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gasisoutrageous

Chronicles of selling E85

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So I figured I'd dust this topic off after a while. I'll admit the advocacy has slowed down over the winter months, but I decided to do a bit is week.

 

Today, I went to a Kroger grocery store out on west Saginaw in Lansing. I saw 3 vehicles that were flex fuel filling up with tar sands. One was on the phone (didn't want to bother her), one left before I got there, and the final was not the one I should have spoken to. I asked him if he knows that it's flex fuel, and he said that he does NOT want to use the stuff. Even after I offered to do had math, he refused and said there was no need. He said that it runs rough in the winter, gets terrible mileage, and it causes him to change the oil more often - basically the exact opposite of what I've been experiencing. In fact, I'm nearing 11,000 miles since my last oil change, and the oil is STILL looking like it was just put in. My car is burning next to none of it. My maintenance costs continue to be lower than they are expected to be considering my car has 155,000 miles. My car has been excellent in the cold weather and snow, and I've reported numerous mileage numbers equivalent to gas numbers.

 

On Sunday however, it was a big boost when I spoke to a couple of drivers at the north Cedar Speedway in Old Town. One in an Impala had said he hasn't used E85 before, but at least had an open mind. He said that you usually want a price difference of 30% (which indicated he'd at least use E85 if it was cost effective for him). I told him that I could inform him of where to find E85 at $1/gallon below regular. Very intrigued, he asked "where"? I handed him a flyer, and he said that he'll have to check it out.

Another at the same station said he sometimes uses it. I told him he could use E85 in his Avalanche at $1/gallon below regular, and he too was quite interested. I referred him to the two J&H Marathon stores in the EL, and I also informed him that if he decided he didn't like he mileage with E85, he could always use E15 or E30 at the Lake Lansing (Carriage Hills) Marathon. I also informed him he could refer non flex fuel vehicles there for E15 too. He shook my hand.

 

Ever since they opened back in July, I have gone to the Old Town Speedway at least 2-4 times a week. I asked them recently if they've been selling much E85 at a 10¢ spread. One said that they have been selling less, and another (presumably the store manager), asked me why it had gone up so much. I informed her that futures in Chicago skyrocketed, and that Speedway was paying through the nose to get ethanol. When I went in today, I told her that wholesale fell 20 cents, so hopefully the price of E85 will fall soon. I also told her that I'm the ethanol guy, and I know almost everything about it that there is to know (though I'm learning more every day). I said if you ever want to know about it, just ask. She said she definitely will.

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Just a suggestion- do an oil analysis on 1) a fresh oil sample (unless the lab you send to has your brand/type already and 2) do an oil analysis on your 11,000 mile sample. Some engines (like Ford Taurus) will not put carbon into your oil and thus will not darken it- that is not an assurance that you are not building acids or silicon however. While I am guessing you are right because the extremely low sulfur content of E85 and clean burning will keep oil clean longer- it would still be wise to verify. I had customers sample and they were indeed getting longer life.

Still- also remember the worst (after leaking antifreeze) pollutant in oil is silicon (dirt/sand) from poor air filtration and this is far greater risk IF you spend any time on gravel roads.

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