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EPA: Maybe adding ethanol to gasoline wasn’t smart after all!

EPA: Maybe adding ethanol to gasoline wasn’t smart after all!

Another government exercise in addressing non-existent problems in ways that create real ones.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFTcmORherM

A hot, new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that requiring ethanol made from corn and soybeans to be added to gasoline in the name of “environmental protection” is doing more harm than good.
The report, Biofuels and the Environment: The Second Triennial Report to Congress, is four years overdue and contains many findings that should be troubling to those of us interested in real environmental protection.  Here are some of the analysis:

  • The substantially increased acreage used for crop production has impacted local environments (e.g., loss of natural habitat for wildlife).
  • Ethanol from corn grain has higher emissions of harmful pollutants than ethanol from other feedstocks.  These emissions include s nitrogen oxides (NOx gases), which can ultimately form ground-level ozone that contributes to smog).
  • Fertilizer-infused runoff water from the new farms has contributed to harmful algal blooms (e.g., as in the case of Lake Erie).

These issues are on top of all the other troubles associated with ethanol-infused fuel, as described by John Stossel in a 2016 report:

The Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) is a 2005 law that requires oil refineries include ethanol in their fuel blends and was passed to mitigate the supposed effects of climate change. The RFS is controversial, pitting oil producers against corn growers.  While it is not certain what the next move from the current administration will be, it appears that the President is poised to go forward with plans to add more ethanol.

President Donald Trump on Thursday said his administration is very close to granting a waiver that would allow the sale of gasoline containing 15 percent ethanol year-round.

“I’m very close, I have to tell you, to pulling off something you have been looking forward to for many years and that’s the 12-month E15 waiver,” he said at a workforce event in Iowa, where farmers would get a boost by increasing the amount of ethanol, a biofuel typically made from corn, blended into gasoline.

The report highlights one of the challenges in relying on the government to solve all problems at all times: The bureaucracy put in place to do so is disinclined to leave once the issues are resolved. For example, the Clean Air Act of 1970 been successful in substantially reducing air pollution, as noted in another just-published EPA report:

…[B]etween 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew more than three times. A closer look at more recent progress shows that between 1990 and 2017, average concentrations of harmful air pollutants decreased significantly across our nation:

  • Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) ↓ 88 percent
  • Lead (3-month average) ↓80 percent
  • Carbon monoxide (8-hour) ↓ 77 percent
  • Nitrogen dioxide (annual) ↓ 56 percent
  • Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 40 percent
  • Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 34 percent and
  • Ground-level ozone (8-hour) ↓ 22 percent

Clearly, there is a need for environmental protection regulations. However, there must be a balance so that monies and resources are not being diverted to address non-existent problems in ways that create real ones.

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Comments

It’s time to put this stupid, anti-science, anti-market boondoggle in the graveyard of cronycrapitalism. Start a short-termed phase-out immediately.

    casualobserver in reply to Ragspierre. | August 6, 2018 at 9:24 am

    It did serve its purpose well. It is perhaps the most effective 20th vote getter and elected class money maker (thanks lobbyists!). If not the most productive and effective, at least in the top few. And the crony-balance for this one may tilt more towards the R side than the D side over the decades.

    You can always tell when a program engorges the elected class. It never goes away and in fact gets more and more entrenched over time while making less and less sense.

    david7134 in reply to Ragspierre. | August 6, 2018 at 11:44 am

    That is the problem with the government being active in any endeavor, once a program is in place it is next to impossible to remove it. That is why people desire very, very small governments with little regulatory ability, like the Constitution used to specify.

    The 4 questions warmists prefer not to answer.

    What are the photon absorption bands of CO2?
    What are the photon absorption bands of water vapor?
    What is the overlap?
    What does it mean?

    It is not just ethanol in gas that is bunk.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Just like the whole socialism movement, for at least some, it is to help people while gaining power. It is filled with good intentions, yet ends up being something else entirely, and usually politicians then double down on it.

The same is with ethanol additives to gas. It causes harm to motors, but that just contributes to the economy because people have to replace things with motors that die out faster. Then there is the environmental issues.

Yet, I guarantee you that the Greenies will go nuts over this move, even though it would probably mean a better environment, because TDS won’t allow any moves Trump makes to be deemed beneficial.

