• Mar 14th 2011 at 9:53AM
  • 17
The scuffle over more ethanol in the fuel supply continues, but it looks like gasoline containing up to 15 percent ethanol (E15) will most likely flow out of at least one of the pumps at your local fueling station this summer. What this doesn't mean that E10 gasoline, which has been widely used throughout the U.S. for years, will vanish any time soon.

Back in January, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that E15 was safe to use in Model Year 2001-2006 vehicles. In October of 2010, the Agency approved the biofuel for 2007 or newer vehicles, but some critics still warn that E15 may be unsafe for autos.

The EPA is looking to finalize the E15 labels for gasoline pumps within the next few months and aims to have the biofuel officially registered for use in road-going vehicles this spring. That means that E15 should be available nationwide sometime this summer. According to Tom Buis, chief executive officer of Growth Energy, the availability of E15 will immediately drive down the price of gasoline, which is predicted to soar to $4 per gallon this July. Anyone else think this'll happen?

[Source: Automotive News – sub. req.]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Months Ago
      According to this report the CO2 produced from ethanol is considerably less than gasoline but biodiesel is the big winner.


      I've tried several brands of gas with ethanol and have not noticed any difference in mileage and I have tracked my mileage on my car since February 2005. Shell brand gas lowers my mileage noticeably for some reason but even the generic gas with ethanol does not.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Besides all of the other things that are stupid and suck about ethanol, read this feedback article in this month's Automotive Engineering Magazine (Mar 1, 2011):

      The ethanol will meet California's low-carbon fuel standard. How can this be?
      Use published data for the lb/gal of CO2 for gasoline (19.6), and for ethanol (12.57), and the energy content of each of those fuels. You can show that for a trip that would require 100 gal of pure gasoline, the same trip with E10 would have tailpipe emissions of 6 lb less CO2 if the loss in mpg were that predicted by the energy content per gal. The loss in mpg on this basis would be 3.4%
      However, most motorists report a loss in mpg of between 5 and 10% when E10 is used. My own careful speed-corrected mileage measurements over the past two years show that E10 costs me about 7.5% loss of gas mileage. At an mpg loss of 7.5%, the trip would generate about 75 lb more CO@ with E10 than with E0. This is over an above the CO2 generated in the farming and production of ethanol, whether from sugarcane or corn.
      Even Al Gore admits that ethanol harms the environment.
      It's time that SAE International takes a stand on the ethanol scam that is costing our nation $7 billion annually and benefits only the recipients of taxpayer largesse. We engineers know better.
      Harry Wertheimer
      Retired engineer and 55-year SAE member
      • 8 Months Ago
      Great. More taxpayer-funded subsidies to farmers who largely don't need them to go along with the reduced gas mileage.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Part of the new budget proposal is to remove the already diminished ethanol subsidies. On the other hand, I've not seen a proposal to remove the oil subsidies.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Speaking pedantically, gas mileage is unaffected. Fuel mileage will drop. Ethanol is not gasoline.

        As far as subsidies, I agree that food should not be made into fuel. However, waste products could (and I believe, should) be refined into fuel where possible.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Let's dispense, for the umpteenth time, with a few commonly repeated stupidities:

      "Ethanol gets lower mileage". The point of better mileage was NOT to pursue better mileage for its own sake. Rather better mileage has been a TOOL to try to reduce gasoline usage, and thus reduce gasoline's negative environmental, economic, and national security effects. If some other tool, like switching to ethanol, or increasing ethanol use, better accomplishes those tasks than improving fuel efficiency in gasoline-only cars, than that other tool should be embraced.

      "Ethanol burns food." There is no food shortage. Even as ethanol corn production went up by an order of magnitude in the last decade, food corn production did not fall but also rose by 45%. Production of other staple crops such as soybeans has also risen. Agriculture is not a zero sum game, where increasing production of one thing means reduced production of something else. The reason is the huge unused slack capacity in the world ag sector. Only half of US arable land is farmland and LESS than half that farmland is even cultivated. Per-acre crop yields rise relentlessly, up more than 17% since 2003 alone; Iowa produces more corn than the entire 1940s USA. Less and less manpower is needed as well; young adults were streaming out of rural areas looking for work even when the economy was growing. In other words there's lots of available space and manpower to expand ag production for biofuel without hurting the food supply.

