Small update on this store, stopped by there for the first time in a while and discovered they have put up a new sign (no E85 listing though), new pumps, and did a light remodel in the store itself. The big news in all of this, those new pumps looked kinda funny as I rolled up, the outter pumps were all gas and diesel fuel, but all of the pumps on the insides of the awning all had yellow handle covers, so yes, they all have E85 at all but those 4 diesel pumps.....and then the big shock, those pumps all have 3 hoses like the ones at the new Speedway a few miles north do, so as I pull up to the pump, I notice that they have the typical E85 selection, and the gasoline octane selections read; 88, 87, 89, 92 So I get out of my 200 and go to take a closer look before I go in to pay to fill up and discovered that the 88 octane selection appeared to be intended to be pumped from the hose next to the E85 hose and that there were some E15 signs on the pump! Not only can you buy E85 at most of the pumps at this station now, but they have added E15 to their list of options of what kind of fuel you can now buy there too Needless to say, if we ever get the rear brakes back on my Cherokee and get it on the road again (it hasn't been driven since last March and has had no rear brakes since August, kinda needs a radiator too.......), I'll take it there to fill it up on E15. It's only a '98, but considering I've accidentally slashed up to E25 without issue, I'm more worried about somebody throwing a tantrum than I am an issue with it burning the fuel.
Even I have been tempted, but I've said that I would sooner drink gasoline myself than put it in my car. When I see the gallon amount exceed the total sale, it isn't really that hard to stay strong anyways! Plus I remember thinking I'd never see a price below $2.99/gallon again.
I'm glad to hear you're committed - especially in a state that doesn't have a direct-supply program like yells hose, like we do here.
Funny you mention the heater option. I've read that it is included in vehicles sold in Brazil. At the start of last year, I had a Chrysler dealership install an engine block heater. It cost me $300 after buying the heater itself and having it installed. I will say though, that was some of the best $300 I have ever spent. All I do is plug the heater into an extension cord, and I never have any starting trouble. It increases engine efficiency, and decreases the amount of time I have to warm the car up. Thus, it saves fuel, and decreases wear and tear on the starter/ignition.
Today, I decided to check out the oil price, and as I expected, I nearly had a heart attack.
This is the lowest it has been in the 10 year history that NYMEX shows. This is unprecedented. I'm going to turn to the folks at Grand Rapids, MI based TheGasGame to explain this one. Ed Aboufadel knows his stuff with economics. I have met with him personally.
We're showing prices that are unbelievably cheap here. I tell folks that they don't have to be old to remember cheap gasoline prices. I remember $1.60 from when I was, say, 10. I even have this photo that I happened to take when I was 10 with a camera I had just received for Christmas. (look real closely towards the bottom left. I was taking photos left and right, and wasn't necessarily aiming for the price sign)
One of the reasons I got into E85 and more broadly, ethanol, was because it was being sold at prices I never thought I would see again. The first price I remember for E85 is $2.999/gallon, and this was in June 2012. The first price I paid myself was $3.099/gallon, and I thought that was incredibly cheap. This was the first tank of E85 I put in the Sebring, and I'm proudly using E85 over 3 years later. After the financial collapse of 2008 and the plummeting energy prices which closely followed, we slowly began to see prices recover through late 2009 and 2010. My narrative in 2012 and 2013 was that prices finally breached $3/gallon right after Christmas 2010, never to come back down (with a few exceptions here and there). I figured simply because I was 19 in 2012, that I would never see the cheap prices my parents and other adults I've talked to have told stories about.
Here is an interesting comparison. To begin 2012, Meijer was building a brand new store in a rather confusing area that is technically in East Lansing. It's technically East Lansing, but near Haslett and Bath Township, right on the Ingham/Clinton county line, and right outside of Meridian Township. Anyhow, I was extremely excited for this store to open. The station opened in April 2012, with the hypermarket a short time later. Here is a picture with the first prices, dated April 19, 2012.
Now check out what the prices looked like last Saturday.
See the change?
And so now, the question of viability comes into play. How is it possible for retailers to sell ethanol at such cheap prices? Furthermore, how is it feasible for ethanol plants to produce it for such cheap prices? These are questions that I don't quite have answers to. However, one thing I have noted is how high diesel prices remained as gasoline prices began to tumble. Kerosene prices also stayed high. The price difference between the different grades of gasoline has also gone up. Many folks figure that premium is much better for their cars, even if they only require regular. And with such cheap fuel prices, why not? Well, these higher midgrade and premium prices, higher kerosene prices, and higher diesel prices have helped to cushion significant losses for both ethanol-based fuels and regular gasoline. But now, diesel is below $2/gallon in spots. Kerosene just took a tumble - a full dollar per gallon in price - to $2.99 around these parts. So what now? How are retailers making up for losses? I can tell you now, at $1.55/gallon, nobody is making money (on the retail standpoint and further upstream).
