by The Dickinson Press
July 26, 2013 at 7:00 pm in The Dickinson Press
The option of filling a vehicle up with regular unleaded gasoline is disappearing quickly in North Dakota and not everyone is happy about it. Continue Reading
Tags: car, energy, epa, ethanol, fuel, gas, gasoline, North Dakota, octane, Oil, truck 2 Comments »
From a 2011 Email Debate I was invovled in and my reply to a pro-ethanol advocate – The following logic applies to 10% Ethanol; albeit to a lesser extent than E-85:
“Since the Government took over GM, you cannot buy a GM truck or SUV that is NOT a flex-fuel vehicle. Other than a warm-fuzzy glow that comes over you when fueling E-85 because you’re believing you are saving the planet one-tank full at a time, it will almost ALWAYS cost you more money to run E-85 in your vehicle. Aside from the well documented studies that show the corn-field to gas-tank production of Ethanol actually generates as much or more CO2 than burning regular gasoline due to the EXTENSIVE amount of oil and natural gas used in everything from seed production to planting, pesticides, herbicides, harvesting, grain drying, transportation to the elevator and down the rail line and the huge amount of Nat-gas used at the ethanol plants; you have to understand that American’s are paying HUGE tax dollars for a faux green-fuel that is another example of the political fleecing of Americans!
First Some Simple Facts!
Ethanol Energy Content – One Gasoline Gallon Equivalent (GGE) of ethanol (E-100) is 1.5 gallons. This volume of ethanol has the same energy content as one US gallon of gasoline. This is because a gallon of ethanol has a lower heating value or energy content (76,100 BTU) when compared to a gallon of gasoline (114,100 BTU).
E85 – Ordinary consumers driving a “flex-fuel” vehicle can expect a substantial drop in fuel mileage when using 85% ethanol products (the compression ratio is fixed mechanically, and electronic sensors can only modify the timing of the spark and allow the electronic fuel injectors to provide more of the reduced energy-content fuel).
Therefore, Using 85% of Ethanol @ 76,100 Btu/gal and 15% of Regular Gasoline at 114,100 Btu/gal yields an E-85 gallon equal to 81,800 Btu’s/gallon.
So it takes 1.395 gallons of E-85 to EQUAL 1.00 gallon of Regular gasoline. What this means is that if a gallon of REG Gasoline (87-Octane) costs $3.19/gallon, the breakeven price for E-85 would have to be $2.29/gallon to spend the same dollars per mile driven! So at today’s REG gasoline price, you need and E-85 price that is 90 Cents LESS than REG Gasoline to just breakeven!!
So you can see that at the same price per gallon, even burning 10% ethanol blend (shown as 87, 89 or higher Octane) is costing US ALL more per mile than filling with 100% REG 87 petroleum Octane Gasoline! And Octane rating has NOTHING to do with fuel economy folks!!
Conclusion: E-85 is NOT currently a sensible alternative fuel for America but rather another example of a political boondoggle and misleading of the American people to justify HUGE tax dollars going to subsidize the production of Ethanol!”
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Continuing on with the Ethanol rant I too agree that Ethanol is the biggest waste of time and energy, especially when it is corn based ethanol, one of the lowest ethanol energy grades available.
Converting the 10% ethanol blend we are now forced to use to dollars and cents in my rudimentary calculations I have always calculated that the 10% ethanol blend always had to be at least 3.4% cheaper than any other gas price to make up for the reduction in energy content which will translate into poorer gas mileage. Therefore at $3.50 per gallon the ethanol blend should always be at least $.12 cheaper to make up for the loss of convertable energy (easy pump calculations are 3.5 cents per dollar). And it rarely is so. And considering that we are subsidising these ethanol plants already means this is a lose/lose proposition.
Give us back our regular gasoline!
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