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Old 09-28-2009, 08:34 AM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default Carmakers fight hike in ethanol at gas pumps

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A push by corn-producing states and alternative fuel proponents to increase federal rules boosting the amount of ethanol mixed into gasoline is being fought by automakers because it would be costly and could damage engines. By Dec. 1, the Environmental Protection Agency must decide whether to approve a request to increase the amount of ethanol that can be mixed with most gasoline sold at pumps to as much as 15 percent.

Most pumps already sell E10, which is 10 percent ethanol
Automakers want the agency to further study the effects of the proposed increase before allowing it to happen.
Increased ethanol blends could corrode engines that aren't specifically built for E15, according to automakers.

Four farm state senators led by Ben Nelson, D-Neb., introduced a measure that would require the EPA to grant the request.

More than 13,000 people and groups have written the EPA since the request was filed in March.

Congress has required that the nation use 11 billion gallons of ethanol next year and 36 billion gallons by 2022.
Mike Stanton, CEO of the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers, the trade group representing major foreign automakers, noted the United States would not be able to consume even half of the ethanol required by Congress by 2022 by simply requiring all pumps to be E10.
"We're on a collision course here," he said.

And there are a number of problems with an immediate boost in the ethanol blend.

Automakers warn the higher ethanol blend could boost greenhouse gas emissions, damage engines or disable vehicles.

In Baltimore, nearly a third of the city's patrol cars stopped running earlier this month because a station had boosted the amount of ethanol in the fuel. It isn't clear how much ethanol was in the mix.

Stanton, and Dave McCurdy of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, which includes Detroit's Big Three, Toyota and seven other automakers, wrote a letter Friday to Congress urging more research before approving ethanol blends like E12 or E15.

That idea "is premature, and since EPA has never allowed conventional vehicles to use higher ethanol blends, the research on their potential impacts on vehicles not designed, tested or warranted for their use is incomplete," the letter said.

The adoption of E15 could also affect users of other gasoline engines.

The International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association, based in Haslett, warned in comments to the EPA that the increase could do "irreparable harm" to the nation's more than 1.8 million registered snowmobiles and damage the economy of Michigan and other northern U.S. states that rely on snowmobiling for tourism.

Associations representing the nation's 80 million boaters have also opposed the request, saying it could damage marine engines.

In 2007, Congress required the nation to drastically boost the amount of ethanol it uses to 11.1 billion gallons this year, nearly 60 percent more than what the United States used in 2007, and more than 2 billion gallons over 2008. Nearly all of the U.S. ethanol is now corn-based, but research and investment into the commercialization of cellulosic ethanol could lead to production from renewable sources like grass or wood chips. No significant quantities of cellulosic ethanol have been produced.

Ethanol producers point to some studies that suggest higher blends wouldn't harm most engines. The EPA first approved the use of ethanol blends of up to 10 percent in 1978.

Congress asked to fund tests

Automakers have joined with the oil, ethanol, small engine, marine, outdoor power equipment and motorcycle industries to create a task force, along with the Energy Department and EPA, to assess different blends.

Dubbed the "midlevel ethanol blends research coordination council," the group says Congress needs to allocate money to fund testing.

The automakers wrote Congress on Friday asking it to set aside $17 million "to complete the necessary vehicle testing."

Congress is also considering whether to force automakers to build more cars that run on nearly all ethanol.

The auto industry has produced 7 million vehicles that can run on E85, a blend of 85 percent ethanol, or on regular gasoline. A bill in Congress sponsored by Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., would require automakers to produce 50 percent of their fleet as E85-compatible by 2012 and 80 percent by 2015. A House version is sponsored by Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y.

In March 2006, Detroit's Big Three agreed to build 50 percent of their vehicles as flex-fuel vehicles by 2012 under certain conditions. Automakers get credits toward meeting fuel efficiency regulations for building the vehicles.

Under EPA's recently proposed tailpipe emissions limits, it would continue the flex-fuel vehicle credit through the 2015 model year. After that, automakers would get the credit only if they could show that the fuel was being used.

The Union of Concerned Scientists urged EPA to "reject the E15 petition as a premature, unnecessarily piecemeal approach."
Low gas prices hurt ethanol

Many ethanol producers are struggling because motorists consider gasoline prices around $2.50 a gallon affordable, and are not clamoring for a cheaper fuel. E85 is averaging about $2.01 a gallon, but it's about 25 percent less energy intensive, so its price per mile cost is currently virtually identical to gasoline.

In May, the Obama administration created a task force to help the ethanol industry.

The $787 billion federal stimulus package sets aside $786.5 million to accelerate biofuels research and boost commercialization by providing additional funding for commercial biorefineries.

The new funds include $480 million for pilot- and demonstration-scale biorefineries, $176.5 million for commercial-scale biorefinery projects and $130 million for research.

