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This might be ethanol's sales crux. We understand automotive is highly regulated and as were told their engineering force primary mission is to comply with hurdles beset them by safety and environment departments of government.  Modern day, this is the primary responsibility and concern to stay in business. The days of invention to attract customer wants have many expensive layers to overcome before such an event can be accomplished. The legal, quality, environmental, and safety approval process is indeed full of IEDs that always maximize company risk and liability. So, that being said, true innovation that could lead to disruptive path to improve cost, mpg, or pollution will go to wayside as it's not safe. I will put the opposed piston engine in this category as well as ethanol optimize engine. That is sad, because both need or do exceptionally well with ethanol fuel. The path set forward by automotive technology is designed by EPA regs. They sit at the control seat to evaluate technology, fuels, technology, upon entire vehicle sector and do so upon their terms. Sure a comment period, but they have the power and control per environmental law bestowed them. You have to understand the above to know what's going on with ethanol fuel popularity with consumers and automotive desire to manufacture efficient E85 vehicles.

Problem number one for consuming public is ethanol is bad image of poor fuel mileage. We scratch own heads as we review positive test reports and design criteria and experience no movement within vehicle sales to accomplish or capture the easy gains for ethanol improved mileage. The CAFE standards are the driving force for this lack of movement and rule book for light duty technology investment. It's not a simple rule book to pump up efficiency, nor to decrease environmental harm. It is devilishly complicated and bristling in incentives that favor certain technologies and penalize others. For example no penalty for high carbon diesel fuel and no incentive for using low carbon ethanol fuel. Of course this will push more vehicles to diesel. The regulation result will actually hurt the environment, so whats going on here? The CAFE is so onerous that each model car must be calculated separably through a filter of regs. Start stop, grill shutters, refrigerant, high efficiency lights, solar roof panels, electric heat pumps, wheel base factors, etc. You can receive a doubling factor if fuel cell or 1.6x if you adapt plug in technology. Meanwhile automotive companies must present data for increased E85 use to gain any benefit of FFV sales. CAFE standards increase year to year and present a plan of action to automotive companies on how to jump through hoops to stay in business. By 2025 standards, radical changes will result as just adding a few more gears and turbo won't cut it. Of course automotive is putting everything they have to BEV and hydrogen fuel cell as that is the path set before them. They have already ran past anything ethanol for a solution and will just warrant some high volume low mileage models for E85 fuel use and harvest the 8 mpg CAFE benefit. This would present them with best ROI for their trouble. This is if the Rand Paul Act did pass making it possible, other wise no benefit whatsoever to go through the expense and trouble.  

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   So.. what is next ...  a tax on carbon??    Proof that you are charging your BEV with solar or wind ( to escape the tax).

 

  How about a CAFE category called "experimental" for those willing to try something WAY outside the box?  Just prove that you

 

  pass IM240 ( or similar ) emission test, annually.

 

  

    What would be the chances of an upstart company trying to exploit ALL of these high efficiency - low carbon technologies

 

 to complete a  E85 ( or E98 ) capable PHEV that offers 999+ mile range and ~100 mpg while on the pony powerplant?

 

  Better yet,  based out of CA -- and be compliant with LCFS and using 2nd or 3rd generation ethanol feedstock..  sourced in CA.

 

 The upstart company quickly gains traction as  carbon tax becomes a reality.  Maybe even a takeover target by some large

 

 automotive group from Detroit...   Very few could afford the pricetag,  but here you would have everything in one, neat package.

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My guess carbon tax would push BEV or fuel cell technology even more as they don't allocate any emissions to those. It's funny to think in terms of coal power plant generation of electricity as compared to E85 running a on board auto generator. Both power the car and probably run at the same efficiency except the grid will lower efficiency 7-9%. Which one pollutes the least? EPA claims the coal powered vehicle. Which vehicle uses the least abusive to environment mining resources of rare earth metals and fuel? Which one utilizes renewable energy that benefits the energy security quotient of future? Which one is at the ready to make immediate inroads to benefit environment upon large scale? Which one requires the least expensive change to infrastructure? To consumer habits? Which fuel is rapidly improving carbon rating and utilizes the biological world to achieve synergy of biologics that are trending to negative carbon rating. Which fuel would promote much wealth generation to the poorest of countries and do so at larger scale and prevent their long term indebtedness? Which fuel would present the least cost scenario to automotive investment and come to pass affordable vehicles for average wealth citizens? Really, upon real market considerations nothing makes sense in much of EPA regulated path. They are on the path of subjective desire or fanciful rationalizing. They utilize random factoring, imagined damages and benefits to put nation on course per authority granted them to pass law on commercial activity that involves CO2. This is always the problem with top down decision making as it bypasses the subtle intelligence of mass market of invested crew of consumers and producers. This should not be political and if so a sad state of affairs. Think of simplicity of positioning environmental law making where Constitution dictates...Congress. They would need to put in place law that was sensible to needs of voters, first. Then they would only be able to function with general guidelines and mandates to fuel supply and transportation i.e. decrease carbon emissions on agreed upon rate for future. They really don't care if its BEV, more efficient ICE, or bicycles. EPA department would be utilized as department of environmental science and accountants to track, trend, and rate most damaging elements to work on.   

