Ethanol content in commercially available fuels from 10% to 15% for 2007 and newer model cars has been met with mixed remarks.
Besides the plethora of pumps that are already present in gas stations across the US, one is very soon going to need a PhD in chemistry to figure out which fuel is best for their car. The introduction of E15 will now take the number of fuels at gas stations to more than 5 (without taking into consideration different octanes of “normal” gas and where you live).
There is no denying that oil derived gas has many negative connotations; it’s largely imported, non-renewable, and the pollution aspect is enormous, which is why we need a cleaner renewable energy source – albeit without having to confine all our current cars and trucks to the scrapheap. It’s simple on paper, but quite complex when trying to implement it in the real world - especially with hidden agendas and the greed for money and power thrown into the mix.
Full story after the jump.
The RFA (Renewable Fuels Association) accused the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) of “dereliction of duty” earlier this year with regards to implementing E12, as they felt sufficient testing was done that proved it could be used on older cars. Of course, the RFA are going to want the bio component of fuels to be as large as possible because, really, they only care about a greener environment, and whether or not your older engine will break while using biofuels. If the single solitary fact of not destroying the engines of older models passes then they want it made available! To them, it’s as simple as that. You can’t really blame them for wanting a greener environment, or can you?
Other issues such as gas mileage and performance play second fiddle, meaning us as the consumer are not really taken into consideration. Very uncool indeed. The results of the Ricardo Research on older vehicles (1994-2000), commissioned by the RFA, concluded that raising the Ethanol content from 10% to 15% “showed no adverse effects on older vehicles.” What they didn’t say was how it affected consumers’ pockets regarding terrible gas mileage. The EPA are now happy that sufficient testing has taken place, but are only sanctioning the use of E15 for 2007 and newer model cars. Apparently, a decision on the use of E15 in model years 2001 to 2006 vehicles will be made after the EPA receives the results of additional DOE testing, which is expected to be completed in November – showing disregard for the Ricardo data.
Then there is the issue of MTBE versus lead versus Ethanol, as all of them increase the octane rating of gas – making your car run better on less fuel with more power. MTBE also reduces carbon emissions. That sounds great except for the fact that MTBE will pollute our water supply indefinitely and lead, as we know, is highly toxic. Ethanol again is the only not-so-toxic alternative.
Yes, food prices are increasing (corn drastically), but that’s economics my friends. It’s called supply and demand. The US burns corn to stop global warming and our friends in Sudan are starving. Where would you rather be? We thought so – so stop complaining! You can’t have it all your way, but at least you have the option of the lesser of two evils. With the US being responsible for around two-thirds of the world’s CO2 production, let’s look at the bigger picture and fix the problem.
If all of this is very confusing to you, you’re not alone. This situation could be explained as running your body on only organic vegetables. Not impossible, but let’s face it, once you’ve tasted meat and had a balanced and supplemented mixed diet, you function better. The vegetables obviously representing bio diluted gas and the mixed diet filling in as gasoline. The bottom line is that engines are built to run on oil based gasoline and until someone decides to change that, the negative impact on consumers’ pockets and all out performance will be the ultimate downfall of biofuels. All the research in the world isn’t going to change that. The problem is not to deal with only the additives, but with the quality of the gas itself and the fact that cars are not tuned to run on the sugary stuff. We know of many motorists who drive new cars and still have the injector clogging, poor gas mileage, and knocking problems. That’s the only logical conclusion we can draw, as clearly the science is there, proving that Ethanol can successfully run a car – probably even better in performance cars than conventional gas. Look at Indy cars – they run on E100 and make more HP than with conventional gas! How much more proof do you need? Say what you want, but the oil companies still have a strangle hold over us. Automakers are just as guilty mind you – legislation needs to be more stringent not only on current emissions standards, but also to ensure cars can properly run on biofuels. The technology is there, the powers that be need to collaborate and make it work.
Our humble opinion is this; get rid of the 87 and 91 but keep the premium 93 (undiluted for older cars & newer performance cars) and E85. Bin the E15 idea and keep E10 for cars that can run on both fuels until a viable solution is reached regarding the PROPER implementation of Ethanol. Period.