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Old 06-02-2008, 02:40 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default E85 Boondoggle of the Day: U.S. taxpayers subsidize ethanol to the tune of 51 cents

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"Some people may buy E85 because it burns cleaner than gasoline, while others may want to reduce the country's dependence on foreign oil," American Automobile Association (AAA) spokesman Eric Escudero told The Denver Post. "But to succeed, the fuel needs to offer drivers an economic incentive, something it has failed to do even after the surge in gasoline prices." Yes there is that.The trip-A is now monitoring and listing E85 prices nationwide. And here's the really sucky part (if you're an ethanol producer): they're adjusting E85 prices to take into account its relative lack of energy efficiency. "After adjusting for its lower energy content, E85 cost an average of $4.32 a gallon in the U.S. on Friday versus $3.96 for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline." Oh dear. In fact, E85's rep is now so bad that the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association is playing pig pile on ethanol. "E85 is not the silver bullet, it is the red herring," claims Prez Charles Drevna. No really. "U.S. taxpayers subsidize ethanol to the tune of 51 cents a gallon, and the fuel provides significantly lower mileage. If that E85 is not 25 percent to 33 percent less than regular gasoline, you are getting snookered." Snookered? I think there's a better word for it. The Denver Post
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/e85...ents-a-gallon/
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Old 06-02-2008, 03:28 PM   #2
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This is not news, but it's good to see those criticisms slowly coming to the forefront.
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Old 06-02-2008, 04:17 PM   #3
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yeah, after doing a comparo in an '07 Tahoe with E85 vs. reg87. It needs to be significantly cheaper to make e85 worth the hassel.

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Old 06-02-2008, 05:22 PM   #4
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These cars would run it better if they were tuned for it; for now they are running a program that can handle gas or ethanol but neither properly. E85 still wouldn't be as good, but it would be closer.
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Old 06-03-2008, 07:58 AM   #5
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Good. We should be subsidizing ethanol (cellulosic, of course) and taxing fossil based fuels. So it comes out to ~$4.32 a gallon? Gas will be there soon enough. And the E85 users will have the peace of mind knowing they're not supporting the middle east and not hurting the environment as much.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:19 AM   #6
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Considering we subsidize oil with a Aircraft carrier or two in the Gulf, 51 cents a gallon seems fair for ethanol.
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Old 06-03-2008, 09:54 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by scott_gunn View Post
Good. We should be subsidizing ethanol (cellulosic, of course) and taxing fossil based fuels. So it comes out to ~$4.32 a gallon? Gas will be there soon enough. And the E85 users will have the peace of mind knowing they're not supporting the middle east and not hurting the environment as much.
and that is one reason why i love living in North Dakota. i can get my gas from a tesoro station that gets its gas from the tesoro refinery in ND that gets most of its oil from ND and a little bit from Canada.
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:49 AM   #8
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Personally, I get 15.5 MPG on E85 and 17 MPG on 91. I pay $2.79 for E85 and $4.09 for 91. I get a better "dollar to mile" ratio with E85, and 30 extra hp.
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:50 AM   #9
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Considering we subsidize oil with a Aircraft carrier or two in the Gulf, 51 cents a gallon seems fair for ethanol.
Right; don't forget the hidden (sic) costs.
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:59 AM   #10
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GM's FlexFuel Cars = FAIL
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:20 PM   #11
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The Amazon is being deforested to support E85. People are starving in many countries because food prices are soaring due to us burning corn in our engines. E85 gives me no peace of mind. I'd rather support the Middle East than support E85.
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Old 06-03-2008, 12:45 PM   #12
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The Amazon is being deforested to support E85. People are starving in many countries because food prices are soaring due to us burning corn in our engines. E85 gives me no peace of mind. I'd rather support the Middle East than support E85.

Umm, OK. Where'd you get that information?

So, the southeast Asian rice shortage is due to a small fraction of people in the U.S. using ethanol?

Alternative energy's rule #1: People fear change.
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Old 06-03-2008, 03:01 PM   #13
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People aren't starving because of ethanol; they're starving because the price of food is high, and that is because the price of fuel (both for transport and fertilizer) is high. There's no shortage of food, there's a shortage of cheap food. And you can't blame ethanol alone for that.