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What Greengenes post of improving plight of ethanol fuel and advances in auto manufactures to make it happen. Your point of exempting new technology is spot on. EPA authority is organised in U.S. to regulate every manufacturer product no matter how low sales volume nor how low polluting. Europe's EPA isn't so anal in regards to high MPG vehicles as the pollution stream is nothing to be concerned with as viewed in practical terms. This attitude thwarts the normal bureaucratic bloat and tax payer waste. IOWs separating the fly poop from pepper is wasteful. As you say the new technology low volume sales should be afforded simple inexpensive regs as this would maximize ability of the new technology to progress.

The 1 Psi exemption, if passed, will help the sales of E15. Ethanol process plants that set up E85 blending facilities and invest in direct supply to retail will definitely be in better position to compete. Blender pump installs within the accepting independent gas station owner ranks will be a very positive sales driving force. And long shot, if engine manufactures such as Cummings decide to invest in E85 per suitability of the high torque and their sales in such. Many light duty trucks carry specialty engines and most of the heavy duty market. Industry analysis believe even light vehicle market will trend to purchase components per their specs to achieve better quality and lower costs. They would shadow the heavy truck industry that per economic reasons forced to share suppliers of engines, transmissions, axles, etc. It would be nice to spec out a Cummins E85 engine for next vehicle buy. 

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The Calf EPA affords a negative factor to corn ethanol per indirect land use assumption that in theory would displace forest land or jungle within international community of which U.S. farmers have no control. Their assumption is just a WAG and not scientific factual based. The actual data disproves the assumption, but the theory and imagination of the problem continues to warrant concern (in their minds) per potential growth of the fuel. It is interesting the agency rates Brazil ethanol above U.S. as Brazil historically experience decreasing jungle land. Another problem with burdening ethanol with the imagined damage to environment is the evaluations of life cycle carbon efficiency of forest land vs cellulosic feed stock such as miscanthus grass. More good can come from harvesting and use of very productive carbon conversion plant of miscanthus. Also, one must credit ethanol planting or penalize forest land per the always present fire damage, insect damage, and rotting wood. I never heard of farm field fire, but even in such event of poor crop year the plantings are valuable for feed and soil contribution. Each year is a new cycle.

We need to ask ourselves why does ethanol get burden with imagined damage and not get credit from real value to environment within international community. The sum total of international vehicle fleet is wrought with old and polluting engines running on sub par fuel. Ethanol production will help clean up this large pool of emissions.

Edited by fleebut

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The EPA magical numbers game for mileage rating is just as phony. Most do not know the MPGe rating of EV car is just mere calculation of efficiency of electric motor. Sure it looks grand compared to traditional auto that does the lower efficient work of converting heat to energy. This the same duty of converting heat to generate electricity, but goes undetected per EV rating. What's strange about the EV rating, Energy Department had in place a realistic rating called well to wheel that leveled rating of traditional car with that fueled by the grid. Per political choice to promote EV and to make that choice shine brighter, the current executive pushed another easy calculation. So, a 96 MPGe looks terrific and motivates a buyer with environmental concerns with a wonderful environmental solution. Problem is the 96 MPGe is equivalent to 36 MPG car upon reality. Problem is the tradition fueled vehicle per alternative high blend ethanol fuel would trounce the EV that refuels mostly on older coal fired power plant. The car even trounces the CNG vehicle yet sits at the side with pure environmental and consumer benefit. In addition the fuel would trounce a heavy carbon fuel aka diesel upon a fair comparison. What is going on?

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