The other night, the dad and I got fuel at the brand new NUVU fuel station in Ionia, Michigan. He said out loud that he feels bad for fellow ethanol folks to sell at such cheap prices. We filled up at $1.199.
I remember spending an entire evening in June 2013 driving out to Romulus (right by Detroit Metro Airport) just to fill up at $2.52/gallon. Two weeks later, I drove 7 hours one way to fill up at $1.749/gallon. June 2014 I drove out to Omaha to fill up at $0.85/gallon. Then, I get fuel for $0.499/gallon at the end of December 2014. And it was only discounted 30 cents/gallon.
Granted, I'm not a full-fledged economist with tons of credentials and decades of experience, but even those folks did not see the plummet in fuel prices coming.
Why have prices plummeted? OPEC has waged a full-out war on the world. In recent years, various factors have come into play that cut into OPEC profits. Many nations, including our own, have realized that dependency on someone else is not a good economic solution. We've undertaken numerous renewable energy drives - including ethanol - and have found oil deposits in our own backyards. And now, according to the last statistic I had heard, less than 1 in 6 barrels of our oil comes from an OPEC country. We produce that much of our own oil. And yes, renewable fuels such as ethanol and advances in battery technology have contributed a large part of that. But even still, OPEC should not be able to influence our fuel pricing and economy this way. And yet, they still are. So what happens going forward? We get dependent on petroleum again.
This is as much of a double-edged sword as I've ever seen. Because of cheap fuel prices, folks have more money to spend. Aside from one of the weaker black-friday shopping days we've seen in a while, the price of fuel has been fantastic for business. Folks have more spending money. And they're going out more, using more gasoline. People are back to buying larger SUVs and trucks. Hybrid demand is not nearly what it was when prices skyrocketed in 2008. Flex fuel vehicle production is down a bit. And once folks are hooked on gasoline, we're right back to the embargo of 1973. We've undone decades of progress.
But in the meantime, ethanol and other alternative fuels are having as hard a time as ever. I must say though, I'm impressed at how ethanol is holding its own. Demand for it is relatively strong, and the price is staying competitive in many markets. I see $1.35 for E85 out on the west side of Lansing right now, and I think that's expensive - but then I do a double take and remember thinking I'd never see anything below $2.99 again. I've said before how ethanol is extremely resilient. 2008 and 2012 were two of the toughest years imaginable for ethanol. The collapse of VeraSun, the droughts of both 2008 and 2012 (most notably the latter), and skyrocketing corn prices. And yet, ethanol held its own and emerged stronger than ever. We've seen a continual spike in the number of stations dispensing higher blends even with gasoline being so cheap. I must praise companies like RaceTrac for bringing E85 to states like Florida, Louisiana, and Texas. These are not the first states you'd think of when you think of ethanol. Now you could argue the merits behind that, and why exactly these retailers are doing that, but it is encouraging to see significant growth. So I have no doubt that ethanol will be able to weather this storm too.
But it won't be easy.
I got to thinking once I saw the basement-low price of crude oil earlier this afternoon. The plummeting price of gasoline is horrible for alternatives. I mean E85 must be priced competitively with gasoline to be able to sell well, and while in many areas it is - that still isn't enough for some folks to use it, many of whom insist that $1.55 for regular ain't that bad either. This is not the only problem on the horizon.
This winter has been one of the lousiest I could think of. We're well below normal on snowfall and temperatures have largely been mild and above average. In my memory, nearly every time a winter has a powerful start, it is overall a lousy winter. And this winter has proven as such. We had an 8 inch plus snow here in Michigan back in November. It was great, and I loved seeing it. But in the time since, we have had very little. We ended the month of December with 1.9" of snow here. That is almost a record low. So I segway into my next area of discussion. Years with lousy winters tend to have hot and dry summers to follow. Look at 2011-2012. Perfect textbook example. My mom's 50th birthday in November 2011 was filled with freezing rain, rain, and 8 inches of wet snow. The rest of the winter was mild and saw much below average snowfall. In March 2012, we saw record high temperatures fall one after another. We even hit 86 degrees, in March! That was unprecedented, and indeed was the warmest temperature ever recorded in the month of March here in Lansing. The record warmth lasted for just over a week. Soon after, in one of what I would argue was the most predictable turn of events in meteorological history, much of the midwestern United States saw freeze after frost after freeze after freeze. Look at Traverse City, Michigan, for example. Some 90 percent of the cherry crop was decimated, because the tree flowers bloomed in the March warmth, and were then destroyed by the repeated freezes and frosts. The same thing happened to many other crops. Then, we had a summer that was as hot and dry as many folks could remember in their lifetime, unless they had been around for the Dust Bowl. Some 76% of the geographical area in the United States was under some level of drought at the July 2012 peak. And then, we hit 100 degrees here in Lansing for the first time in nearly 24 years. Not surprisingly, corn prices shot through the roof. Ethanol prices followed.