I know the 'ethanol is causing starvation' concept really appeals to people who took microeconomics in college and treat what they learned as a virtual gospel, but there's more to it than that.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:04 PM   #14
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I would much rather pay ~35 cents more for e85. Plus cellulosic ethanol won't be hurting food prices (not that ethanol is the main cause now). At the prices we are paying now for gas, I would pay an extra dollar a gallon to ween ourselves off foreign oil.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:09 PM   #15
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The Amazon is being deforested to support E85. People are starving in many countries because food prices are soaring due to us burning corn in our engines. E85 gives me no peace of mind. I'd rather support the Middle East than support E85.
Ethanol imported from Brazil has a ~fifty cents tax on it, so it really isn't brought in much. Corn isn't grown in Brazil to manufacture Ethanol; Sugar cane is. Food prices are soaring in many countries because Urbanization is eating up fields previously used for food production, and the Governments haven't invested in strong farming & agriculture.
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Old 06-03-2008, 04:45 PM   #16
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Increased gas prices are also causing food prices to rise, since most of our food gets transported vast distances. Ethanol (cellulosic, of course) can only help lower these prices in the long run. Corn ethanol sucks.
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:46 PM   #17
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http://www.ethanolrfa.org/objects/do...or-general.pdf

Per Ed Lazear Chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, the production of corn starch ethanol is responsible for just 3% of the 43% rise in world food prices.

http://www.card.iastate.edu/publicat...es/08wp467.pdf

Rising oil prices are the primary cause of rising food prices, because energy costs effect every aspect of food production, growing, shipping, processing, packaging.

The rising demand for higher standard of living and the foods that go with it is shifting consumer buying patterns in much of the world. Peasants that used to only eat 1 meal a day are now making enough money to buy 2 meals a day, doubling their food demand. Many 3rd world countries have been subsidizing both food and fuel to unrealistic low prices and have reached the point that they no longer can sell the commodities for a fraction of their value and that is causing sticker shock in those countries when the poor suddenly are forced to pay the real cost of food and fuel (or at least a larger fraction of the real cost).

The food vs fuel media blitz is a marketing scam!

According to USDA, labor costs account for 38 cents of every dollar a consumer spends on food. Packaging, transportation, energy, advertising and profits account for 24 cents of the consumer food dollar. In fact, just 19 cents of every consumer dollar can be attributed to the actual cost of food inputs like grains and oilseeds.

Retail food products such as cereals, snack foods, and beverages sweetened with corn sweeteners contain very little corn. Therefore, fluctuations in the price of corn are not often reflected in the retail prices for these items. As an example, a standard box of corn flakes contains approximately 10 ounces of corn, or about 1/90th of a bushel. Even when corn is priced at $4 per bushel, a box of corn flakes contains less than a nickel’s worth of corn.


Larry

Last edited by hotrod; 06-03-2008 at 06:00 PM.
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Old 06-03-2008, 06:37 PM   #18
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The worldwide wheat price surge, in particular, is largely because of the continuing drought in Australia. Their wheat harvest this spring (their fall) was about 1/2 of recent years harvest and they are usually a MAJOR producer. Toss in fertilizer prices being up 40-50%, the total meltdown of agriculture in Nigeria and a few major rice producing countries putting export restrictions on their inventories and you have major supply disruptions in a good chunk of the world.

Ethanol from food crops isn't a good thing, but it does at least lay the groundwork for 2nd-generation biofuels from non-food sources. The back end (distillation) of the plant is the same, but the feedstock prep and fermentation stages will need retrofitting. Butanol likewise -- adjustments to the fermentation needed, but the plant will be largely the same as for corn ethanol.

Producers will switch away from corn rapidly once it is no longer the most economic feedstock. They're in business to make money, not to be nice to corn farmers. I suspect we'll see a huge corn glut in about three or four years that'll ruin a lot of farmers as a quarter to a third of their current market moves on to cheaper feedstock...

And hey, someone from the National Petrochemical & Refiners Association trashing an alternative to dino-juice? What are the odds of that?

Last edited by Chromer; 06-03-2008 at 06:49 PM.
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Old 06-04-2008, 01:10 AM   #19
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Also for example, in SE asia they are taking rice paddies out of production and planting the land with rubber plantations hoping to sell the rubber to China in 3 years when the trees are old enough to produce. Chinas industrial boom is causing all sorts of similar supply chain ripples as people try to jump on the band wagon to supply them with key commodities.

http://truthhugger.com/2008/05/05/en...-bleak-future/

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Old 06-04-2008, 01:28 AM   #20
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I'm more interested in stuff like this:

http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1502720

As long as there are threats of E85 raping our food supplies and the rainforest, coupled with the fact that it's more expensive and current vehicles designed to run it get worse gas mileage than their dino-fuel counterparts, it is not going to be the quick answer.