    Tom Servo in reply to oldgoat36. | August 6, 2018 at 9:26 am

    Yet, I guarantee you that the Greenies will go nuts over this move, even though it would probably mean a better environment”

    actually, in a measure of just how corrupt and misguided the ethanol mandates are, even the enviros openly admitted and agreed that the ethanol mandate did absolutely nothing positive for the environment, and probably hurt it. (it takes 70% more energy to produce ethanol, when the full process is considered, than is provided by burning the ethanol)

    It is project of pure graft, nothing more. It is a bribe taxpayers across the country are forced to pay to corporate and political interests in the farm states because the farm states currently hold a swing position in American politics. And that is all it is about.

Intellectually, there was an argument to be made for ethanol fuel when America was worried about our oil supplies as US production dropped. Now, however, with the US moving to become the #1 Oil Producer in the world, those supply worries are nonsensical. What’s worse is that the “solution” is to take a large part of our corn production and burn it in this misguided project, driving food prices up for consumers across the country.

The theory of “Peak Oil” is dead. The ethanol mandate is a sad and corrupt legacy of that period, and nothing more. A rational society would end it immediately.

    casualobserver in reply to Tom Servo. | August 6, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Agree overall and especially about the original intent to dilute the need for oil (when it was more significantly imported). However, it has also resulted in a huge growth in corn farming and land allocated to it. I’ve seen data that shows the proportion of fuel to food may have slipped a little over time as more people started growing the crop. What screwed with it all was the push to increase beyond E10 and especially the way so many other countries jumped on board (Brazil, Australia, NZ, etc.)

    There are still benefits to ethanol, however, cost and supply are not equal yet. Not in a ‘free market” anyway. Mandating it is just political (see my reply to ragspierre above).

      Believe it or not the corn belt grew more corn acres in 1980 before ethanol than it does today with record ethanol production.

      Here are Iowa’s acres of corn for example:

      2018 13,300,000 acres of corn with record ethanol production

      1980 14,000,000 acres of corn before ethanol

      2018 Illinois 11,000,000 acres of corn with record ethanol production

      1980 Illinois 11,600,000 acres of corn before ethanol

      2018 Indiana 5,100,000 acres of corn with record ethanol production

      1980 Indiana 6,450,000 acres of corn before ethanol

      https://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/229C6DAD-EFDE-3021-ABDA-BD1F0ACE0269

      Corn ethanol is a value added product which uses a waste stream from feed production.

      Cattle can not digest starch very well and a lot pass through undigested onto the ground in the manure, taking other nutrients with them even.

      Corn ethanol uses only the starch and leaves the feed(proteins, fats, and minerals) alone, even enhances them to be more digestible, more concentrated, more productive, and healthier for the animal to eat.

      So while corn ethanol takes a lot of corn off the market, simultaneously there appears a better feed called distillers grains/byproducts to take its place.

      More/better food with a super cheap, super clean, super nontoxic, and super concentrated octane booster/fuel as a bonus, who can be against that?

    Ragspierre in reply to Tom Servo. | August 6, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Start ending it immediately. Too quickly killing off a market distorting boondoggle this bad would hurt a lot of people unnecessarily.

    A five-year phase-out would be best.

The Friendly Grizzly | August 6, 2018 at 10:02 am

My cynical take on this is that a new way of giving farm subsidies under a different guise.

A hot, new report from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) indicates that requiring ethanol made from corn and soybeans to be added to gasoline in the name of “environmental protection” is doing more harm than good.

Actually, when this ethanol hogwash was originally imposed on us, the excuse had something to do with America’s gas consumption, which some poobah decided was too high. So, tax it (which the Feds were already doing) and adulterate it. Easy-peasey. Did it make any difference? Not a question government usually worries about.

The “environmental” attack is new; it manages to capitalize on generic environmental hysteria, so somebody deserves credit for coming up with that one.

Personally, I don’t give either approach, the enforced “conservation” one or the imposed “environemtal” one, much credit.

But what does EPA get out of this, and why do it now?

· Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) ↓ 88 percent
· Lead (3-month average) ↓80 percent
· Carbon monoxide (8-hour) ↓ 77 percent
· Nitrogen dioxide (annual) ↓ 56 percent
· Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 40 percent
· Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 34 percent · Ground-level ozone (8-hour) ↓ 22 percent

These are all very nice, but meaningless. The only thing important as a matter of public policy is what effect these things have on plants and animals. If they have no effect (in the wild, not confined in a closet in a lab), we don’t care what the levels are. Even a trivial effect would be OK; perhaps a pollutant causes silver dinnerware to tarnish more quickly. That could be a matter for government policy. But without some effect, that whole “cause & effect” thing—the essential feature of all forms of regulation or control—simply doesn’t exist.

