• Apr 10th 2011 at 9:17AM
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Last Friday, the Obama administration announced that it will offer incentives to gasoline stations that install E85 (a fuel consisting of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline) pumps as part of the government's effort to boost the use of biofuels. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack said that the administration has set a target of having 10,000 additional E85 pumps nationwide over the next five years. In a statement issued on Friday, Vilsack wrote:
Flex-fuel pumps will give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels.The pumps allow consumers to blend motor fuel with up to 85 percent ethanol for cars that can run on the higher mixes.
The exact dollar figure of the incentive to be handed out to gas stations is unknown at this time, but funding will come from the United States Department of Agriculture's Rural Energy for America Program. Currently, only 2,350 gas stations out of approximately 167,800 nationwide offer E85 and nearly 8.5 million flex-fuel capable vehicles are in use across the U.S.

[Source: USDA | Image: diaper – C.C. License 2.0]
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USDA Program Provides Consumers More Choices at the Pump With Flex-Fuel Options

Funding for Flex-Fuel Pumps Will Help Build Out Critical Infrastructure and Promote Greater Use of Biofuels

WASHINGTON, April 8, 2011 - Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that Americans will soon have more choices at the gas pump through a USDA program that will provide funding for installation of flexible fuel pumps. USDA is issuing a rule to clarify that the definition of renewable energy systems in the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) includes flexible fuel pumps, sometimes referred to as "blender pumps." This clarification is intended to provide fuel station owners with incentives to install flexible fuel pumps that will offer Americans more renewable energy options. The Obama administration has set a goal of installing 10,000 flexible fuel pumps nationwide within 5 years.

"Flex-fuel pumps will give Americans a choice to purchase domestically produced renewable transportation fuels," Vilsack said. "USDA's energy programs are helping to build a clean energy economy, while creating green jobs here at home and making our nation more energy secure in the long-term."

Today, most gasoline sold in this country is a mix of 10 percent ethanol. Currently, there are 8 - 8.5 million flexible fuel vehicles on U.S. roads, constituting about 3.2 - 3.5 percent of the approximately 250 million vehicles on the road. These flexible fuel vehicles can be fueled with E85 (a blend of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline). There are approximately 2,350 fueling stations that offer E85 of the more than 167,800 stations nationwide. Earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the results of E15 testing on vehicles years 2001 and younger. EPA's findings confirms there are additional vehicles on the road able to take advantage of higher ethanol blends than currently available at your local, non-E85, pump.

In addition to flexible fuel pumps being eligible for funding under REAP, Vilsack noted that:

* Grants are available for audits of energy improvements and studies to determine the feasibility of renewable energy systems; and
* Agricultural producers in non-rural areas are eligible for REAP assistance. Small businesses must still be located in rural areas. This clarification makes REAP eligibility requirements consistent with those of other USDA energy programs.

A Federal Register notice on these clarifications will be published in the near future. USDA Rural Development will meet with elected Tribal officials in the upcoming months to discuss the impact of the changes on Tribal governments, communities and individuals. USDA will also host a series of informational meetings and workshops to explain the rule changes and to bring stakeholders together to advance retail Flex-Fuel installations. For information on the meeting in your state, contact for your Rural Development office. A list of these offices can be found at http://www.rurdev.usda.gov/StateOfficeAddresses.html.

USDA, through its Rural Development mission area, administers and manages housing, business and community infrastructure and facility programs through a national network of state and local offices. These programs are designed to improve the economic stability of rural communities, businesses, residents, farmers and ranchers and improve the quality of life in rural America. Rural Development has an existing portfolio of nearly $149 billion in loans and loan guarantees. Visit http://www.rurdev.usda.gov for additional information about the agency's programs or to locate the USDA Rural Development office nearest you.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago

      Hey ABG,

      You're missing a story here.

