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The great ethanol debate

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Bumped into the Consumer Report last reviewed 1/11, what ever that means?

 

Nice overview, well organized. Just skimmed through the info, appears to be basic report as per usual CR style. They used a '07 Tahoe to test mileage, but later in article refer to 3/09 test info, must be up to date article.

 

http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/cars/new-cars/news/ethanol/overview/index.htm

 

 

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The mileage data indicated for 2007 Tahoe:

- a 22.2% decrease in MPG during city driving (7 verse 9 mpg)

-a 28.6% decrease in MPG during highway driving (15 verse 21)

--a 27.8% decrease during a 150 mile trip

-a 28.6% decrease "overall"

 

What is your difference?    I have always been surprised by the low MPG figures that CR reports during testing of various vehicles.  It is almost like they drive their vehicles with a "lead foot".

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It is surprising. May they hand picked the worse case scenario?

 

The article appears to do a good job balancing out ethanol strengths vs weakness. Problem with such balance, no opportunity to form an opinion. CR would better serve their readership, with an invite from strong proponent and opponent to write separate articles. CR should have reviewed ethanol's best technology as a comparison against gasoline. Why? Because the oil industry and automotive has worked decades to improve their performance with gasoline. Ethanol technology is still in infancy with huge upside potential.

 

No mystery now on automotive motivation to produce FFV and why always the low mpg vehicles. If ever a lone automotive model ventured into optimizing E85 it would be a watershed event.

 

Down a couple a posts on E85vehicles on report of high priced fuel and discovery of older cars filling up on E85.  Why? Strictly cheap gas?

 

Probably because older technology cars have ability to lean burn ethanol and deliver good fuel mileage. EPA and petrol all concerned upon auto owners filling up on unapproved fuel. "Your catalytic converter and air pollution control equipment may be damaged". It's bunk. I've read many a report on ethanol ability to lean burn w/o production of NOx. Been doing just that for years with several GM products. R&D efforts are zeroing in on lean burn for low hp needs.  Now, these warnings do have merit. They are not technically lying to public as under max hp for long duration, not a good condition. Like pulling heavy trailers with WOT. Knowing that rare occurrence, not a big handicap for 15-19% penalty. 

 

 

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I noticed that with the higher HP and torque when first driving with e85 that it was MUCH more responsive to the "fuel" pedal (not really a "gas pedal" is it!)...

 

It took me a few tanks to learn more self control in regular driving... I probably saw a BIG drop like they talk about the first 1-2 tanks... but it leveled off after I learned that I didn't HAVE to use all the acceleration the car had under the hood...

 

Their 85 numbers are always pure bunk IHMO

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Ethanol is on a good path for quality, competitiveness, and supply. It wouldn't overtake petrol, but may become a equal co producer of fuel. But, such projections are folly. Crystal ball facts are a stubborn thing. 

 

Recent trends:

 

Ethanol status on Capital Hill made weaker per the low popularity of taxpayer supports. Also, ethanol may be rubbing against shoulders of natural gas alternative. Ethanol’s big advantage is actually being a proven automotive fuel supply, maybe now taken a tad for granted? The fuel offers extremely low cost transition compared to all other alternative fuels.

 

Ethanol may be on stage of life cycle, where earlier hype over time works in reverse. Public quickly believes the business hype to attract investment money then when reality puts real numbers to the ground, some steam lost. Current status should be one of satisfaction, with confidence of much more fuel on the way. The fuel offers a real alternative, presently. No, national Manhattan project required.

 

Where is the b itch? Probably more want to direct national focus to solution of oil exploration, using natural gas, and battery development. More PR distributed on these solutions. Currently, national media debates will give ethanol only a brief mention. This may be good as appears not much concern other than the high tax load and protective tariffs. Tax supports will be the target. From this viewpoint hard to understand why the ethanol wanted this hill to fight upon? It would make more sense on the outside to change up the supports to give new viewpoint. I see Jeff Broin is changing job responsibilities to focusing on future of ethanol. Must be a big need.

