Smart Move!

The Zero Has the Solution!

In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, renewable fuel producers in Iowa have asked the Obama administration to allow higher amounts of ethanol to be blended in gasoline in the Northeast.

In a letter yesterday to President Obama, the Iowa Renewable Fuels Association said temporarily allowing up to 20 percent ethanol in gasoline would help lower gas prices for victims of the superstorm. The association urged the administration to waive requirements that gasoline retailers must comply with before selling the higher blends of ethanol.

I think I’ve told the story before, but I’d done the walk of shame before. OK not the walking home from a hookup’s apartment at 5am before she wakes up, but the one with a jerry can in hand to a stalled vehicle with a dry fuel tank. Why? Well I’ll start by saying my 2001 Ford Ranger had a fuel gauge that never worked right. Everything else worked like a Swiss watch, so if I just watched my mileage the little arrow could sit on the “E” for damn near 100 miles before I had to fill up with no ill effects. I generally would fill my ride when I had about 2 gallons left in the hopper.

Then I moved from Maine to Massachusetts, and I ran out of gas! Why? Well Massachusetts mandates 10% Ethanol in all pump gas. My Mileage tanked, and my fuel line ran dry. Thankfully I was only about 200 yards from a gas station I drove right past because their prices were horrible, and there was a cheaper station just up the road a few miles which I would have gotten to with go-juice to spare…had I been running on the good stuff.

Why did this happen? Well #1 I hadn’t learned to look for that “Contains Ethanol” sticker on the pumps, and the big #2, Garbage Gas costs the same as good gas. Actually the Ethanol blends cost MORE, but they skim a good bit of that price right out of my taxes, weather I drive or not.

Love this stupid ideology that somehow this crap is “Better”. It isn’t better gas, as my truck went from getting north of 20mpg to around 17mpg. It isn’t as good for your engine. It isn’t cheaper. As a lighter fuel it probably does burn a bit cleaner…but when the “Progressives” are fixated on Carbon Dioxide, and carbon bonds are carbon bonds. Moving a pickup truck 300 miles on single-bonded carbon chains will release the same amount of CO2 if its Gasoline, Ethanol, Kerosine, or propane.

Just you pay more, both in taxes, and in fill-ups (further more that taxes are per-gallon, and if it takes more juice to go the same distance you’re paying a LOT more), I’m sure the people in the storm-ravaged areas are really pleased with this!

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11 Responses to Smart Move!

  1. McThag says:

    Going to 20% is going to ruin a lot of desperate people’s engines!

    Look in owners and service manuals, until around ’95 most say “up to 10% alcohol” after ’96 or so they start saying “up to 15%”. Going higher can exceed the limits on sensors and give the engine’s computer a false sense of security about what’s going on; particularly the O2 sensors.

    Never mind how the crap washes oil away from places that need lubrication, like the cylinder walls.

    Oh, did I mention what it does to fuel pumps?

    That’s cars, how about generators?

    The stuff eats seals and gaskets. Most makers have acceded to the 15% level, but the seals will degrade at higher concentrations.

  2. Ruth says:

    I have a station down teh road from me selling the good stuff. If I pay cash their price on it is only about 5cents higher than the ‘normal’ stuff…….

  3. Here Iam says:

    Living in Florida, the ethanol blend is mandated for highway vehicles also, but if you look you can find real gas at places like marinas, it might be worth a look up there. It’s more expensive, but the increased mileage makes it break about even.

    Luckily for me, I left massachusetts in 1996… ;)


    matt_

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Yeah when I find a station that sells the good stuff I’ll often go out of my way, and pay what they ask, because unless I’m physically shocked by the pump price its worth it in energy savings.

  4. Chris says:

    Ethanol is so corrosive that it is not shipped in the pipeline, it is added after the gas has left the pipeline.

    A side note; I have been told the reason for the gas lines from Sandy is not the lack of gas but the lack of Ethanol! New York mandates gas be sold with Ethanol no exception.

    • AZRon says:

      Must have too high of a salt content.

      • Weerd Beard says:

        I think its because alcohol is so hygroscopic. That’s how Dry-gas works. It pulls the water into solution where it can exit the exhaust line. Meanwhile pipelines need to be bone dry, and I suspect the Ethanol will naturally draw in water into the lines.

        I also guess salts can get into that solution more easily, but we’re well above my expertise.

        • AZRon says:

          My comment about salt was a dig at Bloomberg. And yes, I am well aware of hygroscopic properties.

          While small amounts of water can be tolerated in the combustion process, most of the water (or steam) that you see coming from an exhaust pipe is due to condensation. That’s why mufflers have a drain hole in the bottom, and why you notice it more when the vehicle has been sitting overnight. The weather (temperature and relative humidity) also have a direct effect.

          When I was certified by the state and the EPA back in the late 1970’s, it was considered normal for a CC equipped vehicle to produce 1 gallon of water for every gallon of gasoline burned. Mostly condensation.

          As far as pipelines, it has gotten very expensive. Building codes have demanded that new construction, or repairs of existing lines, of an EPA nature, be built with either stainless steel, or “glass-lined” pipes, depending on their function. Both are very expensive.

          A large percentage of the stainless pipe and fittings are still being bought from producers overseas. Not only does this add to the cost, but it plays hell with due dates.

          In all my years, I’ve only seen three guys that would take the time to do a proper repair on glass-lined piping.

          Big money, this.

  5. wizardpc says:

    Running E10 for two years killed the injectors in my 99 jeep. $700 later, I switched to pure gas. No problems for the last three years.

  6. Silver the Evil Chao says:

    Huh. I was wondering why my car has been having less mileage lately…maybe the gas I filled it up with on the way to the Frozen North had less ethanol than the stuff up here?

  7. bluesun says:

    Closest Real Gas to me that I can find is 150 miles away… which is, shall we say, not worth it.

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