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How could ethanol improve it's image? Currently, we battle to defend, let alone improve ethanol image. Opponents win when sales motivated upon a defense of the fuel. Think of the fuel primary benefits being turned upside down. Cost, environment, jobs, economic, etc. Youth especially are susceptible to group influence in the facebook and twitter age and need to spout conventional wisdom to gain respect. They need fresh ideas (or old ones reinvented) to impress upon peers their wisdom and ignorance of older generations. Nothing new here, lol. My daughter are in this generation and often claim new found intelligence upon their generation and point to evils of mono culture and of the corn plant. It rings like a conspiracy to poison citizens, corporate greed, and capitalistic evil as compared to sashaying about with wine glass enjoying appreciative friendly organic gardening neighbors, good health, and easy lifestyle (Thank you Omnivores). The farmer has suffered upon pubic image. Just a few years back, (even on this site) ethanol suffer the conventional wisdom that corn was the stupidest feed stock ever for ethanol. I have a friend that talks of such concerns when attempting to make the family farm profitable for his son. Regulators enacting layers of expensive regs per public demands that think the farmers wholesale wrecking the environment and poisoning its customers. I sat on jury once with teacher whom basically hated country kids and felt they were renegades that think they could do as they please. She was all for cracking the legal whip and taking away any extra freedom that might be enjoyed. How to stem this tide? I would steer away form the corn images at the E85 pump. Publish and provide studies, facts, polls, human interest, personal testimony, for the news and media. Provide students and educators ample opportunity to entail experiments, contests, competition, assignments, kits, and to keep up on new technology. Utilize internet media to accomplish same. Provide stories of successful small generator of ethanol, engine conversions, and consumer benefits. This would be the Mother Earth organic gardening human interest side that is so attractive, especially to youth. Fight the corporate image of ethanol and farm owners that the opponents of ethanol try to stereotype. Make stories personal and enlightening. Utilize as much popularity energy as possible i.e. trends, actors. If selfies are the rage, offer contest to those with E85 signage in background. If U-tube fame offer same individual opportunity to do likewise with side benefit of "ethanol support". Racing is home run as we know. Same could ensue with university engineering competition of E85 mpg contest support by farm community. Offer media popular human interest stories of ethanol such as youth experiments or single parents making cost efficient choices. Instead of broad whole sale defense of the fuel, just offer one interesting drip or tid bit of fact and if done frequently will break the dam of conventional bias. I do think ethanol is winning the battle and that petrol competition is at a all time panic to strike as much damage to the ethanol image as possible and throw as much political influence to accomplish the same. The RFS and cellulosic fuel is a battle they don't want to lose. Another point probably hopelessly lost is the indirect land use and food vs fuel issue that is slippery and totally defenseless per subjective content and common belief. Public thinks their is a need for safety to limit or corner farming opportunity. This is similar thinking to forbidding exports of gasoline as we want cheap fuel or stop Ford from exporting autos just the juice to keep prices down and supply up. Just bad economic competence that always surfaces as poison if economy suffers. To this, it might be best to continue max public information of cellulosic and alternative feed stock for ethanol. Inform public that ethanol increase will not take more corn and starve citizens or destroy land. UW Madison genetic tree success for pulp feed stock or the Misanthus feed stock very interesting story to be told from all angles. Same with waste ethanol success.    

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Alot of good points fleebut. Everyone that is an advocate to the point of using ethanol fuels realizes, as do you, that corn ethanol is just as good as any. And the ag industry here developed a great way of making alcohol from it. Brazil is doing it with a product that they can grow that is not the same. And alot of other potential sources exist too. But we also know that all of the blantantly false but emotional arguments are either winning 1) Because nobody cares as long as they can afford gas, or 2) Nobody cares to look behind a purchased headline, or 3) People often live their liveds by I heard that, or I read thator My mechanic said that... blah blah blah makes me angry. I try and try and have had very few people put any credence in what I say and think I am nuts!  :angry:

 

Anyway, I agree, and in the last couple years some groups have put out factual studies, videos, and things to show truth and improve the image. Wherever we get a chance to share these on social media etc we can help. But I also agree that this image problem is the only reason that perople aren't more interested in running on alcohol. 

