Any reason I should not switch to E85?

Discussion in 'Performance & Fuel' started by Schaub, Mar 8, 2011.


    CKNSLS Rockstar 100 Posts

    Things for clearing a few things up. Right now one uses Ethanol because of the benefits it has for ones own motor and cost, as you stated above. It will not be widely available, due to the lack of a distribution network (i.e. pipeline). To make it widely available it needs to be distributed by semi truck, which would cancel out any price and environmental benefits.
  2. dobey

    dobey Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    Ethanol is widely available. It has been widely available for years, even decades. There are very few stations left in the whole country, that don't have some level of Ethanol mixed fuel. And petrol is delivered to stations by truck as well.

    You don't actually think there are pipes running all across the country to deliver fuel to gas stations, do you? Stations have isolated tanks. And the trucks delivering it aren't running on petroleum. They're big diesel engines. Many even run on biodiesel as well as regular diesel.

    CKNSLS Rockstar 100 Posts

    The further away you get from the "rural country" the less ethanol you find. If you do find it - it is almost as much as gasoline. I know refined gas is not delivered through pipelines. But as you know, there are oil pipelines that run almost everywhere, bringing the product needed to refine gasoline. ETHANOL IS NOT WIDELY AVAILABLE. Come to Southern California and try to find Ethanol. They cannot get permits to put in additional tanks, assuming there is room for them. Yes, most stations in large cities have gas that has Ethanol in it, but not a separate pump for E-85. The further you get away from Corn fields, the less E-85 you will find. Trucks that deliver gasoline only have to transport that product short distances, as refineries are relatively close by. This is not the case with Ethanol-most Ethanol producers are located near the raw source (makes sense). So having a truck drive long distances to deliver Ethanol takes away the price advantage as well as the environmental aspect.
  4. Highbank

    Highbank New Member

    I went back and read what I had written thinking I must have misspoke. Can't see anywhere that I said that it was not available. It appears that you believe pipelines are free or at least cheap transportation for fuels and without enviormental costs. Pipelines here in Michigan have ruptured on more than one occasion and destroyed many miles of beautiful streams. It takes years and millions if not billions of dollars to repair this damage. And add in the original destruction of building those pipelines. It might be beneficial for people to look out the side window as they travel instead of dead ahead. Watch for obvious strips of woodlands that have been stripped to build the pipeline. They remove a hundred feet of woods with bull dozers then spray thousands of gallons of herbicides every year to maintain those grass strips. Thats enviornmental damage. I highly doubt that all the semis in the us could put out enough pollution to clear those strips and then keep them clear.
    And you mention cost of distribution as a reason to not use Ethanol. Lets do a little history lesson here. After WW2 our country had an extensive railroad system. Built and operating. From one coast to the other. And to neigboring countries too. WW2 ended and industry exploded demanding raw materials and goods be delivered. In fact the big oil guys had a large hand in building the railroads. If I remember right Rockefeller and Getty both poured millions of thier personal money into developing RR's. What happened in the long run? As cheap as the RR's could deliver they couldn't compete with over the road trucks for speed and accessability. The overall cost of transportation was less using trucks than RR's. It is the same for pipelines. and if you insist that pipelines be used instead of trucks, I insist that you personally tell all those truck drivers they are out of work and can't feed thier families. that won't be pretty, I promise. then you can add them to the farmers put out of business by dropping corn prices to make some people happy. I am sorry but your welfare ranks are growing and you just destroyed the lives of two groups of very hard working americans.
    Relax. Give ethanol a try. Offer solutions instead of roadblocks. Lets do this. Once with the program a few years you will see the benefits.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Stop the presses! I guess I am not understanding your point. You flat state Ethanol is not widely available. Then state it is as it is mixed with crude fuel. You state that stations cannot get permits to install new tanks so that must mean that no new stations are being built either. Can you imagine just how difficult it is to obtain permits to build pipelines? Why not build an ethanol plant near the demand? You don't see Steel mills next to the ore pit do you? use RR's to transport materials in and out. provide employement near population centers instead of driving them out and having the city die (think detroit). Why won't this happen? Politics. Plain and simple. Don't build that thing in my neigborhood. Some think it is better to talk about problems rather than do something about them.
    Start calling fuel stations and ask them to provide E85. Demand creates access. The more gallons used = lower prices due to competition. I love America! This is how it works! The next time you hear of a permit denied for E85 infrastructure, get vocal over that. How many beurecrats would stand against clean air, lower fuel prices, and more employement? Not many I promise. If they did, they would be UNEMPLOYED fast. And we all know they would do the "slick Willie" thing fast and change what they stand for to keep thier cushy jobs.
  5. dobey

