Thursday, April 13, 2006

Lets all be alcoholics!

At the turn of the last century, there were all sorts of different vehicles on the roads of America; internal combustion, electric, steam, you name it. About 20 or 30 years after the Ford model A (the first car ford built, not the replacement to the T) Gas fueled internal combustion engines became the dominant power plant for cars and trucks. Now almost a full century later, the question of self purpoltion has come full circle, and gas seems to be losing the battle this time.

I am not talking about the EV's you see on the news every so often, but rather this 'new' thing called E85. I have posted reports about E85 before, but with () many mistakes. Let me clear the air now, while I have the chance.

E85 is just that; 85% ethanol mixed with 15% regular unleaded Gas. The reason E85 is so popular right now with Ford and GM is because it happens to be the best combo of ethanol and gas. The reason for the mix is for cold starts, idle and a few other more technical reasons that I don't understand because I don't have a PhD. There are some vehicles that can run on E95 or E100 (the only one I know of with E100 is the Saab aero-x). Any vehicle that can run E85 can run on any mix of ethanol and gas less than 85%. So you could for example run E50 or E10 or even on just gas, if you wanted to.

that's good due simply because E85 must be introduced to the public, which can be much harder than it sounds. As good as Ethanol may be, if people do not understand it, or don't know if they can run their vehicle on E85 they will be less likely to acecpt the change from gas to ethanol.

Also Ethanol is less volatile than gas, and so E85 vehicles get less miles per gallon than regular gas vehicles. General Motors has been able to show that performance will not suffer; the Saab Aero-X concept that showed in Switzerland out performed the Corvette, the platform that the Aero-X was largely based from. Because of the lack of "fuel economy", a term I use lightly here, the People may not feel the numbers quite add up. For example, according to research done by IL's Steven Cole Smith "Mr. Nice Guy" "According to the EPA, a new Ford Crown Victoria FFV with a 4.6-liter V8 engine is rated at 17 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway on gasoline. On E85, that mileage drops to 12 mpg in the city, 18 mpg on the highway." that's a drop of 5 mpg in the city, and 7 mpg on the highway. Thats a LOT. This is normal, so no matter what vehicle you own, if it's a Fex-fuel vehicle, then you can expect to fill up at your E85 pump more than your regular unleaded pump.

Still at the sake of quieting the liberal media, and the hippies out there who would rather burn SUV's then ride in them, I would fill up more often. The only real up side to E85, besides not having to import terrorist oil is the fact that the alcohol burns cleaner so it pollutes less. The added bonus is that it costs about the same if not much less than regular unleaded gas, and is a renewable fuel.

Corn is the crop of choice right now, but that is changing even as you read this. According to current research, one bushel of corn can produce 2.7 gallons of ethanol. However other things like rice straw, the stuff left over from rice harvesting, or the left over from sugar cane harvests to even municipal solid waste can be made into ethanol. So how would you feel if you could have your cake and eat it to? All of us, including the hippies, would be driving Chevy Tahoes!

There is still a problem with building the infrastructure, but the Ethanol Vehicle Coalition is at the forefront of raising public interest. Check out to see if your vehicle is E85 compatible, where you can buy E85, and if there is no E85 fuel station near you sign up to tell them about it. Being from New Jersey (on of the 12 states that doesn't have E85) I have already signed up with my email address, city, state, and zip. That's all you really need, and they do the rest.

I would like to see more people driving flex-fuel vehicles simply because I do not want to be dependent on Oil any more. I do not want to be dependent on Midwest farmers either, and I would also stress the continued research into Hydrogen, or other forms of fuel as well.


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