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  • Ethanol Vehicles

    Given the lengthy process to get LPG and CNG to be EPA certified, how did ethanol come on board so quickly with the flex fuel cars? Also, how can gasoline be blended with up to 10% ethanol and not change how the fuel is combusted in the engine? Is burning ethanol and gasoline so similar that the same EPA process does not need to be followed?

  • #2
    Re: Ethanol Vehicles

    From what I,ve read, ethanol is a joke. Most cars 2000 or newer can run it without problems, but it's not really cost effective and there could never be enough for the masses (that's why big oil lets flex fuel so easily). I run ethanol in my bi fuel vehicles when I fill up at CNG pumps that also have ethanol, but only so that I can be super clean. I would never go out of my way for ethanol like I do for CNG....just my thoughts....
    2000 Escalade (option 3 conversion) FOR SALE
    2004 F150 XLT (OEM conversion)
    2000 Camry (Awesome Car!!)

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    • #3
      Re: Ethanol Vehicles

      I also think that ethanol is a joke but given the different chemical makeup between ethanol and gasoline, I wonder how this fuel type is readily available to use in our engines. Is the combustion between the two really so similar that the EPA does not need to approve ICE to run on the stuff?

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      • #4
        Re: Ethanol Vehicles

        Michigan is a farm state and ADM knows how to lobby.

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        • #5
          Re: Ethanol Vehicles

          Originally posted by Steve View Post
          how did ethanol come on board so quickly with the flex fuel cars?
          I think it is because ethanol is a liquid that can be easily mixed with gasoline and can be burned in existing automobiles. These are very powerful arguments. When is the last time you talked to someone about CNG and got the response: "Sounds great, but I pass a gas station 50 times a day and a CNG station, when?"

          Unfortunately, I think ethanol is a case of the drunk looking for his keys under the lamppost instead of where he dropped them. Ethanol isn't much cleaner, isn't much cheaper, doesn't have much less carbon footprint, and adversely impacts agricultural markets. But it was easy, so they did it.
          Robert '07 GX

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          • #6
            Re: Ethanol Vehicles

            Ethanol is just part of the solution to decrease our dependency on foriegn oil. The big problem is the amount of energy and resources it takes to make it. Look at Brazil, they managed to make it work. Look at the IRL, why did they switch to ethanol?
            BLUE 09 GX

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            • #7
              Re: Ethanol Vehicles

              Originally posted by jetboatjohnny View Post
              Ethanol is just part of the solution to decrease our dependency on foriegn oil.
              I'm sorry, that remark is just too reasonable. What we need is more angry, impulsive comments.
              Robert '07 GX

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              • #8
                Re: Ethanol Vehicles

                Ethanol has been tried before (the oil crisis of the 70's) and when required to make it on its own, it failed. Brazil grows a lot of sugar cane which is processed into ethanol more effieciently then the corn feed stocks used in this country. Even Brazil is supplementing their fuel needs with offshore oil production. Ethanol has way less btu content then gasoline. Check the epa fuel economy numbers when your "flex fuel" vehicle is running on ethanol to see what the real cost per mile is--it takes way more ethanol to get a mile down the road. It is very clean burning which is one of the reasons it is mixed with gasoline so that you can see when you are on fire. Another reason there is no "E100" is that in cold climates (20 degrees F or less), the engine won't start on pure ethanol. Ethanol, like CNG, is very high in octane and if you pour enough of it in your turbocharged IRL car, it will produce a lot of horsepower. On the other hand, if you are putting it into your "flex fuel" low compression 87 octane minivan, you don't get any of the benefits of the extra octane. There is a similar problem found in bi-fuel v.s. dedicated CNG engines. For example, the dedicated Civic runs higher compression ratios then their gasoline brothers. Ethonal is nothing more then a U.S. farm subsidy. We tax imported ethonal 50 cents per gallon and subsidize E85 with a 50 cent per gallon credit at the pump to entice people into trying it. We are burning our food supply to make people feel good about helping reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Many studies indicate that more oil energy is burned then you get out of the end ethonal product. The worst part about it is that it defelects public awareness about our real energy problems and what real challenges we face to overcome them. The farmers love it, automakers love it (they get extra credit against their CAFE numbers with every flex vehicle they build). But what do I know? The crisis is over, oil is freefalling in the world market--I am through with CNG and going out to get a great deal on Hemi Dodge quad cab dually pickup for running errands around town-----NOT! Rant over