But to a certain government mind-set, it’s all that’s needed to justify itself in perpetuity. Something was lowered by 77%? Great! Now we need to lower it by 80% next year! Strangely enough, this line of reasoning seems convincing to some people.

Clearly, there is a need for environmental protection regulations.

It’s no more clear than my need to buy a New! Improved! detergent because somebody says it will get my shirts brighter than white. Do I need something? I want to see reasons, not another snow-job.

Government is an employment agency for the lazier sort of used-car salesman.

    Joe-dallas in reply to tom_swift. | August 6, 2018 at 10:34 am

    But to a certain government mind-set, it’s all that’s needed to justify itself in perpetuity. Something was lowered by 77%? Great! Now we need to lower it by 80% next year! Strangely enough, this line of reasoning seems convincing to some people.

    That logic works if you repeal the law of diminishing returns.
    Unfortunately, the studies supporting the recent air quality standards issued during the obama admininstration are based on the law of increasing returns. As the air becomes incrementaly cleaner, the rate of health benefits increase incrementaly faster – instead of less.

JusticeDelivered | August 6, 2018 at 10:29 am

Another problem with ethanol is that it is hydroscopic, absorbing water from the air, then producing a gummy substance plugging up fuel systems, especially on small motors. Fuel stabilizer does little to help with this problem. A staggering amount of labor and overhead is directly related ethanol in fuel. EPA elimination of the high speed fuel adjustment makes this problem even worse. You can buy gas without ethanol, for nearly twice the price.

    Oklahoma requires that gas be labeled as to the amount of ethanol in the mix. There are many stations which sell E10 a well as 100%. The price differential is usually about 30-70 cents, depending on the grade. I just saw a 7-11 with $2.45 for E10, $2.79 for the 100%.

    One of the growing gas stations in OK is On Cue and they will have E10, E85, 100% in three grades, CNG and at some stations a fast charge station. Their success has forced the other large retailers to change, so Love’s and 7-11 are also going to the multi-option stations.

    Water is a problem of straight gasoline.

    Years ago in the days of E0 gasoline every winter people would have to buy little cans of alcohol called DRY GAS or HEET as gas-line antifreeze.

    Gas stations would even have cases of it stacked up near the check out counter during that time of year. No one likes having a fuel line froze up in dangerous temperatures. It was common back in the E0 days.

    Since E10 came, nobody buys DRY GAS or HEET anymore because the alcohol is already in there. There may be a dusty bottle or two back on a back shelf somewhere at the gas station, but that is it.
    If ethanol did cause water/phase separation problems even half as much as is claimed, we would know it right away because every winter millions upon millions of cars would be stalled on the road in the northern US and Canada. This obviously never happens, but many cars did stall with frozen fuel lines back in the days of E0 straight gasoline.

    …Mercury Marine, which hosted a Webinar on ethanol myths, noted that ethanol does not “grab water molecules out of the air.” It is hydrophilic, which means ethanol holds water. With regular gasoline (E0) as well at E10, the primary cause of water collecting in tanks is condensation on tank walls. But unlike E0, which can absorb almost no moisture, E10 can hold up to half of one percent of water by volume, and the water molecules will dissolve in the fuel. The “solubilized” water will bypass the water separator and burn harmlessly through the engine…

    Mercury Marine also says E10 may be the superior fuel(over E0) because it keeps the fuel “dry”

    According to a paper published by the Society of Automotive Engineers, at 68 degrees F, alcohol with as much as 45% water will mix with gasoline and not separate. With 4%, alcohol will form a stable mix with gas down to about minus 22 degree F.*

    *A.C. Castro, C.H. Koster, and E.K. Franleck, Flexible Ethanol Otto Engine Management System 942400(Warrendale, PA:Society of Automotive Engineers International, 1994)

Originally Ethanol was seen as safety net during the arab oil embargo –

Then it was promoted as an additive to reduce auto polution. That ruse should have been easily recognized as a ruse. While ethonal blends may burn cleaner per gallon, since the mpg drops, the overall polution is greater per mile – the better measurement – ie overall increase in dirtier burning.

