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EPA threatens to increase Ethanol in gas to 15%


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Well, they vapor lock on 10% Ethanol, so what do we expect from 15%. Any idiot old enough to remember when we used alcohol as anti-freeze that it would boil at less temperature than water, so we had to take it out in the summer. My '39 Buicks will not run on Ethanol in 80-85 degree whether without vapor locking, driving down the road. I installed insulation on the gas lines. But, so far, we have one gas station in this county who does not and will not sell Ethanol. The current Governor has ordered it though, I understand, within the next couple of years.

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The political power behind ethanol is massive. Money counts more than votes these days, and what resistance to ethanol from "older" car groups there is has already been placated (in a very weak respect, IMHO) for people to dismiss with 8 second blurbs on cable TV (see: Ricardo Research Shows E15 Poses Minimal Risk to Older Vehicles ).

I've been saying for more than a decade here that the day was coming when we'd be buying fuel for our antique cars in 5 gal. cans at the hardware store. Just how much longer did you think it was going to last? :(

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

BTW, the EPA never "threatens" anything. They're scientists. They study things. After that it's the politicians that do the "threatening". In this case mostly conservative, Midwestern politicians.

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In my understanding, the last carbureted equipped passenger car engine sold in this country was back in 1990. The Olds 307 V8 with the Rochester 4BBL holds that 'honor'. I believe one or more import light trucks or 'police package' Fords may have used carbs for another year or so.

From Wikipedia (which in this case I believe is accurate):

Carburetors were the usual fuel delivery method for most U.S. made gasoline-fueled engines up until the late 1980s, when fuel injection became the preferred method of automotive fuel delivery. In the U.S. market, the last carbureted cars were:

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We are already forced to use 10% ethanol here in Texas at ALL stations. Personally, if this keeps going, I would like for the EPA to be forced to list TWO numbers on the window sticker for the car's mileage; the city and highway estimates on gasoline, and the estimates on 10% ethanol.

THAT little piece of information will get a LOT of people screaming at their representatives to allow all stations to offer real gasoline, not some voodoo concoction that only an EPA bureaucrat would like.

Edited by Peter J.Heizmann (see edit history)
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One suggestion is to move to Iowa. They still sell gasoline without ethonal. You can also get 10% and 85% if you want it. Remember, they grow the corn to make ethonal and you can get non ethonal gas. Check out my experience with using 10% ethonal in a car designed to use 10% ethonal.

September 8th, I filled my 3.8 2008 Buick Lucienne in Ohio with 89 Octane (10% ethanol) and drove 450 miles at 70 MPH getting 27.3 MPG. On the return, I filled up in Iowa on September 13th with 87 Octane (zero ethanol) driving 450 miles at 70 MPH and got 31.4 MPG.

In Iowa the ethanol gas was $2.55 a gallon. With no ethonal gas, the price was $2.69. The total cost with ethanol was $42.03 versus $38.55. This was a savings of $3.48. From my experience, I will always skip the ethanol gas additive when given the option.

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I searched and couldn't find any Internet Rumors about EPA threatens to increase Ethanol in gas to 15%<!-- google_ad_section_end --> . I hope it's a false rumor.

The Fleet Manager of our County's 2100 vehicles says he gets 30% less fuel efficiency and 30% less power with the E-85 units. No savings realized and

the loss of power requires over specification assignment to do the same job.

I'm sure other Government departments around the country have experienced the same.

Edited by Peter J.Heizmann (see edit history)
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One thing to consider, the entire USA is NOT under the need to have ethanol in their fuels, related to environmental concerns. For example, in TX, the parts of the state which require some sort of oxygenation in gasoline are generally the I-35 corridor and east to the LA border, north to the OK border, and south to the Gulf of Mexico. The basic high-population areas of the state.

In doing research on this subject, I found a map of the USA with what gasolines were required where. It was on the Mobil.com website. Quite informative! Pointed out that the ethanol "problem" is not nearly as widespread as some might believe. Other figures I dug up indicated that only about 30% of the total gasoline sold in the USA has to be oxygenated; in the prior ReFormulatedFuels we have had since the 1990s, the mix included about 5.72% ethanol, with the balance of the 10% oxygenates coming from the discontinued MTBE. So, it's been there for quite some time, just not at the current "Up To 10%" level.