My concern is that this could happen again in 2016. I'm going to say that it would be wise for ethanol producers to hedge their bets. Now I must put in the disclaimer that this is what VeraSun did in 2008, largely leading to their bankruptcy to close the year. But here's how it's different. VeraSun locked in corn contracts at $6.50/bushel. Corn prices are nearly half that right now - $3.50/bushel. Based on history, I believe it is unlikely for prices to fall significantly further. As it is, farmers aren't making much at this price. If 2012 is repeated, it is imperative to prepare ahead of time.
I'll add more to this later as the thoughts come to me. I apologize for ranting here, but there is a lot I have been thinking about lately. Please, by all means, I aim to start a discussion - so feel free to reply.
I've done some reading on the DI injection issues. With DI, there's no fuel to wash over the intake valves to keep them clean. With modern day PCV systems, oil droplets get sucked into the intake, coating the back of the intake valves. Without the fuel there to keep them clean, it starts to build up over time and starts to cause problems.
From what I have read, the European cars are the worst. BMW, Audi, and particularly VW have serious issues with it. Since a lot of these engines are now boosted with turbochargers, you can't just run regular induction treatments through the exhaust. Ford has actually put out a TSB on this, as several owners have damaged their turbo-chargers putting induction treatments through to clean the valves.
It seems the only company that's not having problems with valve guide build up is GM. Not sure what they are doing different, but there's little mention of this problem in their forums.
Toyota is aware of it, that's why they have a Dual Injection setup in their Tacoma's with that new 3.5L engine now. It utilizes both Port and DI depending on load.
Some people are installing "Catch Cans" to try to get the oil to drop out of the vapor from the PCV system. They simply empty the catch can whenever they change the oil, but this isn't a very popular option with OEM's, as it's just one more maintenance step for them to have to go through every oil change.
It will be interesting to see as these new DI engine age, what problems start to show up. For the European cars it seems 30K miles is the magic number.
This issue has been resolved. Station, Kum & Go at 5480 E 120th Ave, Thornton, CO 80421 has been verified in the e85prices.com database.
Please be aware that stations that are submitted have to be verified and confirmed to make sure the location is selling e85. Once verified you can now submit prices for that station. You can not submit prices for stations that have yet to be confirmed.
Please fill free to contact me directly for any further questions.
Sorry if I'm putting this in the wrong section since it's only performance rated and not also conversion related, feel free to move it if it is, buuuuttt...................
Well, the Avenger/200 community are a buzz right now, Diablosport has brought out a tuner for the Chrysler JS sedans like my 200 with the Pentastar V-6 with canned tunes for 87, 91, and 93 octane gasoline and has opened up the ability to have custom tunes done for Nitrous, Turbocharging, Supercharging, and of the most interest to us..........E85 specific tunes!!!!!!!!!! They already have these for the Pentastar equipped Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, Challenger, 300, and Charger to so hopefully there will programmers made for the Journey and Minivans to go with the rest of the current one and there will be tunes for the new Cherokee and the upcoming '15 200 too. Sounds like they will soon be releasing a tjne for the '07-'10 3.5l and 2.7l powered JS sedans like Aaron's Sebring too.
From what I've been reading on AvengerForumz.com (yes, it ends in z), a few guys have tried the 93 octane canned tune with E85 in their Avengers and found that their cars have responded extremely well to the tune. Just in stock form on plain old dog piss 87 octane these cars can be musclecar quick, they run better on 89 or 91/91 octane fuels, but E85 wakes them up quite nicely on just what the standard, safe factory E85 programming is capable of. From what one of this company's techs said on their site, after taking their test '11 200S for a test drive on 93 with their tune and the torque management turned off, he had to go and change his underware........... Supposedly on 93 they were getting another 25hp from the car and people who are running that tune with E85 are thinking that they might be getting closer to an additional 10hp putting their cars up 35 horse over stock......plus keeping the front tires lit from a standing start into 3rd gear, with the traction control still engaged?!?!?!?!
Only problems we can see for the cars using this tune right now are;
Tire wear, it's almost too easy to light'em up stock and this will just unleash even more power!
Transmission wear, according to Chrysler, these transmissions are good for a max of 260lbs/ft of torque and the FWD factory tune tops out around there, plus the performance parts are barely available for these cars let alone beefed up trans pieces...........we're boping that will change.
CV Shafts, not sure what the stockers will take, but get enough power and traction (should be possible to find some fairly wide drag tires for 16" rims to mount up front) either the trans or these shafts might start dieing.
Biggest issue for me right now besides my car's warrantys............it costs $600 for the better of the two handheld units the program can be loaded into.