    TX-rifraph in reply to Joe-dallas. | August 6, 2018 at 12:41 pm

    I have tracked (for a period of time as an experiment) the ethanol content of the gasoline I fill up with and the mpg of that tank. The higher ethanol percentage in a tank of gasoline could reduce my mpg by 20% so I was burning a lot more gasoline. This was and is about corrupt politicians and corporations and people. Pay attention to those who defend the ethanol corruption as they are profiting from it.

      I did the same test and figured that buying 100% gas was more economical.

      Fletch8 in reply to TX-rifraph. | August 7, 2018 at 1:31 am

      Let us look at the world’s most selling vehicle, namely the Ford F-150 which gets 17 mpg on E0 and 14 mpg on E85 EPA says E10 lowers mpg by 3 to 4% and E15 by 4 to 5%:
      https://www.fueleconomy.gov/feg/Find.do?action=sbs&id=39598

      Prices from e85prices.com

      E0 = $3.24/gallon @ 17 mpg = $.191 cost per mile
      E10 = $2.82/gallon @ 16.32 mpg = $.173 cost per mile
      E15 = $2.74/gallon @ 16.15 mpg = $.17 cost per mile
      E85 = $2.22/gallon @ 14 mpg = $.159 cost per mile

      With ethanol, the power is increased, not decreased.

      For example, a Chevy pickup with a 5.3L engine will have a clean 385 horsepower on E85 and a toxic 355 horsepower with E0.
      https://media.gm.com/media/us/en/chevrolet/vehicles/silverado/2014.tab1.html

      With E85, I know that more of my money goes to American workers and American businesses who pay American taxes and put the rest in American banks to buy goods and services that you and/or your fellow Americans produce.

      With E0, I know that more of my money goes to Arab sheiks and transnational companies who take the money away and put it in Swiss bank accounts and pay little if any in tax.

        Liz in reply to Fletch8. | August 7, 2018 at 10:07 am

        Thanks for the information and I’ll consider the available engine types the next time I buy a car.

        However, please note that I wrote that I tested using 100% and E10 and based on my car and how I drive, using 100% was the better deal for me.

        With a new car, I’ll repeat the test.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to Fletch8. | August 7, 2018 at 9:24 pm

        I have not had trouble with ethanol gumming up larger engines, but when it comes to small engines, it forms a whitish filamentous material which does require disassembling and cleaning carbs virtually every year. That may be because there are no hefty fuel pumps on most of those engines.

The goal of adding up to 10% ethanol to gasoline was NEVER about the environment. It was always a backdoor farm subsidy. Replacing 10% of gasoline with ethanol is not going to significantly reduce the pollutants produced by burning gasoline.

I’ve always thought that putting perfectly good moonshine in gas tanks was a stupid idea anyway.

American Human | August 6, 2018 at 11:49 am

Well, expect Archer Daniels Midland to start a war in the courts and certain senators and congressmen can now expect to receive many thousands in campaign case from ADM. It matters not a whit if ethanol is good or bad for cars or the environment…follow the money, that’s what makes it good.

Keep corn ethanol in its only rightful place… Kentucky and Tennessee Whiskey.

Somebody should have pointed out the problems with putting ethanol in gasoline back when it was first proposed.

Oh, wait…

Ethanol is so dangerous to small engines, boat engines and aircraft engines that in the latter out State will not allow a plane to be refueled from a tank that once stored 15/85 gasoline.It will also eat thru gaskets for automobiles built before 1993.
For those struggling with ethanol varnish in their vehicles or lawn mowers, I have found the best solution is a good dose Chevron’s Techron. It seems to remove the varnish after a tank or so. Then repeat every other fueling on small engines, once every three months in automobiles.

    MSO in reply to puhiawa. | August 6, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Ethanol is so corrosive that it cannot be shipped through pipelines. How long will rail tankers last?

      Ragspierre in reply to MSO. | August 6, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      Rail tankers are usually lined with a very durable lining material that resists MUCH more aggressive fluids than ethanol.

        basically right.
        a dot-111 or dot-117 for crude oil has same construction as one used for ethanol.
        key is the inner lining (the pressure vessel) is thick enough to resist corrosion and any corrosion caught and repaired during scheduled mtx checks. I forget the intervals but think its a 365 day check, do remember its not the 92 day inspection that locomotives go though.
        greenbriar manufacturing has some god info on this stuff.