Proponents of ethanol say the industry provides American jobs -- especially in rural areas -- lessens the nation's dependence on foreign oil and provides a steady income for farmers. Michigan has five ethanol refineries.

Iowa and South Dakota's agriculture secretaries wrote the EPA urging the increase.

"In 2007 alone, the ethanol industry created more than 200,000 American jobs that cannot be exported or outsourced, while contributing $47.6 billion to our (gross domestic product) and generating $4.6 billion in tax revenues," wrote South Dakota's Bill Even and Iowa's Bill Northey.

But using large amounts of the nation's corn boosts food and feed prices, critics say.

Last year, Texas Gov. Rick Perry unsuccessfully sought to water down the mandate, citing high feed prices.
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association said in opposing the 15 percent blend that it "would require an immediate 4.5 billion gallons of ethanol, and would require approximately 1.6 billion bushels of corn -- which is nearly equivalent to the amount of corn used by the cattle industry in an entire year.
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:41 AM   #2
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Default E85 Boondoggle of the Day: Automakers Kinda Heart E20




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More than a year ago, the ethanol industry hit the “blend wall”: the difference what they could produce and what the market wanted to use. This despite tens of millions of dollars of tax credits; and billion in direct and indirect federal and state subsidies; and a massive surge in corn prices (that also cost consumers big bucks). Not to mention a federal “mandate” uh, mandating 9 billion gallons of renewable fuels in 2008, rising to 36 billion by 2022. And then the environmental impact studies arrived, showing that corn for fuel was a massively stupid, carbon positive idea. The ethanol industry pretty much curled-up into the fetal position. The small players went belly-up. The big boys—including Archer Daniel Midlands (the conglomerate whose jet ferried candidate Obama on several campaign jaunts around the mid-west)—put their hopes into E20.

By doubling the federally-required amount of ethanol in gas, well, voi damn la! Only the blend may damage ICE-equipped transportation. Nothing a few bought and paid for dubious studies can’t cure, right? How do I know that one was dubious? Check out this comment on the Minnesota study:
I work on Biofuels Implementation for GM Powertrain and am very interested in these studies. GM is constantly supporting the production and distribution of ethanol and we feel it’s the best solution for our energy needs right now, but we do need to make sure E20 has been thoroughly tested. More long-term testing is still needed to measure things like driveability, tailpipe emissions and emissions control systems. The Minnesota studies only tested the cars for 3000 hours, which is a lot less than what an OEM requires. I encourage them to keep testing and keep learning more about ethanol.

I wrote a blog for GMnext.com addressing these issues. You can check it out here:
http://blog.gmnext.com/?p=93 [ED: I can't find the post in question.]
Coleman Jones
Manger of Biofuels Implementation, GM Powertrain
Anyway, them’s your battle lines. So upon which side of the fence do the automakers’ reside. Yes! More taxpayer-funded testing yes! [see: above] Here’s the letter from the The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers:

September 25, 2009
To: Conferees on the Energy and Water Appropriations Bill, H.R. 3183

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers and the Association of International Automobile Manufacturers write to request that you direct the Department of Energy (DOE) to prioritize its spending so that it may complete some very important testing with ethanol fuels, as explained below.
Automakers support the broader use of alternative fuels in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy security, and we believe the best way to do so is through the use of diverse fuels and technologies. Currently, more than 12 million alternative fuel automobiles are on our roads and highways, including more than 7 million flexible fuel vehicles capable of using blends of up to 85 percent ethanol. We remain committed to finding the right market solutions for sustainable biofuel use.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is now considering a request to allow more than the current limit of 10% ethanol in gasoline, to further increase ethanol consumption. We believe any proposal to raise ethanol levels before adequate data are available is premature, and since EPA has never allowed conventional vehicles to use higher ethanol blends, the research on their potential impacts on vehicles not designed, tested or warranted for their use is incomplete.

To assure the research is adequate and of sufficient quality, automakers have joined with several other stakeholders to create the “Mid-Level Ethanol Blends Research Coordination Group” (Research Coordination Group). Participants include experts from the auto[1], oil, ethanol, small engine, marine, outdoor power equipment and motorcycle industries, along with experts from DOE and EPA. The group is using EPA recommendations to assess numerous test plans.

The Research Coordination Group has now identified critical information gaps, as well as research overlaps, opportunities for collaboration and funding needs. The Group estimates that $17 million beyond existing allocations will be needed to successfully complete vehicle studies that will provide much needed data for evaluating the effects of adding more ethanol to base fuels. This analysis is the basis for our request, namely, that the Conference Report:

* Direct DOE to spend up to $17M in 2010 to complete the necessary vehicle testing to evaluate the effects of mid-level ethanol blends on legacy vehicles; and

* Direct DOE to reprioritize its 2010 Program Spending to provide this $17M to complete the test program.
With the completion of a well-designed and executed test program, EPA and others would be much better able to determine whether the current 10% ethanol limit can be safely increased.

Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to further discussion with you about, and your support on, this very important issue.

Dave McCurdy Michael Stanton, President & CEO President & CEO

Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers Association of International Automobile Manufacturers

Charles Territo, Senior Director of Communications, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers
http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/e85...nda-heart-e20/
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Old 09-28-2009, 08:47 AM   #3
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i'm not for this..i see their resonaning but there are way to many issues that will develop over this. and when my engine in my lawnmower dies because it can't handle the ethenol content and i can't find a pump with less that 10% avail. who do i sue. ( this maybe outlandish but it makes my point)

i vote for sugar cane powered vehicles in the future anyway!
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:27 AM   #4
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its all a political battle over money that the common folk have to live with.

and before they force us to use E15, how about having more pumps with E85. they advertise and sell these flex fuel vehicles nation wide but hardly have any pumps for it.
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Old 09-28-2009, 09:37 AM   #5
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^^The "flex fuel" thing is basically a scam so domestic companies can claim to be making alternative-fuel vehicles.

I thought this sounded familiar:
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1809753
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1763728
http://forums.nasioc.com/forums/show....php?t=1754869

How about keeping it all in one thread?
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Old 09-28-2009, 05:26 PM   #6
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For the past few years no matter how I drive my 01 legacy we seemed to get 25mpg - given the miles and age I simply assumed thats the milege my car is going to get.

We took a major road trip last month at one point we were in Oregon and Washington St. In Oregon my milege went way up we averaged 28mpg after looking through my gas stops and figures - Oregon Gas simply delivered 3 more miles to the gallon. The only thing I could sort out is that CA gas and WA gas have more additives reducing the amount of energy in a gallon of gas.

I mentioned it to a car nut buddy and he told me that ethanol can dramatically reduce mpg.

Auto companies have every right to not be happy about ethanol - its a big sham to line the pockets of politically connected folks playing the energy games. Less energy for the same volume yet they don't reduce the price based on that. Which case I want diesel - it offers more energy per gallon than any mass produced fuel used for transportation.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:35 PM   #7
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You only need to look at the price of oil this year and it allllllllllll makes sense.
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Old 09-28-2009, 06:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boostdog View Post
i'm not for this..i see their resonaning but there are way to many issues that will develop over this. and when my engine in my lawnmower dies because it can't handle the ethenol content and i can't find a pump with less that 10% avail. who do i sue. ( this maybe outlandish but it makes my point)

i vote for sugar cane powered vehicles in the future anyway!
My pressure washer has been working flawlessly on e85 now for a long while (it's the only thing I had in the gas cans as I run my wagon on it). It got gunked up the first time I ran it, but after I cleaned it out, we were good to go.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SubaruFan View Post
Auto companies have every right to not be happy about ethanol - its a big sham to line the pockets of politically connected folks playing the energy games. Less energy for the same volume yet they don't reduce the price based on that. Which case I want diesel - it offers more energy per gallon than any mass produced fuel used for transportation.
There are dozens of other big shams that work in the auto makers' favors. Somehow I'm thinking that, while they may have some valid points, they may also be resisting change for the simple fact that not advancing technology in the field of ethanol compatible engines is cheap.

There are some good benefits to using ethanol, although I'm not sure how much they have been developed. E85 has a VERY high octane rating (100 to 105). This means you should be able to use it in very high compression engines. The higher the compression of a motor, the more efficient it is at the combustion process and the more power it can generate. Additionally, you can advance the timing rather radically before detonation is even a threat. This also translates to more torque and driveability. Lastly, also due to its high octane, you can run it pretty lean without risk of detonation and engine reliability. I've seen AFR of 12+ with no knock detected... I would think that ethanol combined with direct injection could be very neat.

I think the main issue with e85 as a technology is the availability. Auto manufactures don't want to make an soley e85 car because no one would buy it as you can't fill it up consistantly. Instead they produce these halfassed flexfuel vehicles which are optimized for gasoline and pretty much suck on e85, though they can run it, just not well enough to take advantage of it.

I'd like to see ethanol survive as a fuel source, but government mandates are not the correct way to do it. Personally, I'm loving my e85 WRX! It's a wonderful fuel for performance at the cost. And even if it doubled in cost, it would still beat running 100 octane or worse 110 octane leaded. Both are 7-8 bucks a gall in my area. e85 is $2 (heavily subsidized I realize).

The total cost of conversion for my car was $0. Most "Modders" already do a fuel pump and injectors. I just bought slightly bigger injectors and made the switch when I needed a tune anyway.

EDIT: And I agree, as a commuter fuel, diesel is awesome.
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