      American Honda March Sales Up 18.9 Percent
      Fit, Insight and CR-V post record March sales

      Watch what happens with Insight and CR-Z sales (the cars everybody here loves to hate) in the coming months/years as gas prices stay high.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Oh and Carcus.. other Interesting March numbers..

        Land Rover Up 26.2%
        Porsche up 35.9%

        (Real fuel sippers there)

        actually EVERY car company was up except Toyota, Smart, Lincoln and Jag.

        The biggest hit was SMART cars. DOWN 37.2%

        No use quoting statistics without telling the whole story. and I actually like the CR-Z.. but what will make a bigger dent in our fuel consumption as a nation will be the migration to smaller diesel options and Multi fuel becoming standard across the board.

        Remember the car companies and oil companies said the same crap with unleaded fuels.. it would ruin engines. gas mileage would suffer, yadda yadda.. but look 35 years later and leaded gas is just something a few strange race cars use.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Ok Lloyd,

        My point was not brand vs brand, it was model specific.

        So, to be specific ... the Honda Insight sales (Daily selling rate, year over year vs 2010) were up 62.2%. There is no year over year data on the newly introduced CR-Z.

        I have thought since the Insight came out that it would be successful (in terms of sales numbers) car, it was just waiting on high gas prices to return. If you are really looking for good fuel economy (i.e. real world 40+ mpg), and consider long term True cost to own, then this car is the best value on the market. The CR-Z is somewhat similar in this regard.

        I expect both of these cars to continue to gain sales momentum (a lot of sales momentum) if gas prices stay high.

        I also think Honda's IMA system is under-rated in general. It's just ahead of it's time, because we have not seen the "budget constrained masses" truly start to shop for fuel efficient cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      This is an excellent action from the Obama Admin. An important step toward Energy Independence.
      • 4 Years Ago
      They should slap a label on the pump telling you where the Ethanol comes from, i.e. from Corn or something else. Then you could get a metric on if people want to buy corn ethanol.

      It likely wouldn't matter considering Corn's stranglehold on Government but if there was a choice I'd pump the non-corn stuff.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Corn has an awful per-acre yield in terms of ethanol compared to almost anything else. And you've never heard anyone complain about high fructose corn syrup being in everything? Corn products find their way into almost everything we eat. Animals are fed corn so almost all your meat and dairy is corn fed, and a large list of chemicals found in all kinds of food are made from corn.

        The corn industry is far larger than most people think, and its no surprise that they have gotten entrenched into the ethanol game. And really theres little chance of getting them out.

        I have no concerns about food shortage due to corn ethanol because as you said, we massively over produce. However the land that we use to farm corn for ethanol could be used to farm, say, switchgrass and double the output of ethanol per acre. But thats not going to happen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I realize we have all been carefully and expensively told that corn is uncool and to be avoided. As soon as some other ethanol source becomes as big a thorn in the side of the oil cartel as corn is now, THAT source will be subjected to a similar campaign, and the lemmings will be trying to out-do each other in eagerness to show disdain for switchgrass or algae or whatever.

        Corn ethanol gets a bum rap. Nobody complains about cornstarch being used for footpowder or biodegradable plastic. Nobody worries about flax or cottonseeds being used to plant textile crops instead of being ground up to make edible oil.

        That's because neither is a major threat to the petroleum cartel. Only with corn ethanol do we hear carefully orchestrated screaming about an edible crop being used for a non food source. Don't get stampeded. Use corn ethanol to stick a thumb in the eye of the opinion manipulators.

        The fact is that even while ethanol corn production has risen several fold in the past decade, food corn production has gone up 45%. There's huge unused slack capacity in our ag sector; we can expand biofuel production without harming the food supply.

        And while nothing can top sugarcane, corn has a decent per-acre crop yield too, is better suited for US farmlands, and already enjoys a large installed base of experienced farmers and industrial processors.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah, the government shouldn't be pushing the corn-derived stuff.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Ignorance is bliss. Ugg. Ethanol Strange, Must be bad.. Me smash with rock.