    dobey Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    You need to clarify what you mean, then. General availability of Ethanol vs. specific availability of E85 are very different things. I live practically on the beach, and every station around me has E10 gas. I don't know of any with E85, except those on the military bases or government facilities. There might be a couple, but they're hard to find. If I just want ethanol though, it's easy enough to get. I can go to the liquor store and buy a bottle or two of it. Or I can find a fuel distributor in the area that will sell drums of fuel, and buy a whole drum full if I want.
  6. Highbank

    Highbank New Member

    I posted this in another thread but have brought it here as it fits well and is very informative.

    I have found this thread very amusing to say the least. I guess the best thing for all here would be to do thier own research. Yes, it involves risk. But it also offers great rewards too. Don't depend on possibly slanted research.
    What I would like to offer here is some interesting info that I have found. I own a 1964 Ford N600 stake truck, 330 gas engine. I also own a 1948 Dodge Stake truck, unknown 6 cyl engine. I have been running E50 in both for several years with no damage or trouble. The 48 is not an everyday driver. Mostly firewood and parades. The 64 IS an everyday driver. It is used to haul 400 bushels of corn once a week, 6 ton of soy meal, 8 tons of salt, or feed ingredients, etc... No problems at all. In fact, the owners manual I have for it clearly states that alternative fuels can be used including ethanol. What gives? If ford had the technology 50 years ago, why the great debate now? The only thing I have had to do was install new valves and seats 15 years ago as there is little lube in unleaded/ethanol fuel. Niether burns any oil and always starts.
    I also have been burning E85 straight in my family vehicles, a '03 H2, a '03 Dodge half ton, and a 91 Chevy Cheyenne 2wd. No problems. Converted the last three to flex fuels, costs less than $500. it is just a programming change. Our fuel expenses are 2/3 what they would be normally. Oil changes are less frequent. and nobody gets a headache in the shop when they are left running. E85 price here is $2.89 gal, Reg gas $4.09 gal.
    The facts published are irrelevant to me. The numbers don't lie. What seems to be the problem is change. people hate change. it scares them. With time, all will accept the benefits of ethanol. And if not, fuel stations will continue to offer reg gas as there is a demand. There is no reason to get upset over it.

    o one last thing. My friend has a John Deere A that has a second tank on it for alternative fuels like ethanol. thats 1940's era. And it runs great on ethanol.

    And another thing - lol - Remember the fuel lines of the 70's? My dad built a commercial grade ethanol column and we made ethanol to farm on for a couple of years. the cattle loved the mash and we had plenty of fuel to farm on. And those tractors are still running great. Hmmmmm.

    I failed to mention above that I own and operate a 1919 Dodge touring car durring the summer months. This has been running a 50 50 mix of E85 and E10. My guess is that would result in about a 55% e mix. Then it sets all winter (9 months) to simply restart and roll. No apparent damage. Hmmmm...
  7. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    If someone already did this-my bad.
    At 50 cents less-you won't save any money- needs to be $3.87 vs $3 to break even
    85% ethanol means you will go .75 of what you could go on pure gasoline
    10% ethanol means you will go .97 of pure gasoline
    So a gallon of E10 you can go .97/.75= 1.29 times farther