Over the past year or so, there has been much "talk" about the increase to 15% (and later, even higher) from interested parties. Although some of these groups have claimed the EPA is delaying things, the EPA has delayed their approval of the E15 Waiver as they are conducting more tests on a variety of vehicles. The original approval was scheduled to have happened LAST summer, but has been delayed due to the testing issues.

SIDE ISSUES have also been mentioned. "How do we guarantee that consumers correctly fuel their vehicles?" (paraphrased), for example. Even in a world of flexfuel vehicles, there are still multitudes of newer vehicles which (according to their manufacturers) can't tolerate more than E10, period, much less with higher concentrations.

The service station operatives will have decisions to make, too. Keep normal E10 Regular, but what about E10 Mid-grade or E10 Super Unleaded and get new pumps to also accomodate E15 Regular? Or keep the existing pumps and delete a current E10 gasoline product to make room (on the pump) for the E15 product? And what about the plumbing of the fuel from the underground tanks to accomodate E15 product?

Advocates of the move toward E15+ have been observed (from news statements and articles) to not desire a compromise to E12 first, and then E15 as the number of older vehicles or non-flexfuel/non-E10+ compliant vehicles decreases. For them, it seems to be E15 or nothing . . . BUT they need something, they feel, more than E10. Some of the articles and research papers I found via a Google search were several years old, so it's been going on for a while, just as the complaints about the effects of E10 on boats and vintage vehicles have been going on for FAR longer than that, also well documented with Google searches!

In reality, a carbureted vehicle is much easier to modify than a fuel injected vehicle (which also requires an electric fuel pump mechanism that's rated to handle ethanol'd fuels, plus appropriate fuel injectors). A simple jet change/modification will usually take care of things, from what I've been told by a mechanic that's done this on a '40s Oldsmobile.

The problem is that for a normal, used every day vehicle, the E10 fuels generally have no problems, even with carbureted vehicles. It's when vehicles are "ocassional use" that things start to happen . . . even for the elderly person with a later model vehicle, driven short distances at a time, but might otherwise be "garage-kept". There can be some issues with extended crank time after a letting the hot engine "soak" after being run, from my own experiences, even worse than the original RFG.

The whole concept of renewable fuels is a good one, for many people, but the unintended "victims" seem to be the owners of vehicles which are "historic" and "limited-use" in nature or the owners of newer vehicles (even some higher-priced nameplates, as BMW) which would be greatly-impacted to upgrade their vehicles to be able to use E15+ fuels. In many cases, the costs for such conversions would be very expensive and make the vehicles "unuseable" and greatly de-valued as a result. As big as the vintage vehicle hobby might be, the owners of these newer vehicles could well dwarf the vintage vehicle owners' numbers, but BOTH groups would be "impacted groups".

When the renewable fuels legislation was enacted, there were ethanol volumes mandated for future years. At that time, the economy was rolling pretty well and people were driving more than after gasoline prices went toward $4.00/gallon. Therefore, those earlier projections seemed reasonable, but not after things changed. So, the easiest way to hit the mandated volumes would be to increase the concentration to E15+. I'm not sure of what legal consequences might result from non-compliance with these ethanol volume mandates--this hasn't been mentioned, that I know of, in the articles I've read.

To me, the EPA needs to be (and IS) cognizant of all of these side issues in their consideration of the E15 Waiver's approval or dis-approval. THEY are the ones in the middle of this whole situation. Yet, "cost effectiveness" is NOT one of the things which the EPA must consider in any of their decisions, from what I discovered.

I suggest you do your own reserch on this subject--there's plenty of information out there via Google.

Respectfully,

NTX5467

Edited by NTX5467 (see edit history)
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From Wikipedia (which in this case I believe is accurate):

Most people don't care about old cars, but, they better look at some other things like around the house like pressure washers that say on the machine "do not use E85 gas". I guess we can all buy new lawn equipment.

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Hopefully this is not too political or offensive - I am trying to make a point as an AACA member.

Judging from real world experience I think the ethanol issue is the biggest problem the hobby faces today. Many skilled restorers (including pros - see post on carburetors started by a pro, I believe.) as well as mechanics are facing issues due to this new gas mix and the gains seem minimal. And now we hear the Government may want to make it even worse.

So there are two steps one can take. The first is try to address these problems with a mechanical solution, which many are doing now.