 

I think the industry does what they can... being so out-gunned in the information war. Maybe different bio material will help as we figure out how to efficiently turn it into alcohol, but the current industries, and us followers, will just keep chipping away at the BS.  :)

Edited by Steve-O

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Chipping away is a good. Persistent positive comments and probably a mistake to spend much time combating the attack as this works in favor of those whom want the public confused. Maybe just a quick retort on false accusation, then go on to say ethanol makes gasoline better for environment, consumer, and auto. The E15 stock car fuel really a positive image builder as we have learned that new better products come from that testing field. Offer up ethanol blended fuels gives the consumer choice and competition at the pump. Personal testimony of savings, mpg, and long life auto always good. The concern will fade if E15 can make its way per EPA exemption and consumers start choosing the lower cost fuel. They will start to look at ethanol as a good thing. Probably, the E85 was to big a jump for consumers to make. It did lower Mpg and isn't that bad for environment and savings? Besides the pump sits off by its own like kerosene. I don't think your supposed to use that fuel or it takes some sort of special car that can suffer the abuse. I remember the early adoption of self serve check outs and people unwilling to look foolish in front of the scanner. I would guess these same people would fear filling up on E85 as one will stick out doing so and probably be yelled at for using the wrong fuel. Petrol is attempting to convince politicians that switching E10 to E15 is dangerous if using the same dispense hose. You can't be to safe.

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Ethanol image got caught up within the organic food movement to eat local, etc. This was entwined with burgeoning supplement market and health blogs that ravaged farming practices. Nutrition, dieting, weight loss, cancer, wheat belly, pesticides, herbicides all targeted culprits with little science facts, but nonetheless farming suffered wholesale condemnation. Actually, I think the global warming added to the brouhaha as citizens started to believe corp U.S. destroying the country per profits. Ironically, the ethanol industry started per this same group and at first enthusiasm flooded their ranks, but it was a different ethanol. A fuel processed and consumed locally by small business aka organic farmers. They promoted easy low cost fuel that could be produced in garages utilizing low cost scraps, discards, cattail roots, etc. When corn started to show it's competitive teeth, environmentalist and petrol quickly dissed the ethanol solution, saying corn was the dumbest feed stock. Environmentalist looked to BEV solutions and actively dissuaded use of ethanol as a solution. Same with petrol that looked to motivate the growing movement to ideals of cellulosic hoping the challenge would fail or be much delayed competition. Don't underestimate the damage done per this mass bias. Just yesterday was talking to neighbor about sale of adjoining small farm property. We talked of land use and his comment was "anything would be better than corn". Average citizen has been indoctrinated that corn is evil, bad for environment, wrecks land, wrecks health, pollutes rivers, and aquifers. They think corn is a corrupt racket and unneeded. That land should be fallow to allow Mother Earth to do her magic and reclaim what man has destroyed. Also, they believe they are being poisoned by any spray that's emitted behind the tractor even dust is dangerous. GMO hybrids double down the angst. They have formed such a polar extreme position that no one could convince them of their error or that they are misguided. So, we should omit describing ethanol as corn ethanol. Take the corn images out of advertising as well as vast fields adrift in corn plantings. Focus on alternative feed stock success, helping small business, creating local jobs, waste ethanol success, technology and success within cellulosic. I would categorize cellulosic feed stock as waste and avoid claims or plans to utilize tree stock of any kind. Many citizens have a wholly unhealthy fanaticism upon the act of harvesting any growing tree. Even if to make the forest healthy, fire resistant, and increase growth. I believe the ethanol industry if so impugned will be quickly thought as a forest destroyer even though the vacant land was planted for such use. Their is no quick way to change public opinion (bias). We have to work with what we have and chip away at such stereotypes, but never attack them head on. If ever a business model could develop for small quantity generator of ethanol to dovetail with small organic garden model, well, public opinion would pivot to the fuel being awarded most friendly and desirable status. Maybe ethanol should support such undertakings per the generation human interest stories just to polish image. 

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That would work and bit of humor just the ticket. Successful ads often get a chuckle and attention from viewer. How about "E85 makes your car happy". The clear liquid, clean fuel, and consumer can relate back to a happy experience with food grade product. Nice. Follow up with rusty gunked up gasoline can with health warnings per inhalation and skin contact.   