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                • #9
                  Re: Ethanol Vehicles

                  Originally posted by siai47 View Post
                  Another reason there is no "E100" is that in cold climates (20 degrees F or less), the engine won't start on pure ethanol.
                  There are already some cold places in Brazil, and then supplementary gasoline tanks are used for cold start capability. However, Bosch had developed a pre-heating system for ethanol/flexfuel fuel lines to start on pure ethanol. But already ethanol used in Brazil is not already pure, it has around 4% water content.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Ethanol Vehicles

                    Originally posted by cripple_rooster View Post
                    But already ethanol used in Brazil is not already pure, it has around 4% water content.
                    So that would be 192 proof? Too bad they poison it.

                    Sit back and relax. If the senate does the same thing the ethanol subsidy will be gone 12/31. What worries me is they may not do anything for any energy bill. (I'm superstitious so if I talk about it the opposite will happen.LOL)

                    I use ethanol when I have to buy gas. I hate it but it is better than supporting OPEC. (2006 F150 bi-fuel)

                    It takes NG to make fertilizer and pesticides, NG to dry the crop, NG to fire the still to make the ethanol. Diesel does the rest to till, plant, harvest, and transport it out of the field, to the still, and to the gas pump. Now why wouldn't one use the cleanest fuel available and save money, engine, and the environment? (it would cost too many jobs, thats why)

                    Here in the mid west the DOA is a very powerful arm of the government.

                    The very least the ethanol people could do is use a perennial crop plant.

                    I'll stop at this as I could get started on a tyraid.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Ethanol Vehicles

                      Originally posted by Amfuel View Post
                      I use ethanol when I have to buy gas. I hate it but it is better than supporting OPEC. (2006 F150 bi-fuel)

                      It takes NG to make fertilizer and pesticides, NG to dry the crop, NG to fire the still to make the ethanol. Diesel does the rest to till, plant, harvest, and transport it out of the field, to the still, and to the gas pump. Now why wouldn't one use the cleanest fuel available and save money, engine, and the environment? (it would cost too many jobs, thats why)

                      Here in the mid west the DOA is a very powerful arm of the government.

                      The very least the ethanol people could do is use a perennial crop plant.
                      Farmers could use biodiesel or SVO/WVO in the trucks and machines used in the plantations, and a vegetable-based lubricity additive (such as castor oil) be used instead of gasoline, then ethanol could be really OPEC-free. OPEC is already a bunch of losers, but Obama is supporting them since he has some arab fellows to please with a large market for gasoline. In the case of american ethanol, that is not hydrated, it would be easier to get cold start capability and better lubricity with 15% vegetalbe-based oil (it already doesn't mix badly into brazilian hydrated ethanol but would still perform better with pure ethanol).

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                      • #12

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                        • #13
                          Re: Ethanol Vehicles

                          Ethanol is an exercise in futility in my view. It reportedly takes 7 gallons of petroleum based fuels in the total life cycle process starting with plowing the fileds, planting, fertilizing and harvesting the corn, etc... to yield 8 gallons of Ethanol which you use 30% more of (lower MGP). I believe thw whole Ethanol/Corn renewable hype would be a doomsday remedy if the world was running out of oil, but the way it has come across, impacting higher food costs by diverting corn from food to fuel without increasing total corn production, just so g*v't agencies and municipalities can meet alternative fuel vehicle purchase quotas without buying Civic GX's is the mythology behind this. My understanding is that most of the alt-fuel E-85 vehicles are used in regions of the country where E-85 isn't even sold. But we can feel good about our leaders mandating the purchase and use of AFV's that never run on the AF? Makes total sense if you are the agencies wanting to drive large black SUV's wtih 'corn-capable' status. Same guys in dark glasses just don't look as intimidating crawling out of white fleet Civics.
                          '11 Fusion Bi Fuel & FMQ2-36 VRA
                          (Former owner '09 Civic GX)

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                          • #14
                            Re: Ethanol Vehicles

                            Originally posted by raskell View Post
                            Ethanol is an exercise in futility in my view. It reportedly takes 7 gallons of petroleum based fuels in the total life cycle process starting with plowing the fileds, planting, fertilizing and harvesting the corn, etc... to yield 8 gallons of Ethanol which you use 30% more of (lower MGP).
                            Corn is not a great feedstock for ethanol. Well, I'm more favorable to the usage of agricultural residues such as straw as an ethanol feedstock.

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