      Fletch8 in reply to MSO. | August 7, 2018 at 3:37 pm

      Ethanol is not corrosive, there are thousands of miles of ethanol pipelined everyday in Brazil. We have a few ethanol pipeline here in the US as well. There is a big new one being built to go to Florida but they hit a snag with landowners in Georgia last I heard.

    Liz in reply to puhiawa. | August 6, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    It should be required that the gas should be labeled. OK requires such disclosure. While traveling in other states, I have found that some pumps will disclose that the premium grade is 100% gas. This is usually at stations that are close to recreational areas so that boaters can have the good gas for their engines.

Please take notice President Trump – we need you to intercede and end this madness.

We’ll need another constitutional amendment sooner or later, so it might just as well be passed now: Every existing law and every new law must have a 5 year sunset provision.

That’ll keep our politicians busy and spread the corruption around a bit.

“… four years overdue …”

Yet more of the “Obama Legacy”

supergroomer | August 6, 2018 at 1:51 pm

Henry Ford realized in the 30’s that hemp was the best material available for bio-fuel. It is the only carbon neutral source. And for paper, 1 acre of hemp= over 4 acres of trees. Want to save the world (and the farmers) grow hemp.

    yet he’s the reason we have soy…

    Fletch8 in reply to supergroomer. | August 7, 2018 at 12:35 am

    Henry Ford’s favorite fuel was ethanol and he believed it would be the fuel of the future. He had an experimental farm with an alcohol still which was rare during Prohibition(Rockefeller funded that is). He told a reporter that an acre of potatoes would make enough fuel to farm the field for a hundred years.

    His Model T was designed to use ethanol though production vehicles were flex fuel.

    He experimented with hemp to make body panels. There is a famous picture of him hitting the trunk lid made from hemp with a sledge hammer. Hemp is high in fiber which makes it hard to make fuel from.

Burning corn for fuel has driven up the price of corn and driven millions of people below the poverty line.

But hey, small price to pay for the virtue signaling benefits. :/

healthguyfsu | August 6, 2018 at 3:30 pm

This would definitely be a step back..Obama admin propose the same thing and it’s a terrible, terrible idea. Go the other way and make it 5% or less. Corn is useful for many other things and will never be obsolete. Yeah, the subsidized bubble will deflate but it has to happen sometime.

Joey Williams | August 6, 2018 at 4:49 pm

See the Popular Mechanics article at https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/hybrid-electric/a6244/e15-gasoline-damage-engine/

There are real issues with using E15 in vehicles, especially those more than about 10 years old. There are also issues with dispensing E15; blending, temperature and volume issues in gas station below-ground tanks can make huge differences in what actually reaches your gas tank when refueling as opposed to theoretical values.

E15 is a bad, bad idea. There’s a big difference between designing a vehicle to use ethanol and trying to force-feed ethanol to a gasoline-oriented vehicle.

    Fletch8 in reply to Joey Williams. | August 7, 2018 at 1:01 am

    Popular Mechanics gets a lot of advertising dollars from those who likes articles written like that.

    The common gasoline of Brazil has not a measly 10 or 15% but a minimum of 27.5% ethanol and they have many of the very same non flex fuel vehicles, boats, motorcycles, and small engines we do.
    It has worked out so well and for so long that Argentina and Paraguay are going to high levels themselves.

Joey Williams | August 6, 2018 at 4:49 pm

See the Popular Mechanics article at https://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/hybrid-electric/a6244/e15-gasoline-damage-engine/

There are real issues with using E15 in vehicles, especially those more than about 10 years old. There are also issues with dispensing E15; blending, temperature and volume issues in gas station below-ground tanks can make huge differences in what actually reaches your gas tank when refueling as opposed to theoretical values.

E15 is a bad, bad idea. There’s a big difference between designing a vehicle to use ethanol and trying to force-feed ethanol to a gasoline-oriented vehicle.

so who will reimburse me for commercial landscaping engines (oldest is 2016) all having to have carbs rebuilt?
100k+$ in equipment needing to be closely monitored and repaired frequently due to this shit.
and nobody think of spreading the newer equip FUD. it makes you look stupid and me VERY angry.
there is no station in maine that sells non e-10 gas. the few shown on the website for this (I forget name) is wrong.
very wrong.

    Liz in reply to dmacleo. | August 6, 2018 at 7:07 pm

    My sailing club ended up getting a 250 gal fuel tank so we can get 100% gas delivered for the various race committee power boats. We get the gas from a company that delivers fuel to companies that use a lot of gas and need a specific grade.