The second is a choice, do nothing or advocate that these changes do not take place. The EPA is part of the "machine" and the only way to control that is political. Any "solutions" they are pursuing is based on the powers that be directing them. I would suggest that those interested use proper channels to make their concerns known. One step I intend to make is to contact leaders in the two nationals (AACA & PAC) I belong to to see if the clubs are taking a stand or supporting any efforts to resist this.

AACA is one of the clubs, my guess is that 99% of the cars members own are carburated, and the older injection units have their issues as well. As a club we put a lot of emphasis on gaining membership/keping interest up, which could all be wasted energy if it becomes harder to use our cars. Something to think about, right?

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
clarity (see edit history)
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There is no "mechanical carburetor change" that will keep a 1939 Buick from vapor locking at 85 degrees in Florida with Ethanol. I know, I've proved it. An electric fuel pump in line will overcome constant vapor locks at 50 mph, but what a pain. Insulating the fuel lines might help. Ethanol will also rot the inside of the gas tank if the gas sits over a few weeks, and the blue stuff appears to help that --- maybe.

Years ago I overcame a abhorrent personal property tax when I lived in Virginia, with the help of most AACA Regions in Va., by going to the state legislature and proving the historical and educational value of historic vehicles. We got an exemption.

I believe if such an argument was developed and then taken to state legislatures, then we could, at the least, receive an exemption to be able to fuel up at a local airport or use some version of avaiation gas or something like it. We're not alone...there could also be a lobby that included lawnmower, boat, yard equipment users perhaps.

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I read an article two weeks ago that the governor of Ohio is pushing for the 15% ethanol to help out our farmers. In the same article the EPA is pushing for 30% ethanol use by the year 2020. Our government at work, don't you just love it.

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After talking to an API engineer, he recommended using the blue Marine grade Stabil. Its specially formulated for the ethanol gas. Boats with fiberglass gas tanks have actually been having the ethanol gas eat holes right through them, the marine stabil is suppose to dry up the ethanol portion. The trouble with that is that it reduces 89 octane to 84 octane. One would think "well gee, I'll get a higher grade then". Nope. How do they boost the octane nowadays? By adding MORE ETHANOL! So your 89 & 93 grades of octane have more than 10% ethanol.

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Ethanol in gas in Wisconsin has caused so much trouble with the boating industries that it is not manditory here and there are still stations that have regular gas. We also have several ethanol plants here and they are having some financial problems especially when the price of gas goes down and corn goes up. They are the ones that are advocating for higher gas prices and higher ethanol percentage. It wouldn't surprise me if the oil company's are the ones that own the ethanol plants.

We live by the golden rule----Those with the gold rule!!!!!!!!

RHL

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My dad has a 2007 Avalanche with 'Flex Fuel' when he fills it up with regular he gets I dont quite recall the numbers but, a few (about 5) mpg better than pure ethanol. This ethanol stuff is ridiculous. It costs more to make, does not cost significantly less to buy and look at what it takes to make it..

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We also have several ethanol plants here and they are having some financial problems especially when the price of gas goes down and corn goes up. They are the ones that are advocating for higher gas prices and higher ethanol percentage. It wouldn't surprise me if the oil company's are the ones that own the ethanol plants.

RHL

They do own the ethanol plants. One engineer from a gas company tells us that they have to mix the ethanol & gas when they put it into the tanker trucks just before heading out to a gas station near you. They have to do it that way because the stuff is so corrosive that they couldn't store it already mixed with gas.

Edited by Moepar (see edit history)
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I realise that most gas stations have converted to plastic underground tanks, but what does Moepar's post tell us about what the stuff is doing to those tanks?

I can remember a time when oil was not so damn politicized and there was plenty of it. Then people figured out they could make an obscene amount of money with it by artificially limiting supplies. Then the corn lobby figured out they could jack up their subsidies by requiring gasoline to be blended with ethanol made from corn. Someone is always attempting to make more money from hydrocarbon fuels.

Maybe the Amish are on to something. They manage to get where they need to go with horse power and bicycles.

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Fuel Testers.com is a great website! Plus the list of fuel additives which contain ethanol. Used to be that if a fuel additive said it would "remove moisture", it was alcohol-based rather than otherwise.

