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Old 02-17-2010, 01:18 PM   #1
AVANTI R5
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Default GM Wants More Ethanol Stations in US




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For most of you, the excitement over ethanol is probably sort of a hazy memory; you remember when all the fuss was being made over ethanol fuel, but you also remember that it was rather quickly shown that making ethanol from corn was not a good deal from an environmental and energy standpoint. So, it just sort of went away, right? Didnít we move on to hybrids and electric vehicles?

The public moved on, but not the federal government. In those heady days (2007) of optimism about ethanol, the brave talk about the American Midwest being the new energy capitol of the world, and our sturdy corn farmers saving America from the clutches of Middle Eastern oil despots, Congress passed energy legislation that actually set mandatory targets for fuel blending each year.

Thatís right. Is this all coming back to you now?

Ethanol use is required to rise to about 20.5 billion gallons by 2015 and 35 billion gallons by 2022 from 4 billion gallons in 2006, when this was all being put together, and almost 13 billion gallons last year, in 2009. Itís the law, and itís still the law in 2010. All the public enthusiasm disappeared, but the legislation remained behind.




Corn is still the substance that most ethanol is made out of in the United States, and itís still not a good deal from an overall energy perspective or an environmental standpoint. The United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) says that in order to increase itís attractiveness as an alternative fuel, ethanol will need to be produced from something else besides corn; things like farm waste, landfill waste, algae and switchgrass. The EPA also states that the current 10% blend of ethanol in gasoline must be bumped up much higher in order for ethanol to be a viable energy solution.

Cue General Motors.
GM says it has produced 4 million of the approximately 7.5 million flex-fuel vehicles now on the road in the US. GM Vice Chairman Tom Stephens states that there are 2,200 ethanol fuel stations in the US, but 2/3 of those stations are in only 10 states. Those 10 states are all in the Midwest (corn country), and only 19% of GMís four million flex-fuel vehicles are in those states. In other words, there are millions of flex-fuel capable vehicles driving around in the United States that are nowhere near an ethanol fuel station.

GM wants more ethanol stations. Stephens says there are around 160,000 gas stations in the country, and GM figures that there should be around 12,000 more locations that also offer ethanol. According to GMís calculations, that will put an ethanol-dispensing station within two miles of almost every customer that owns a GM flex-fuel vehicle.

The Detroit automaker has invested heavily in flex-fuel technology over the last few years, and continues to do so, with the company stating that half of their lineup will be able to run on E85 fuel by 2012. The E85 fuel is a fuel mixture that is 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. The current limit for ethanol blended gasoline is fuel with only 10% ethanol.

The company says it spends an average of $70 USD extra in production costs on every vehicle it equips with E85 capability. The total production cost to GM is $100 million per year across all vehicles. The company says this capital is ďstrandedĒ without a place for motorists to fill up with ethanol.

True enough.
However, given the current situation regarding ethanol, that is, it doesnít make much sense from an economic or environmental perspective to produce it from corn, and that is where almost all the ethanol in the US is derived from, does it make sense to push for more ethanol? Ethanol does produce less emissions than gasoline and it doesnít come from oil, but it has been demonstrated rather conclusively that producing ethanol from corn is not practical when you factor in production costs and consequences of production.

Cynics also point out that the main reason GM started producing flex-fuel vehicles in the first place was not to be a good global citizen, but rather, to exploit a loophole in the federal CAFE requirements regarding combined corporate fuel economy. GMís interests in promoting greater ethanol availability, these people say, are self-serving, and are designed to help the company meet corporate fleet fuel economy standards as opposed to reducing emissions or reducing dependence on foreign oil.

In fairness, it must be noted that GM neither produces ethanol nor is able to mandate the terms of CAFE. They are playing in this game, but they didnít set the rules. And, as company executives have noted, having a network of ethanol fueling stations and vehicles that can run on E85 already in place is certainly not a bad thing when the code is finally cracked on making ethanol a practical fuel choice Ė whenever that might be
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:27 PM   #2
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keep in mind that GM is essentially owned by the GOV and lobbyists for the corn and bean industry are pretty powerful folks. The more low energy high cost to manufacture Ethanol the GOV requires the more money the farmers can make selling their crops for Ethanol. Not to mention all the well connected investors including our very own politicians who have piles of money invested in Ethanol manufacturing facilities.