A Trump failure in this case.

The same could be said of summer oxygenation requirements for motor fuels. That only ever improved (by a small amount) the emissions of carbureted vehicles, but those haven’t been sold in the US since 1990 (28 years). Yet the oxygenation requirement remains, wasting fuel because that extra oxygen must be matched to extra fuel to maintain stoichiometric fuel/air ratios.

We have the spectre of the government fighting itself, because it wants less fuel consumption, which could be amply provided by lean-burn engines, but lean-burn engines can’t meet the latest and least environmentally valuable round of NOx emissions regulations.

It is impossible for agriculture to have removed forests and grasslands on account of ethanol because cropland acres have fallen, not risen since ethanol production exploded:

CROPLAND ACRES PLANTED IN US:
1998…………………..329,970,000 acres planted
2008…………………..325,632,000 acres 2007 Energy Act passed in December
2018…………………..322,053,000 acres with record ethanol production

https://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/115FF8CC-1396-35D8-A2EE-107314C8106D

And don’t blame ethanol for Lake Erie’s problems, Indiana, Ohio and Michigan grew more corn acres in 1980 before ethanol than today with record ethanol production.

OHIO
1980………………………4,150,000 acres of corn
2018………………………3,550,000 acres of corn

https://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/1D7FD09C-7996-3B49-B570-73BCC1F1B650

INDIANA
1980……………………..6,450,000 acres of corn
2018……………………..5,100,000 acres of corn

https://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/A913DBF1-6731-3EBC-B27A-7FFCEACA77FE

MICHIGAN
1980……………………..2,950,000 acres of corn
2018……………………..2,300,000 acres of corn

https://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/DC437905-5B11-33E5-9450-9D93D06762F3

In fact, the US used more fertilizer in 1980 before ethanol than after with record ethanol production.

http://www.earth-policy.org/images/uploads/graphs_tables/highlights43_top_3.PNG

Ethanol did not cause agriculture’s problems and ending ethanol will not solve those problems one iota.

There is hope for the concerns mentioned with a fast growing movement in agriculture towards soil health which incorporates no-till, soil health, cover crops etc. to stop erosion of soil, sequester and even make nutrients, and reduce/eliminate chemical use.

See a great video of this pioneering farmer from North Dakota named Gabe Brown and the amazing things he has done:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxIyKfWf9kU&t=1727s

Back in 1981, I had an old car that was designed to run on leaded gas, which was getting hard to find, so I tested it with 5% Ethanol.

The 5% Ethanol worked good. So, good in cleaning the engine that I had to replace the fuel filter that got clogged after the first tank of 5% Ethanol that cleaned out my fuel system. After that, I got better gas mileage that before with leaded gas.

Of course, in typical government logic, if 5% Ethanol is good, then 10% Ethanol would be twice as good and 15% Ethanol would be 3 times as good! I am really surprised that they didn’t push 100% Ethanol!

When I moved from the rural Midwest to the PNW, I pulled a trailer behind my Toyota pickup and was within 20 lbs of the total GVWR allowed. There were minor inclines in Iowa and flat stretches in Nebraska with a strong headwind that strained the engine as it struggled to make speed limit. Somewhere around Cheyenne, WY I refueled with non-ethanol gasoline and that truck and trailer charged up the Rockies with more power than I’d ever experienced in that truck.

I don’t expect to see ethanol abolished, where I used to live in central rural IL is heavily invested in corn production and refinement. But I would like to see mid-grade ethanol gas replaced with non-ethanol regular. I’d love to run that in my truck, mowers and other gas powered tools.

I’ve been harping on this issue since 1999. I remember talking with a petroleum engineer at an Outback Steakhouse bar in the South Hills of Pittsburgh at the time, and he thought it was a bad idea too. Remember the MTBE oxygenate controversy? That additive was a big groundwater contaminate. That’s how we got ethanol as an additive, plus Corn Lobby.

Oxygenated fuel is just a fancy way to say less BTU for motive power.

My son and I took a college visit/job interview trip to Grand Forks, ND recently. Our aggregate MPG for the run from PA to ND was 47.4 on the commonly available E10 fuel. I decided to do a little fuel economy experiment on the return trip. We fueled up with non-ethanol unleaded gasoline in Fargo, ND. The aggregate MPG measured on a 350 mile leg with that fuel was 50.1.

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