      The Demand will drive the progression to newer forms.. heck, just using Sugar to make ethanol is 10 times more effective per acre then corn.. and that would be a HUGE boom to our flagging economy here in Florida.

      Demand is the only thing holding back more alternative sources of ethanol. build the cars and the stations. and the free market will take over... Orange waste, Tobacco Stalks.. The big industries are currently leading the way with large wind and solar installations.. the governments just move too slow.

      The Tri-fuel standard is, however, a pretty brilliant solution.. Ethanol,Methanol, and gasoline all battling for the same consumer will drive prices for all the fuels down. once competition enters the market and demand is sufficient to strip our supply.. Good things will happen... Right now at least here in Florida there are so few E85 stations the ones selling it are actually selling it AT A PREMIMUM!!! Since the racers love it as cheap octane booster. and many are converting to Full time.

        • 4 Years Ago
        EV Nerd misleadingly says, "Let me decide."

        Except that he opposes making full flex fuel capability a required standard feature in all new cars sold in America.

        Making flex fuel standard, like seat belts, would give all drivers the choice of using planet-fouling, economy crashing, terrorist funding Enemy Fuel (a/k/a gasoline), or using cleaner-burning, cartel monopoly smashing, terrorist-bankrupting renewable alcohol fuel.

        Instead, EV Nerd supports continuing the suicidally stupid status quo of passively allowing millions of new cars rolling out of factories and loading docks into our showrooms and highways that are unnecessarily "locked in" to gasoline ONLY as their ONLY fuel, leaving millions of drivers with NO choice.
        • 4 Years Ago
        OK, I'll bite.

        So why do we keep subsidizing CORN ethanol when it makes little sense ?

        Roughly a gallon of diesel fuel, plus a gallon equivalent of natural gas, equals three gallons of ethanol.
        Which, when I put it in my tank, drops my gas mileage considerably.

        When considering the diesel and natural gas, pollutes as much or more as any other fuel, and because of the inefficiencies of production and distribuition, actually produces more CO2.

        And drives food prices UP.
        Using food to make fuel.

        Stop the subsidies. All subsidies.

        Here's a solution no one can be against: Have ethanol in a separate tank at the filling station. You choose; E85, E15, E10, E5, E0, Ewhatever you want except for above E85.

        Let me decide.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Actually your example of petroleum affecting food supplies is just an example of multiple causes rather than proof corn ethanol production has no causal relation with food prices. It is obvious petroleum prices are not the only cause of higher food prices, since there are plenty of other causal variables that affect food prices directly (for example the supply/demand of the food, costs of any processing necessary to produce the food, costs of any materials used in that chain, etc.).

        In fact it's not that hard to specify a possible causal chain:
        increased corn ethanol production -> lower food corn supply -> higher food corn prices -> higher food prices

        Of course any link in that causal chain has assumptions that may not be true. For example, there is a possibility the corn being used for corn ethanol is not the same corn or the same supply as the corn for food, thus it would not affect the food corn supply (and thus will chop off a link in that chain).

        There's also other factors that would affect how big of an effect you see in food prices. For example, how much does corn ethanol affect food corn supplies, and how big a component is corn in our general food supply.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "And drives food prices UP."

        Not so much. Correlation does not equal causality. When you learn how completely tied food production and distribution is to petroleum, you realize that even if there was an infinite storehouse of corn somewhere, food prices would still go up petrol goes up. You might be able to afford the food, but not the petrol based distribution system that gets it to you.

        Ethanol production spikes when oil prices reach a certain price threshold. Those increase oil prices are what cause food prices to go up, not the ethanol production.

