the AACA. Why? Because I remembered the problems several years earlier when a product called GASOHOL was used as a gasoline additive to save on the use of crude oil in the refinery process. Gasohol was alcohol based, and did the same things to fuel systems, and engines that ethanol does.

I fail to understand how an additive that causes engine damage, produces less power, and fewer miles per gallon is saving us anything.

I must be STUPID!:rolleyes::D

When will we learn?

It is long overdue for the car collector world to start letting our often times mis-informed/under-informed government officials the results of their actions.

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Jim, our weakness is that, even as a bloc, we cannot match campaign contributions of the big agricultural corporations.

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Jim, our weakness is that, even as a bloc, we cannot match campaign contributions of the big agricultural corporations.

I know, but we still need to make our concerns known. There are AACA members who are in government offices, and these are the people who have to be asked to help the car hobby.

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Gasahol = E10 = 10% ethanol = virtually all of the gas we currently have and ever will have until even that is replaced by something. It is also virtually the only fuel that's been available in several midwestern states since 1979. There are large areas in this country that have nearly no memory for 2 generations of 100% "pure", crude oil derived gasoline.

There is no doubt that ethanol is a problem in old cars, and must be dealt with on several levels to avoid problems. Those problems are endemic to carbureted fuel systems, which simply haven't existed in any form in cars or light trucks for 20 years or more. It is nice that you can take any telephone ever made, hook it up to your land line phone, and it will work. It is nice that (as long as it's not a TV) any antique electronic device can be plugged in and used. It is nice that antique refrigerators (so long as they still have their original freon and never need a charge) can still be used.

,,,But it should be obvious to us all that the carburetor is (in modern terms) a deficient, obsolete device that has been discarded by society and is no longer supported by its infrastructure. Fuels made available to the public will increasingly be engineered for the VAST majority of the vehicles that use them, ECM monitored fuel injection systems.

The political might of the ethanol infrastructure, as great as it is, is not the reason 1932 Chevys have to be modified and monitired to prevent massive fuel leaks due to ethanol. It's simply a matter of the infallible logic of the market. Pump "gas" will be made in quantity for what's currently in the showrooms, and what was there recently. When it's determined that every car for the previous 15 years or so can run on E15, E20, or Egodknowswhat fuels, then they will be the dominant fuel available.

I've been saying for years now that I expect to see the day when I'm buying real gasoline for my antiques only in 5 gal. cans at the hardware store. I have not changed my view. I believe that to even attempt to stem the progress (and that is what it is) in fuel development is to be marginalized and disregarded by society. I have only one hope that (for any extended future) we are able to drive our cars on the street in any substantial form...

I know, but we still need to make our concerns known. There are AACA members who are in government offices, and these are the people who have to be asked to help the car hobby.

..., there has to be some means of allowing licensed, identified antique cars to obtain real gas (>10% ethanol) from select outlets, be they marinas, hangars, fuel depots, or whatever. Instead of using "pump gas", touring with an antique car would require the use of a specific fuel source available in various areas, possibly from sources exempted from road taxes (like marine & aviation fuels).

This needs to be pursued now, before we start seeing E15 only gas stations dominating the market.

It'll be inconvenient as he!!, and many of us will have to drive miles just to fuel up the car. But at least we will have avoided the 5 gal. can fate for a while. I know my Triumph is not set up to cross the U.S. in 1909 Thomas-style, and neither am I.

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I don't expect our federal government to realize its mistake on Corn based Ethanol, but then again, I never expected Al Gore to admit that he was wrong on it... Maybe there is still hope. The boaters and the small engine owners share our concerns. Our local TV news ran a story on massive lawnmower carburetor problems due to Ethanol just yesterday. There is still demand for fuel suitable for carbuertors and will be as long as Americans like to mow the lawn.

Al Gore: I Was Wrong About Ethanol : TreeHugger

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I don't expect our federal government to realize its mistake on Corn based Ethanol, but then again, I never expected Al Gore to admit that he was wrong on it... Maybe there is still hope. The boaters and the small engine owners share our concerns. Our local TV news ran a story on massive lawnmower carburetor problems due to Ethanol just yesterday. There is still demand for fuel suitable for carbuertors and will be as long as Americans like to mow the lawn.

Al Gore: I Was Wrong About Ethanol : TreeHugger

Lawn mowers and other small engine tools are the main reason I expect to see gas in cans for sale before too long.

Also corn based ethanol is not now and never was viewed as a long term proposition, and therefore wasn't a "mistake". It is a transition fuel to more appropriate ethanol sources (most likely algae, sawgrass, and other fast growing plants {possibly kudzu}). As corn is supplanted by these sources the infrastructure for large scale ethanol use will already be in place. If corn were not used it would have been much harder to incorporate ethanol in the fuel stream in meaningful amounts, almost certainly causing devastating disruptions in supply.

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