      "Ethanol benefits corn farmers and agribusiness." So what? Better than Mideastern petro-tyrants who fund terrorism and WMD programs.

      "We should just drill for oil here at home." What oil? We have only 3% of world oil reserves, COUNTING offshore and Arctic, while OPEC has 78%. And their oil is cheaper to extract and more desirable in the marketplace (light sweet crude). And they're hoarding their oil as we race through what little we have (even with drilling restrictions) so each year their proportion of what's left goes up and ours goes down. Drop restrictions and we race through what we have even faster and end up wholly at OPEC's mercy sooner.

      "Corn ethanol is bad, some other way of making ethanol is better." Conventional sugar/starch ethanol can be made in worthwhile quantity from at least 17 plants grown worldwide. Sugarcane has the best yield, but grows best elsewhere, and much-maligned corn, which grows well here, is no slouch in output either. The US has a robust, experienced corn growing and processing industry, with a built-in infrastructure.

      "Cellulosic ethanol is the way to go." Cellulosic ethanol has been 5 years away for decades. The promised dramatic output yields ignore cost and scale issues. In any case, even if it were great, that's no reason to oppose pro-ethanol policies such as allowing E15 or encouraging flex-fuel vehicles, let alone mandating E15 or FFVs. Finally, inedible biomass is more cheaply and easily made into methanol rather than ethanol.
        • 8 Months Ago
        10nisman94, I'm not going to say that ethanol, on its own, solves global warming or is carbon neutral. But using it instead of gasoline is a big step in the right direction if CO2 is your main concern.

        In a sense, oil is carbon that has been sequestered away from the atmosphere already for us deep underground and would have remained there for essentially forever in human terms if we had not drilled and refined it and burned that CO2 into the atmosphere.

        The carbon in ethanol by contrast is already part of the current biosphere, part of the current carbon cycle, and would have returned to the atmosphere on its own accord regardless of our actions. It may well be true that ethanol speeds the natural replenishment process somewhat, but that could be slowed down later, and that's very different thing from permanently adding to the grand total of carbon in the system as gasoline does.

        Accordingly if we all shifted to ethanol or bio-methanol, we'd buy ourselves a great deal more time by in effect slowing down the process of adding carbon dioxide to the air significantly.

        I have to add here that greenhouse gas certainly seems like an issue that needs to be addressed, but everything operates on different timescales.

        As Robert Zubrin analogizes here:


        You have to breathe every minute, drink water every day or so, eat every week or so, obtain remunerative work every year or so, and set aside money for your retirement over the course of decades. All of these goals are crucial. But if you're scuba diving and your oxygen fails, that's not a time to muse on the performance of your portfolio - you'd do better by focusing on the matter at hand.

        In this analogy global warming is like your retirement. Neglect or drastically worsen the situation at your peril, but in the mean time you have major issues to focus on.

        Even from an environmental perspective there are more urgent and current issues such as smog, which kills 40,000 Americans a year, and a million Chinese. Not even the most hair on fire AGW alarmist can claim such a death toll.

        Furthermore oil crashes our economy, ruining countless futures by wiping out trillions in wealth, and funds tyranny, pro-terrorist extremism, and actual terrorist attacks on our troops overseas and us here at home.