    Now 3.5/3=1.17 so you pay 17 % more per gallon for E10 than E85
    Pretend you can go 1000 miles on $100 worth of 85%(just an example-$200 is what it actually takes)
    You'll be able to go 1290 miles on the $117 worth of E10 costs 17% more per gallon but gets you 29% farther per gallon
    100/1000 = $.1 per mile or 10 cents per mile(real life 20 cents per mile(hy) is more like it)
    117/1290 = $.09 per mile or 9 cents per mile
    so just 50 cents $3 vs $3.50 won't save any $$
    Looks to me like it needs to be 87 cents cheaper to break even
    and fair chance I got this arithmetic wrong-
    If someone already pointed this out-my bad.
    All the above is based on ethanol producing just 70% of the energy per gallon as gasoline.
    This is what the EPA says it produces.
    85% Ethanol is a fine fuel- IF you have the right truck-my 1998 Suburban- isn't right for over 10% so hope we

    Hope I got the arithmetic right-
    Big Aside I think Henry Ford originally had ethanol in mind as a car fuel-he was from midwest-corn country-and of course you can make it from wheat too-potatoes-cane-sugar beets-maybe someday it will be grown on marginal land from some non food crop-with low water use
    Ethanol great fuel-if car designed for it-but OIL gasoline-NG- are cheap now-so...
    Same problem wind energy has-fossil fuel is CHEAP now
    granted fossil fuels put more CO2 in the ATM
    a good biofuel would put as lot less CO2 in ATM-just recycle carbon dioxide-
    CO2 in atmosphere add sunlight=SUGAR=ETHANOL=BURN IT=CO2 in atm
    repeat repeat-let plants do the work
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2013
  8. Highbank

    Highbank New Member

    The math appears sound. I do not dissagree with it as far as running E85 through an engine not programmed for it. Change the programming and things change drastically. In fact if one only had Ethanol to run on manufacturers could push up compression ratios and we could get more efficiencies out of this entire picture. (typicle combustion engines are appx 10% efficient. This means that 90% of your fuels energy is going out the tailpipe). What we have found is that changing the programming on non flex vehicles changes how engines react to the new fuel giving operators close if not identicle miles per gallon. Add to this the other benefits and there is no reason to not run E85. Now if you could develope an engine that was 50% efficient...
  9. phoebeisis

    phoebeisis Epic Member 5+ Years 1000 Posts

    Ethanol is a GREAT fuel or fuel additive-IF- your vehicle was designed for it.
    15% ethanol-I "think"is fine in 2000 vehicles on
    My 1998 Suburban-didn't have to be 15% compatible??
    But maybe GM updated early?? no reason to think that-and GM is unlikely to tell me?
    So I'm assuming 15% is mildly destructive
    Otherwise-yeah ethanol is great.
    It would be greater if the problems using various forms of cellulose could be overcome.
    Sugars are easy to ferment-cellulose-sugar polymer that is always accompanied by lignin and other plant components that complicate fermentation -NOT so easy to economically ferment.
    PS Compression on OEM engines-pretty high already-some 11.5/1 maybe more?? Just how high could you go with 85% ethanol?? Nascar high-13/1 14/1 ?? Probably worth another 5%??
  10. dobey

    dobey Epic Member 5+ Years 500 Posts

    Ethanol is easy to make. Anyone can do it (though not legally in most states, as you need a license to produce liquors). But building a still and getting moonshine out of it, isn't exactly hard. People have been doing it for at least a hundred years.

    As for high compression on OEM engines, it's typically only seen on the SIDI engines; which there are more and more of, as manufacturers push to meet CAFE standards. With E85 or straight ethanol, the compression ratio could indeed be run at 12:1 or higher, if it was the only fuel the engine could run on. The problem is of course, that E85 is not available everywhere, and flex fuel engines generally have to run on 87 or E85, so they can't push the compression very high. It would be great to see GM produce a High Feature SIDI V6 that requires E85 or higher though. At 13:1, it would probably be a 400+ HP N/A motor. Right now, they're throwing turbos on an LFX to get numbers in the 400+ range on a V6, to make the LF3 which will be in the new CTS. Heck, even a 12:1 SIDI engine that required 91+ would be interesting. I wonder if anyone's rebuilt an LFX to bump the compression up that high, and run on 93 yet. Would be a nice bump in power.

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