        And, although corn is absolutely the worst possible crop to pick for a biomass, and subsidizing it is silly, the only good news is that once ethanol is a mainstream fuel, the far more efficient crops will eliminate corn as a biomass. And those crops grow where food crops won't, so no, nobody's going to starve from lack of corn.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I want to add to what 7of1 has already said which is that if ethanol becomes popular car makers could build engines specifically made for high ethanol content (high compression) hence negate the mpg drop for similar power output, like some cars today require premium fuel.
      • 4 Years Ago
      If there is demand for electric connections at service stations and elsewhere, they will be supplied, because there will be profit in providing the service. The power won't and shouldn't be free. We need to get the idea out of our heads that Government services are free, because it is absolutely the most expensive way we can possibly provide services, and we have to pay for them one way or another. The government needs to stay out of it. They just no longer have any money to give away.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Harlan, I am not going off what I read in the media, I am going off the numbers. They just simply are not favorable for private healthcare.

        And here is the funny thing about healthcare-- if you use it more it is actually cheaper and more effective (as long as they aren't trying to put you on some drug that you don't need because of connections to a pharma rep). It is cheaper to take out an appendix before it bursts than after. It is cheaper to treat strep throat than to treat rheumatic fever. It is cheaper to go on blood pressure meds before a heart attack than after one. It is cheaper to treat early stage cancer than late stage cancer... And you end up healthier at that lower cost. "Free" healthcare from the government is simply cheaper than subsidized healthcare from the private sector for all parties involved (government, business, individual).

        And while conservative dogma may claim otherwise, the government is absolutely more efficient than the private sector at providing some services. If you doubt me, read the financial statements of the United Way ( and remember that they don't actually do anything but collect resources for other organizations)- compare to government overhead on welfare and other programs that would otherwise be considered charitable. The government may not have the percentage efficiency at providing things like welfare and education that Walmart does at retail distribution, but they are two different services. In comparable fields, the government tends to be more efficient at things like healthcare, defense and infrastructure than the private sector. In things like retail distribution, discretionary items, etc. the private sector is far more efficient.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Sean, spoken like a true socialist, but you are delusional about the costs of government services. As long as you really believe that, then that is the way you should vote. Bigger and bigger government when government itself is a parasite on commerce, from which all prosperity derives. Where are the revenues going to come from when everyone is on the government payroll? Think about it. Government produces nothing. It only designs and enforces the law (somewhat selectively). Are you a government employee?
        • 4 Years Ago
        If you automatically believe something and ignore all evidence and numbers to the contrary, that is dogmatic.

        Despite your name-calling, I am no socialist. I invest 1/3 of my income and made more money in investments than income last year. I just have looked at the numbers, rather than just taking the word of politicians, and came to the conclusion every other major industrialized country has come to regarding healthcare.

        And in terms of why we use contractors, think Eisenhower:

        "In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist."

        The wielding of political power and private profiteering from government policy is the reason we use contractors, not efficiency. Think Carlyle Group.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The government is established to provide some socialistic services, like fire protection and police services for the common good. Also the military for national security. Also the post office which is teetering on survival under the competition from UPS and Fedex. Other than that, they (the government) has interjected themselves into every aspect of life. Now, the bills are due, and they are broke. More than broke, they are continuing to spend 40% more than they are taking in in revenues. They can't stop giving away money they no longer have, because the people are now addicted to this governmental excess, and will refuse to vote for the perpetrators that try to tend the store for the tax payers by cutting deficit spending. You and I must agree on this, because it's obvious. Now they are willing to indemnify future generations rather than risk defeat at the polls while doing the job we elected them to do. A good example is the U.S. Forest Service. It's a fine organization, with very dedicated people, who I have done volunteer work for for the last 15 years. Under the dept of Agriculture, they are given the responsibility of harvesting the nations forests so that building materials will always be available. The timber is free to them. They sell it to logging contractors. Have they ever been able to make a profit for the people who own these National Forests? You guessed it, they always lose money. Governments just aren't very efficient. Go into any federal or state office, and you will see, the employees just aren't in a hurry. It's different from private industry, which has to make a profit to survive. I encourage my grandchildren to do whatever necessary to get a Federal job, because the benefits are just better (at taxpayer's expense) than anywhere else you could work. I see your frustration, but government just isn't competitive with private industry simply because they don't have to be to survive. Many government agencies that have outlived their usefulness cannot die, because they are protected by entrenched politicians who are protecting their constituents turf, at taxpayers expense.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's pretty apparent even from your own statements, where you went wrong. You are saying government always ends up with the highest cost to the end consumer. You are reaching this conclusion because of examples where the government isn't profitable. Where you went wrong is the end cost to a consumer is not directly tied to profitability. In other words, a company making high profits doesn't necessarily mean the consumer is getting the most for their money; most of the time it means just the opposite!