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I've hit on a couple more negative sterotypes for ethanol. The phrase "natural land" is gaining traction. It protrays inerrant nature's beautification process inwhich anything man influenced would be labeled "unnatural", synthetic, ugly, and unstainable. So, the Land Bank which was for purpose of temporary set aside per farm practice overproduction, immediately enters the camp of natural land. If the land is put into production, for example, utilized for bio crops, opponents of biofuel can author reports to unwitting public of farmers tearing up natural land for crops. My personal observations, the land bank property is weed infested and sits without being crop land or planted to forest. Wildlife avoids the desert like condition. Only the heartest invasive specie of weed and brush grow upon poor soil. Also, the arm chair Environmentalist (ignorant) will post soft commonsense points of foolishiness of burning trees for energy or burning food crops for fuel. We have to realize opposing commonsense idioms i.e. "We shouldn't use food for fuel"- Ah, but it's o.k. to use fuel for food? Another, "it's just dumb to use trees for fuel". Reply; "about as dumb as not using using tree waste for fuel". We all know the reality of economics inwhich increase in demand will result in opportunies of wealth generation that are attractive incentives to improve ones talent and capability. This will lead to improvment in land utilization, productivity, sustainability, forest management, and go hand in hand with environmental desires including wildlife and quality of life. We have to be better custodians of the land and private citizens and small busisness of biofuel appears especially up to the task. We are educated or indoctrinated at a young age to view busisnessmen as shady opportunist that cut down virgin timber (steal resources) for profit. That is a horrible over simplification, that within lessons of history should only teach the error of bad foresty managment.

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Roosterk had a comment "Did a 200 mile day trip last month on E85, that tank was 26.5, I'd would have had to get 47 mpg with E0 that day to match $/mile" that got me thinking how this may be just the thinking to improve ethanol image. When EPA just throws out the mileage on flex vehicle sticker, it looks bad, especially when one knows the math for mileage just a simple calculation of btu. This info gets translatted accross all information sources and utilzed as comparitive worth of the fuel and flex vehicles themsleves. Not good! Compare that rating system with battery vehicles that get a simple btu equivalent mileage rating of electric motor efficiency. Not fair!

Compare this to wood stove efficiency rating system. It's similar wherein EPA utilizes a low cost (for them) rating system to wholsale apply sticker efficiency. It's just a symbolic rating upon general stove efficiency. But, EPA does allow this industry to self or manufacturer test stove for efficiency per accepted guidelines. So, most stove manufactuers do test and report on the sticker their findings if much greater than EPA rating. These high efficiency models stand out like a sore thumb and attract sales and praise. EPA should allow RFA or car manufacturers the same. Also, FFV should be rated on E85 equivalent MPG costs and or annual cost like appliances often rated. Example 24 mpg gasolline, 30 mpg ethanol cost equalent. Annual cost $1,656 or $1,325 E85. By using real mpg rating (per EPA guidelines) for comparison shopping of flex fuel vehicles, well, that would light a fire under manufactures to ramp up such ratings. It makes a lot of sense to me.     

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Do some surfing on ethanol and engine injectors, if you want to read a boatload of propaganda. Much bad info per promotion of business interest of the competing fuel and scare mongering per benefit of the fuel additive market. Also, blog authors like the subject to attract viewer ship as it’s hard to prove info and can be hyped. Most utilize subjective evidence or taking real fuel characteristics to the wrong conclusion. So, we receive advice that the ability of ethanol to absorb water is horrible. That the weak hydroscopic affinity of ethanol will soon ruin just about every metal part of the fuel system per reporting on general free water effects, but they leave out the fuel character of ethanol absorbing water for maintenance free water concerns. How does one solve water problems in fuel supply? Add more ethanol!  We receive advice that the detergent ability of ethanol will soon c

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-continuation of below post-  internet messing up

 

We receive advice that the detergent ability of ethanol will soon clog fuel system and wipe out injectors, but they don’t use the term “detergent” as that is a catch word to promote higher grades of gasoline. Missing is the info of gasoline need to have detergents to prevent the vary problems they attribute to ethanol. I guess ethanol has too much ability and the petrol detergents just right. They explain normal hazards of fuel injector failure per unclean fuel, clogs, rust in fuel, and corrosion of electric actuator and claim ethanol the prime suspect. Actually, per my reading of the subject the normal culprit of reduced performance and failure are the normal carbon buildup deposits upon the combustion chamber of which only petrol can produce. Here on E85 we have posts of mechanics that have personally attested to running E85 fuel, with pics of combustion chamber cleanliness. Per their experience and photo evidence shockingly clean. I’ve pulled engines apart during H.S. years and can attest to plain gasoline deposits of valves, pistons, and cylinder head. Even spark plugs would take a hit. Now, they have cleaned up gasoline and regulated much sulfur out of the fuel, but gasoline is the problem even modern day, not ethanol. So, the best defense is offense and the competition just took two strong points of ethanol and convinced public that these characteristics are bad. We shouldn’t shy away from ethanol’s ability to clean engine and solve water problems. Take back the strong points.     

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