Something like this that could be easily made from quick growing ubiquitous plantlife (switchgrass and poplar trees will grow virtually anywhere) and would require little to no modifications to current vehicles and could be stored and distributed like gasoline while being cleaner burning like E85 could definitely sway people, even if it were slightly more expensive. Switchgrass and poplar trees are non-foodstock plants, and can be grown in fields not being used for foodstock, or even in dead areas where foodstock won't grow. It could be even grown alongside foodstock products. There are millions of acres of dead land in this country that can't be converted to make E85, but could grow switchgrass and poplar trees.

Biodiesel is working very well for diesel vehicles, it just needs to be more widespread than it currently is. Biogasoline that isn't E85 would be a perfect answer to those worried about our oil supply and environment without the hassle and penalties that E85 brings.

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Old 06-04-2008, 02:30 AM   #21
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That is one of many "second generation" biofuels we will be seeing soon. Corn starch ethanol is simply the first step to get that R&D funded and underway. Cellulosic ethanol has been viable for some time now being produced in < 1 million gallon/year quantities in development plants. There are currently 6 cellulosic projects in the works the first should be coming on line later this year. Direct conversion of plant matter to synthetic crude and then to designer fuels has been under development for 20 years and is also just now crossing the threshold to production status and profitability.

Many of these technologies have been sitting on the back burner for 10+ years but it was not until E85 proved it was viable that venture capital and investor interest was high enough to begin to move them out of the lab. Even after synthetic bio-hydrocarbon fuels become viable, fuel ethanol will be a valuable segment of the fuel market because of the advantages it brings to the table. It substantially reduces direct emissions when added to hydrocarbon fuels and is one of the best blending octane enhancers in existence with a blending octane of 118 when mixed with gasoline.

Current research shows that next generation fuels will likely be E85 in optimized engines since it can achieve thermal efficiencies 50% better than straight gasoline hydrocarbon fuels in spark ignition engines, while avoiding all the problems that diesels have. Lower blends of alcohol and hydrocarbons like E30 blends give the best volumetric fuel economy both in terms of BTU/mile and total miles traveled per tankful.

Ethanol will not be replaced but simply augmented with some of these new 2nd generation designer biofuels. Economics will be a major driver and each local will have a different financial balance of factors regarding best local biomass crop, ideal fuel for the climate, local inventory of engines needing fuel etc. We will be a multifuel economy for quite a long time.

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Old 06-04-2008, 02:49 AM   #22
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Being a multifuel economy hasn't hurt Europe at all. They haven't had the biofuels, but they've been all about the diesel and natural gas for some time now, mostly because regular gasoline is so astronomically expensive over there. We're just having to catch up now because we've had gasoline for so cheap for so long now.

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Old 06-04-2008, 05:07 AM   #23
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Here is the report on 2nd generation biofuels mentioned above:

http://www.ecs.umass.edu/biofuels/Im...oadmap2-08.pdf

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Old 06-04-2008, 06:26 AM   #24
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Being a multifuel economy hasn't hurt Europe at all. They haven't had the biofuels, but they've been all about the diesel and natural gas for some time now, mostly because regular gasoline is so astronomically expensive over there. We're just having to catch up now because we've had gasoline for so cheap for so long now.

Vostok 7
Tell me about it! It's about $7.50/US Gallon here. On the plus side everyone drives little cars. Say what you want, but GM could make some quick bucks and do the right thing by getting my little Vauxhall 1.4 over to the States ASAP. Gets about 38 mpg in mostly city stop-and-go and it's pretty damn nimble and sporty.
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Old 06-05-2008, 11:53 AM   #25
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Tell me about it! It's about $7.50/US Gallon here. On the plus side everyone drives little cars. Say what you want, but GM could make some quick bucks and do the right thing by getting my little Vauxhall 1.4 over to the States ASAP. Gets about 38 mpg in mostly city stop-and-go and it's pretty damn nimble and sporty.
yeah, I'm with you on this but there is one problem, AMERICAN FAT A$$ CAN'T FIT INTO ONE and even if he/she fits they won't be able to get out.
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