        Where "efficiency" comes in is if both private business and government act under the same premise. With means profitability is minimal (only enough to maintain the business), or a better analogy would be if any profitability/losses goes to the consumer. In that case the supposed extra "efficiency" of the private business may end with a lower cost for the consumer. This usually isn't the case though.

        I do agree with one point, the deficit needs to be addressed. Ideally the government operates on a balanced budget so less money goes to lenders or with a slight surplus in case of bad times. However, there are certain areas (maybe even most areas) where profitability is impossible, but is still viewed as necessary (for example the military). Yet people harp on places that can be profitable (for example the post office).
        • 4 Years Ago
        Socialist health care and Canadian healthcare in particular suffers from odd forms of corruption. e.g. they allow unlicensed physicians to practice medicine if they fall in line with what guv'ment wants them to do.

        Standards of care decrease drastically and without any recourse via courts (courts and healthcare are one) they have no corrective mechanism to combat corruption and cronyism. There is easily as much corruption in these socialized systems as in the "free market" one.

        Canada's insurance industry is a monopoly so you get what they give and nothing more - no civilian oversight.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Government services are free, because it is absolutely the most expensive way we can possibly provide services" hmm... is there a single government health care system anywhere in the world more expensive then our private one? Is there a functional private criminal court system anywhere? I'm not sure about police and fire, but I'd be surprised if you could find an effective private police or fire department at anywhere near the cost of a public one.

        To believe that all services are more expensive when done by government you must ignore reality.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Compare the previous link I posted to these two:


        We are fourth in government spending, 33rd in 36th in life expectancy. Countries with single payrer healthcare are paying less in taxes for healthcare with significantly longer life expectancies... And they don't have the health insurance burdon on employerers. And they don't have the healthcare burdeon on individuals leading to the majority of personal bankruptcies. Our taxes cover ~40% of healthcare espenses in this country vs. 100% in other countries, but we are still paying more in taxes for health care and we still have worse results to show for it...

        Our healthcare system is fundamentally less efficient than single payer government healthcare. You may support private healthcare from an ideological perspective, but it is costing you and everyone else more for worse health outcomes.
        • 4 Years Ago
        In your last sentence, Ine, You seem to equate "government" with "efficiency". That statement is ill advised. These things just aren't that simple. Do you know what people do when health care is free? They use a lot of it! It shouldn't be free. People using the system should be protected from health catastrophes, but have to pay something for other health care. There are a myriad of reasons Americans aren't in as good of health as some other countries, and many of them are discretionary. Diet and exercise, body mass index, we are too fat and lazy. I don't think the sensible Canadians have the same problems as the US. The crux is who is going to pay for this "FREE" health care? Are you really delusional enough to think that someone else is going to pay for you to get better health care? There is no free lunch, and a system with a huge bureaucratic parasite on it's back, and unlimited funds available, has no chance of being more efficient. You need to give this some more thought, and I don't mean just agreeing with what you read in the media.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Don't use the United way, and this is not dogma of any kind. I have watched government in action since I first voted in '64. THEY ARE INEFFICIENT! Terribly inefficient. Why do you think they contract most things out? It's because that is the only way they can have any control over costs. Your ideological distaste for those who make a profit is evident in your writing. You are a true socialist. I am a free market capitalist. I believe in limited government, and from your writing you think bigger government (that has gotten us into this mess) is good. We aren't going to be able to find much common ground. We are going to have to let the people decide in the next election (as risky as that is). The people's will be done. And you call me dogmatic. Priceless!
        • 4 Years Ago
        No I am not a government employee and I almost always vote for lower spending. That does not change the fact the we have the most expensive health care in the world. Don't assume that I'm a socialist just because I disagree with your obviously false assertion that government "is absolutely the most expensive way we can possibly provide services". Some services (like courts) require authority that cannot be privatized.