I hadn't seen that blue StaBil would lower octane, but I have read of people "washing" the ethanol from their gas (adding water to orchestrate phase separation, then removing the remaining gasoline for use in their vehicles) and, as ethanol is an octane-increaser, having a lower octane fuel after it's all over. The 5-octane number sounds about right, though.

I don't know that the EPA is "advocating" anything, but they DO have to sign-off on the increase before it can happen. From what I've seen, it's the ethanol industry people who are advocating these increases and are somewhat intensely focused on it happening as they desire.

In some areas, where oxygenated fuels are required, there is NO option other than "up to 10% ethanol" fuels . . . unless you want to drive a good ways from the ozone non-attainment regions. Avgas is being affected, too. In states which have "road taxes" as a part of the gasoline price, that means that avgas and racing fuel (or other off-road gasolines) is not an approved alternative--some airports will only fuel aircraft on-premises, not somebody with a gas can that takes it with them. But finding a car racing fuel vendor (think drag racing or road racing) might be easier . . . but MUCH more expensive.

Hard to understand why vapor lock would happen in only 80 degree weather, even with ethanol'd gasoline. Ethanol is a cleaner so if there's rust in the tank, or a tank "perforation" about to happen, ethanol just helped it along. Some corrosive effects have been noted, to, but the biggest one is the "cleaning" action. Many differing views of how long the gas will remain "fresh", too, but sealed drums/containers help greatly.

End result is that ethanol as a fuel extender is problematic for many citizens, even if they don't own older vehicles. But it's safer than MTBE.

Just some thoughts,

NTX5467

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On May 10th 2005, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty signed a bill into law that could result in a requirement that the state's gasoline supplies contain 20 percent ethanol (E-20). If the rules go into effect, it would double the current 10 percent ethanol blends that are now standard throughout the state. Under the legislation, a new E-20 mandate would take effect in 2013 unless ethanol has already replaced 20 percent of the state's motor vehicle fuel by 2010. The rule would expire at the end of 2010 if Minnesota is not granted federal approval to use E-20 gasoline blends.

One can only hope MN doesn't get federal approval. I can't find any updates.

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I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about a year ago and if my memory is correct, it takes about 13,000 gallons of water to make one gallon of ethanol from corn kernel in the ground to the tank of the consumer. And we are doing this where there is water concerns around the country??????

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It all boils down to the corn lobby is influential and wealthy, and has no conscience about peddling influence where it can get them their desired results.

If lobbyists were outlawed it would go a long way toward bringing the country back to center.

The fuel-injected Ford truck tolerates the crap fairly well, but I can tell a difference in the carbureted station wagon. Not as easy to start, and fuel mileage is reduced. I got hold of some Shell gasoline a few weeks ago that I really believe had more than 10% ethanol- the stuff smelled like moonshine burning.

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Just a quick THANKS to Wayne and Tom Cox, I see based on the sticky note post above that AACA is taking an official stance on this, which is really good to see. I was initially surprised not to see any feedback on this post BUT so much has been discussed on Ethanol that I am sure those in lead positions have already been discussing.

Now we need to do our collective parts and do the follow up as recomended by Tom Cox...

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Pat, they do. But here, all the fuel from the Greensboro NC terminals is ethanol. Non-ethanol has to come from Charlotte and the transportation companies rape the station owners to deliver a load of non-ethanol. There were two Exxon and one Pure station here that held off on ethanol fuel for a long time (the Pure station actually had a big marquee sign stating "our gasoline contains NO ethanol" and there were always lines at its pumps), but economics of transportation finally won them over. ALL the gasoline we get here now is E10.

I have noticed for some time that my vehicles will get better fuel mileage on a tank of gas bought in Charlotte area than they will on fuel bought in Greensboro service area- up to 40% increase in some cases with all factors being equal except fuel. Same weather, same route, same speeds. The only difference is the gasoline. The wagon did the same thing on fuel bought in Pittsburgh area last summer compared to gasoline bought in Virginia.

People just thought the tobacco lobby was influential and evil. Wait till ethanol catches up with us in a few years. You see what corn likker does to an alcoholic from drinking it in excess. What happens when we BURN it and everyone's sniffing the fumes?

Edited by rocketraider (see edit history)
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EPA knows what they are doing to us. I believe there is a agenda to it, and I believe our cars, boats, planes, lawn mowers, motorcycles, snow machines ect. are on that list. Wake up people.

Don

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