Ethanol is crap fuel - we would be better off tapping our big natural gas reserves and requiring all small 4dr sedans to be compressed natural gas powered. The infrastructure already exists and the resource is clean and not all that hard to get. Ethanol is a joke and big money game being played by our politicians
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
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I want more Ethanol stations too.....not for eco reasons tho.....just for cheap racing-esque gas.
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Old 02-17-2010, 01:47 PM   #4
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If you race you want the highest energy content fuel with the lowest burn factor ie high octane gas or if your really good Jet fuel - or if your cheap jet fuels close cousin called Diesel.

Ethanol is like comparing a rice cake to a full on 3 egg spanish omelet with the works.

Its a low energy per volume fuel. In the simplest terms possible it has less go power per gallon than just about any other fuel we burn in cars. This is why most cars will on average get worse fuel milege with Ethanol vs standard non blended gas.

So if you own stocks in oil and fuel companies you want Ethanol to a large portion of your blend its like watering down drinks at the bar. The consumer - consumes more given it takes more drinks to make them "feel" as if they have accomplished their goal of getting a little buzz on.

You want to sell more fuel at the gas pump? Water it down

Last edited by SubaruFan; 02-17-2010 at 02:20 PM.
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Old 02-17-2010, 02:00 PM   #5
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yeah, but i dont have a car that runs on diesel, i do have on that run on ethanol. I want the most stable fuel I can get so I can run uber timing & boost. Cant run race-gas in SCCA AutoX so Im not interested in 100octane or cam2
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SubaruFan View Post

Ethanol is crap fuel - we would be better off tapping our big natural gas reserves and requiring all small 4dr sedans to be compressed natural gas powered. The infrastructure already exists and the resource is clean and not all that hard to get. Ethanol is a joke and big money game being played by our politicians

ORLY???
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:33 PM   #7
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^I was under the impression that biodiesel is literally crap fuel.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:39 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Dirty25RS View Post
^I was under the impression that biodiesel is literally crap fuel.
You flunked HS chemistry didn't you?

You can google and read just as everyone else here can . Go do some reading about our fuel choices in the US and just who is involved ie with the wallet to deliver them to you.

Biodiesel actually shares the same sort of energy per gallon as normal diesel only it lacks a few properties that are not so good in dino diesel.

You do know the first combustion engine ran on peanut oil right? Guess what that was a diesel engine.

Like I said go do some reading its good for the brain.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:47 PM   #9
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^wow, u get real insulting real quick over nothing.

I love diesel, wish we had more of it in the US as well. simmer down.
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Old 02-17-2010, 03:47 PM   #10
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Sense of humor has failed you their SubaruFan.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:00 PM   #11
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Ethanol is crap fuel
Not sure I agree with this. I understand that it isn't as efficient as gas is but it does have a higher Octane rating which is why you see so many people on here running it with great numbers. No need to buy the uber expensive turbo if you can modify the fuel system and add E85.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:03 PM   #12
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While E85 might not be the best option for alternative fuel, I love it!

At it's heavily subsidized rate of $2.30 ($2.85+ for 91 "premium") in my area, I get a solid 105-112 octane fuel that decreased my mileage from about 18 to 15 mpg, but has very, very little chance of knocking/detonation. For the money I save over running race gas or buying and installing a meth kit, I'll take it's decreased mileage. The amount of timing you can throw at E85 is incredible; it's possible to run so much, you are actually losing power.

Also, stupid chicks think I'm a badass when i tell them my car is an alternative fuel vehicle.

I'm going to ride the E85 train until the government gets their heads out of their butts and their hands out of the pockets of lobbyists and kills the E85 sponsorship... but something tells me that will be a long time coming.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:03 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by fourmicah View Post
Not sure I agree with this. I understand that it isn't as efficient as gas is but it does have a higher Octane rating which is why you see so many people on here running it with great numbers. No need to buy the uber expensive turbo if you can modify the fuel system and add E85.



^precisely
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:19 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by fourmicah View Post
Not sure I agree with this. I understand that it isn't as efficient as gas is but it does have a higher Octane rating which is why you see so many people on here running it with great numbers. No need to buy the uber expensive turbo if you can modify the fuel system and add E85.
And the mods are minimal. In my case, it was a $79 Walbro 255, Bigger injectors, and a tune. And the injectors and a tune were something I was going to do anyway so I just bough a bit bigger than I had planned and called it a day.
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Old 02-17-2010, 04:55 PM   #15
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If Coskata can come through on their promises (even half way) then cellulosic ethanol would work pretty well. Corn ethanol from the kernels is madness.
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