        Think about how privatized fire protection would work. If I refuse to pay, I'm still protected from a city fire so long as my neighbors pay. If my house is the origin of a fire are they going to let it spread instead of putting it out?

        If you really believe that the government should not provide any services than move to the tropical paradise of Somalia.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Good points, Ine. I would offer only that China has a fairly good health care system, and it is pay for services. India has socialized medicine and they say their medical care system is horrible. I also hear complaints from Canadians about the lack of timely care because of necessary rationing. I wonder if our poor life expectancy isn't more the result of drugs and the devastating effects they have on all levels of society. Bear in mind, our hospitals treat all comers in emergency rooms and are rarely able to recover the costs. It's a huge problem and I don't have the answer, but I have misgivings about what will happen to our system when it is controlled by bureaucrats. When we are already spending 40% more than we are taking in, crippling future generations with overwhelming debt, we are going to initiate another huge entitlement? I think if you believe the governments figures on the cost, you are really naive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Excuse me? May anyone join in this rant?

        Harlan is quite correct, The government is always the most expensive method of delivering services to it's citizens.

        But, Sean and Jake are also correct that some services must be operated by the Government either because these services are so inherently unprofitable that private enterprise wouldn't be involved, or because profit is not the motive.

        I have lived under several different economic and political systems, and I find that the most efficient societies are those where the government stays out of moral judgements as much as possible, and leaves private business to run the economy.

        In such systems the government the regulatory framework (and enforcement) as well as certain services only a government can provide. To improve efficiency, the government becomes a customer. Handing private enterprise the brief, and letting a competitive profit making enterprise to provide the service. The taxpayers becomes the customer. The government like any customer, vigilantly monitors the delivery of the service to ensure the private operator is delivering the best service.

        In Australia the urban fire brigades are very efficient, they are paid for from a levy on insurance companies and although the firefighters are government employees, the business functions of the fire brigade is tendered out. (rural fire brigades are volunteer).

        Switzerland, is hardly a hotbed of socialism! Yet Switzerland has an excellent heath system for all citizens. The system is a hybrid of the government providing basic care funding, topped up with private insurance, but operated by private enterprise with the government as a customer.

        This method achieves the best outcome for the taxpayer. It's also pretty transparent, and relatively corruption free if the government has a strong independent audit system.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Harlan- relook at the life expectancy chart: Canada is 11th and China is 80th.

        Canadians, despite a similar lifestyle to Americans, are paying less in taxes for full health coverage and better outcomes. Money can buy you to the front of the line for some services here, so it may not work out well for Canadian alcoholic multi-millionaires like David Crosby who go to the US for multiple liver transplants (although other people would get their liver transplants sooner). There are outliers in any system, but in the big picture, Canadians come out ahead while spending less tax money. And they don't have the additional healthcare burden on individuals and employers that drags on our economy. And there is no additional burden on hospitals you state, as everyone is already paid for.

        Ideology aside, on a simple cost/benefit analysis single-payer government healthcare comes out ahead. Our private system with subsidies for vulnerable populations and regulations to try to force private providers to do the right thing is just fundamentally less efficient for than directly government-run healthcare.