 

So, ethanol steady growth and user experience will gradually disarm public. Realize most of the country has little experience of the fuel. Others have been using E10, unknowingly and only recently concerned of this “new” fuel. The debate got re-energized when pushing through E15 as the months of anticipation made it possible to grow groundswell opposition. This is better in long run as the air will clear quicker, at least with good short term debates. Should have been a quick o.k. from regulators as tons of real life data upon the planet. Think they drag feet to feather bed job security and growth? Guess, to much importance and limelight shining to act quickly. Best to puff ones self up when holding the reins. IMHO, they shouldn’t be in control of such decisions, just advisement. Once the science and testing appears o.k. it’s up to supplier and retail to inform public and devise plans best suited to meet state requirements and customer wants, probably pump by pump. Why do we currently make things so difficult?

 

Currently public not informed of practicalities of investment costs, production hurdles, and time frame of competing fuel choices. That’s why unbiased organizations parse it all for quick Consumer Reports -ing summary. How could that go astray? Guess that’s why we need business to take risks and present solutions to consumers and do so with max attention to cost of money investment. They attempt to offer desirable bait to earn and payoff expenses. I’d rather have choice of bait then penalty of law choice.

 

So many ways to offer a leg up for ethanol and do so with low costs. May the political money floating about crimp decision making to always compromise once good solutions? Not that anyone could dispute the assumptions per indirect land use formulas. How about changing the E85 warning label…to no label and legislate the lawyer feed trough out of the mix? Wouldn’t hurt to ease up on regulations either as ethanol is less dangerous. Maybe, improve image per fair mileage ratings or improve image per allowances to automotive to pump up efficient E85 engine technology. How about taking away incentive to apply flex fuel technology first to low mileage older tech engines?

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You can have a vehicle which gets you 200 miles per gallon.

 

If you don't know how to drive (but believe you are a better driver than anyone), it is all worthless.

 

So I always questions "test drives". It seems the main thing on peoples mind here is "how much power, how fast". Very limited, like the edition of some cars (which are widely available).

 

Every single day, no exceptions, I see the drivers here doing 0 to 60 (probably to make it to the drive-thru) and then slam to stop at the next red light.

 

Yes, sometimes, just sometimes they arrive before me. The actually get out of the car while I still pull into the parking spot.

 

Results: My gas mileage/wear & tear on vehicle/personal feeling: Great.

 

I can make it to work without touching my brake pedal once (if I back into my place the night before).

 

And, thanks to E85, I do it all green!

 

Greetings!

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very true... often times I'm coming up on a "stale green" light... that is just about to turn yellow, then red by the time I'd get there...  I simply stop accelerating, and coast up to the light by about the time it would turn back to green...

 

The idiot that flew by me, only to slam on the breaks, and wait for it to turn... ended up having to floor it to get back up to 60....  I simply had to slowly work my way up from 30 to 60...

 

No wearing on breaks, no wasted acceleration, gains from coasting...

 

Plus I get to laugh (at him) while he fumes (at the lights and slow drivers...)... we both get to work in the same time.

 

My car lasts longer, and my pocketbook is fuller! ;D

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And then you have the real brainiacs who tell you that you drive like a grandfather.

 

Besides it is not true nor accurate, I rather drive like a grandfather than an idiot. Excuse my language.  :P

 

Greetings!

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And then you have the real brainiacs who tell you that you drive like a grandfather.

 

Besides it is not true nor accurate, I rather drive like a grandfather than an idiot. Excuse my language.  :P

 

Greetings!

Very true. If you drive smart, you can save money. I am going on 82,000 on my original brake pads. I coast up to stop signs (in nuetral even) as well, unless I am stoplight to stoplight driving in town. In that case, I accelerate slowly never letting the RPM's go over 1500. I also use my cruise control all the time for long stretches of road. (I have a heavy foot)

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