        So the fact that ethanol doesn't solve the global warming issue doesn't mean we should reject it. It's better than gasoline from an AGW perspective and it does a tremendous immediate amount to solve smog and terror.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Thanks for making sense, most people are for or against something based on political partisan brain washing. Thinking practically and logically to plan our future is more important than cheap oil.
        • 8 Months Ago
        The REAL issue on Earth is not anthropogenic global warming - a theory still in search of proof:


        It is sustainability. And THAT is addressed directly by switching to renewable fuels. Period. Ethanol is not a fossil. It is sustainable. And it keeps a small portion of the $485B sent annually to buy foreign oil - at home. Of course all the better when it comes from biomass waste products such as wood or municipal trash. "It gets better."
        • 8 Months Ago
        "Ethanol produces more CO2 than straight gasoline, but people tend to ignore this because it's 'renewable' and 'carbon neutral' because supposedly the corn plants planted specifically for ethanol production absorb enough of the extra CO2 to make up the difference."

        Can you please respond to this?
      • 8 Months Ago
      "The EPA is looking to finalize the E15 labels for gasoline pumps within the next few months "

      A serious graphic designer and a human factors specialist shouldn't take more than 4 days creating, testing and approving final labels.

      • 8 Months Ago
      What a crappy ass headline!

      It's controversial, sure. It has fans and critics. However, your headline suggests it only critics. How about "With fanfare, E15 coming to U.S. pumps this summer"?

      It seems ABG would rather side with big oil.
        • 8 Months Ago
        Either way you slice it this is bad news. It's another pump at gas stations (since it will not replace regular old E10 gas) and it will cause you get to worse fuel economy.

        The only thing this does is subsidize farmers who aren't even growing the right crop to make ethanol. It's stupid.
        • 8 Months Ago
        From what I gather this has both disadvantages and its advantages. I myself will enjoy any discounts I can get on gas. If nothing materializes from this then it certainly wont ruin my day...
        • 8 Months Ago
        nrb -

        I agree with you completely.

        All that has been done was to de-criminalize the sale of E15 between willing buyers and willing sellers. There is no mandate, so all the protesters can just choose to continue to buy E10.

        Before this regulation, you were a criminal if you bought or sold E15 for road use. Now you aren't. This only affects the buyers and sellers who WILLINGLY choose to conduct private business transactions, so all these protesters can go F*** themselves, because it has nothing to do with them. So why does ABG continue to pander directly to the people that this has nothing to do with, while disrespecting everyone else?

        I'm tired of getting shit upon by ABG.
      • 8 Months Ago
      Four years ago I was still lazily deciding to get out of the US for various reasons leaving my original family behind and burning my bridges behind me in order to find fresher fields, learn new languages and put the pressure on to walk more, talk with new friends more and live more fully! This all has happened! I remember before leaving that eventful day discussing with the folks back there in Maryland that 1.45 was not the end but the beginning of the rise to five dollars or more ...8 dollars tops. Voila
        • 8 Months Ago
        ...lame. America is kick-ass bro. Oddly enough, a lot of people find friends and places to walk here. Sorry it didn't work out for you.

        On another note: WHY IS ABG ON A VENDETTA AGAINST ETHANOL??? Did ethanol take you out and then not call you back? Somehow you guys are all about diesel but ethanol which supplants billions of gallons of oil with SOLAR ENERGY via photosynthesis is somehow a dirty technology.

        Using even the WORST estimates which take into account everything from fertilizer production to shipping, corn ethanol produces 1.2 units of energy for every 1 put into it. Where does that 20% energy bonus come from? THE SUN!.

        Does it get less mileage from each gallon of fluid? YES

        Is that fluid gasoline? NO WAY HOSEA

        Alright I'm done capitalizing words but the point is this. Looking at a fuel simply based on its energy content per volume is missing the bigger picture. What matters is the amount of energy in a fuel per unit of energy used in production. This is called efficiency. (Literally... efficiency = Work_in/Work_out) Diesel may have more energy per unit volume of gasoline but that does not mean that it is "greener." It's still 100% non-renewable oil based fuel. Ethanol may make your volumetric energy content lower but it increases the energy efficiency of your vehicle by replacing some of the energy that had to be dug up with energy from the sun.

        Read up on your ethanol information ABG because these articles are seriously misinformed.
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