        The questions you need to ask yourself are: Does ideology overcome efficiency? Do you want to pay more for worse results?
        • 4 Years Ago
        The simple fact of the matter is that government is more efficient for certain things, especially things where people are willing to pay every dollar they have. Private companies seek to charge the maximum you are willing to pay for the minimum input (i.e. profit)... so how much is your life and health worth to you? Our private healthcare system with partial government support costs individuals and employers more than any company in the world... and costs taxpayers more than all but 4 countries. France, Germany, UK, Canada, etc. with universal government health care and better health outcomes pay less in taxes for healthcare per person than we do.

        And there have been examples of private police forces too. In Sicily, they didn't have an adequate government police force and had a problem with bandits stealing, brutalizing and raping. So they got together and came up with a private police force where people would pay for protection and named it after their brutalized daughters: "Ma' Fia". Needless to say, the Mafia did not work out to the best interest of the people.

        Private companies do some things better, and governments do other things better. The Romans demonstrated the superiority of government infrastructure, and there are things that are too valuable to the people of America to be subject to profit maximization.
      • 4 Years Ago
      There are positive and negative attributes to both scenarios; one where there is array of dispensers with all gasoline, 80-85 % waste-to-ethyl alcohol, all diesel, all CNG and one where small increments of bio-compounds are added like E5 < E10 < E15 < E20 < E25.

      With all gasoline, the oil prices give large-scale rise to public demand for flexible fueled vehicles and smaller additions give time for markets to develop so there's supply of vehicles to satisfy the level of demand.

      Electricity is the only solution in many applications ("in-wheel" moles and mining trucks) for many reasons (e.g. torque and consumption at equivalent power), however strange it may feel. Automotive APUs in the time of need could power entire buildings or even towns (Bugatti Veyron has almost MW-class 'mill' although only for motive power).
      • 4 Years Ago
      This announced policy is better than the status quo. I'm excited to hear that E85 stations are slated to QUINTUPLE in the next few years.

      But it is not the best and most effective policy that could be adopted, which would be to make full flex fuel a required standard feature in all new cars sold in America.

      American or foreign, domestic or import, big or small, luxury or entry-level, we require all cars to have seat belts. We should also require them to be able to run on non-petroleum fuel, so each driver, and our economy as a whole, is not stuck with having to pay the OPEC cartel whatever OPEC demands just to move about and live life.

      The real problem is the cars, not the stations. Any gas station owner can switch a pump to alcohol. Any group of small town entrepeneurs can open a new filling station, or a methanol or ethanol refinery. But they can't make cars, especially highway capable, regulatory-compliant cars on a mass scale at affordable prices.

      And so the problem is that only a tiny percentage of cars can USE the fuel. With that as the situation, gas station owners will still be reluctant to dedicate a pump (representing a huge portion of their sales) to a tiny percentage of drivers. With that as the situation, little risk capital will flow into alcohol fuel production. Hence the need for government subsidies and other involvement, involvement vulnerable to political counter-attack.

      But if all cars COULD use alcohol fuel, then stations would fall over each other to offer it to avoid losing customers to their competition. Risk capital would flood into alcohol fuel production. There would need be little or no ongoing government intervention, trying to push a rock uphill. Alternative fuel would not be falsely stigmatized as something politicians are pushing on an unwilling populace.

      Since it costs only $130 per new car at the factory for automakers to add full flex fuel capability, such a requirement will not be at all burdensome. It's obvious common sense to make this happen, so much so that both Obama and McCain promised this in the 2008 campaign.


      "Barack Obama and Joe Biden will work with Congress and auto companies to ensure that all new vehicles have FFV capability – the capability by the end of his first term in office."



      "Instead of playing favorites, our government should level the playing field for all alcohol fuels that break the monopoly of gasoline, lowering both gasoline prices and carbon emissions. And this can be done with a simple federal standard to hasten the conversion of all new vehicles in America to flex-fuel technology -- allowing drivers to use alcohol fuels instead of gas in their cars. Brazil went from about five to over 70 percent of all new vehicles with flex-fuel capacity. It did all that in just three years. Yet those same automakers that helped Brazil make the change say it will take them longer to reach the goal of 50 percent new flex-fuel vehicles for America. But I am confident they can do more, and do it faster, in the interest of our energy security. And if I am elected president, they will. Whether it takes a meeting with automakers during my first month in office, or my signature on an act of Congress, we will meet the goal of a swift conversion of American vehicles away from oil."

      Why won't Obama honor his campaign promise? Why won't McCain work with him to make it happen?

      We the people must demand they do so. Visit SetAmericaFree dot org.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I am a physician and let me tell you this. When government ends private health care insurance and thus private health care you will see rationing, lines and worse. When fee for service ends for physicians and physicians are simple paid a salary then do you think we will work as hard? I know I won't. I work at least 60 hours a week not including call ( including call I would work 120 hours a week), but I do so and bust my tail every day and see patients who call in at the last minute because there is some financial incentive to do so. Take away this incentive and I will be like most government employees and work in slow down mode. When everyone has access then no one will have health care because there won't be anyone left to provide it. Another misconception is that people will be healthier if they have government run free health care. I can tell you that the least healthy people I see are people who have free health care? Why? Because they don't have to worry about paying or taking care of themselves. They lead unhealthy lifestyles because they don't have to pay for their own insurance or health care. While folks who have deductibles and have to pay their own premiums tend to take much better care of themselves. That is an incontrovertible fact that i see EVERY day.
        The Other Bob
        • 4 Years Ago
        You may be a doctor, but you don't know much about insurance reform or payment delivery systems outside the US. When is the Government ending private insurance? In fact the health care reform law mandates we buy it. You sound completely hysterical.
      • 4 Years Ago
      INCENTIVE - Isn't that just another term for subsidy ?

      with deficit funds ?
      for stupid ?

      Yes, and I'm also against subsidies for oil companies.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Your whining about deficits is ignorant or disingenuous.

        The money has already been appropriated. In fact the law in question, that enabled this to happen, is the 2008 Farm Bill, was passed in May 2008, before the financial collapse.

        So unless you mindlessly object to ALL federal spending regardless of its purpose, there's no special reason to oppose this program.

        Furthermore, it's precisely our dependence on oil that has caused the economic collapse, and thus the collapse of federal revenue and explosion of stimulus spending that has ballooned our deficit.

        There is no long term solution to our deficit problem that does not involve our breaking free of oil.

        And passively crossing your fingers and hoping for the free market to save you, without actually DOING something, is not an actual solution. It hasn't worked so far because there's a three way standoff. To oversimplify, gas stations don't sell alternative fuel because so few cars can use it. Automakers don't include alternative fuel compatibility because consumers don't demand it. Consumers don't demand it because they're unaware of its existence or benefits, or don't see it for sale near them and thus know it would be futile. This problem is unlikely to solve itself, and will most certainly not solve itself in anything like an acceptable timeframe.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Citizens United [ Against America]", where the Corporations Make the Rules.
        Of course, you're going to help fund the oil corn monopolies.
      • 4 Years Ago
      The irony of this article and the one about Nissan saying the Government should help subsidize EV charging stations popping up next to each other is hilarious.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Exactly what I was thinking! Aaahhhh the unbalanced subsidy game. It would make me ROFL if it wasn't so sad.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "Currently, only 2,350 gas stations out of approximately 167,800 nationwide offer E85 and nearly 8.5 million flex-fuel capable vehicles are in use across the U.S."

      This is true but out of context in such a fashion as to be misleadingly negative. In 2001, only fifty stations nationwide offered E85. That more than 2,350 offer it today is amazing progress, especially considering the weak and ineffective pro ethanol incentives (such as tax breaks for producers and CAFE breaks for automakers).
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