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Old 10 Jul 2006, 02:23 pm
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Default Ethanol-Laced Fuel

Does anyone know for certain how ethanol-laced gasoline (10%+) will affect our engines?
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Old 10 Jul 2006, 02:54 pm
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Well, ethanol has higher octane, but less energy than gasoline, so you'll have less chance of pinging, but will get a little less miles per gallon.
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Old 10 Jul 2006, 06:40 pm
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10% Ethanol Gasoline mixture is the normal fuel mixture for the summer operations of most refiners and has no ill effects to normal combustion engines. This is done mainly to make the engine run cleaner, by burning more carbon befor it exits the exhaust. The 10% Ethanol is a replacement for the fuel additive MTBE which has been outlawed in many states due to water table pollution. Ethanol replaces MTBE to increase the rate of combustion and increase octane rating as qs mentioned. I disagree with qs in that 10% Ethanol + Gasoline actually increases fuel economy since Ethanol acts as an accelerant making the combustion happen more quickly with more bang. Add this to a turbo and you will see even more benefit, since O2 is added into the mixture. Since Ethanol is basically fuel grade alcohol it has a cleaning property that can break down certain rubbers, plastics and oil, Ever use rubbing alcohol to clean electric parts. Since alcohol is a little more corrosive than gasoline it can break down certain o-rings and gaskets if they are not designed to withstand the effects of alcohol. This is why car manufacturers are now selling E85 compliant vehicles. The only difference with these engines is that all rubber, plastic, hoses, and oils used in these vehicles are ethanol compliant, meaning they won't deteriorate when you fill your gas tank up with E85 fuel.

So regular gasoline with 10% ethanol is fine and better for your PT, Ethanol has been found to actually clean parts out like your fuel filter and fuel injectors. Just don't go filling your tank up with E85 fuel, or you'll melt your hoses and injectors.
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Old 11 Jul 2006, 03:56 pm
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by strangelove
I disagree with qs in that 10% Ethanol + Gasoline actually increases fuel economy since Ethanol acts as an accelerant making the combustion happen more quickly with more bang.
"...Also, ethanol contains less energy than gas. That means drivers have to make more frequent trips to the pump. ..."
Quoted from:http://www.businessweek.com/technolo...519_225336.htm

From just one source. It is fact that Ethanol has less energy than gasoline, so mileage goes down. With 10% ethanol you may not notice, but with E85, you sure will...
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Old 11 Jul 2006, 07:05 pm
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Quote:
quote:With 10% ethanol you may not notice, but with E85, you sure will...
I agree with you in that Ethanol has less energy than gasoline when you compare to combustion of pure Ethanol versus pure Gasoline. But Ethanol burns more completely and at a faster rate, which makes it a good choice as an accelerant. By improving the cumbustion of 2.4 liters in the combustion chamber by adding a mixture of Gasoline, Ethanol and Oxygen, you will get a much more complete burn on every cycle compared to Gasoline and O2 alone. It's the combination of the three that improve efficiency, which gives you the bigger bang for the buck. I've seen first hand how this works during test trials at Chevron three years ago, so I would trust my own eyes before I trust an article written in Business Week.

E85 on the other hand is another story, 85% Ethanol + 25% gasoline, and I would think that this combination of fuel would have less combustion rate, but I don't know enough on the subjest to make a comment.
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Old 12 Jul 2006, 01:01 am
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There's a large article on E85 in the July '06 issue of Car & Driver talking about what it is, how it will or won't impact dependancy on foreign oil, how it impacts car manufacturer's CAFE ratings, etc. They also tested it compared to 87 octane in a Chevy Tahoe 4WD LT running a 5.3L V8 and 4 speed auto box. Acceleration times were almost identical with ever so slight an edge given to the E85 at the lower end of the acceleration runs. But the killer was fuel economy, which dropped by as much as 30% on the E85. On a test track at a steady speed of 30mph on 87 octane the Chevy got 25.7mpg (averaged over 3 runs) and on E85 it got 17.4mpg. Ouch!!! At 70mph fuel economy went from 16.0mpg for 87 octane to 11.4 on E85. Overall the use of E85 reduced driving range from 390 miles per tank to 290.

Now here's a kicker: even though E85 yields decidedly worse fuel economy, for Federal CAFE standards an automaker only need take into account the 15% that comes from gasoline! There's a weird little calculation that takes place, but the short of it is that automakers are incentivised to produce E85 compatible vehicles. Incentivised how? By selling cars and trucks that can run on E85 their fuel economy numbers are artificially inflated (whether the ultimate buyer uses E85 or not!) so the automakers overall CAFE numbers go up, and they avoid potentially huge fines.

GM has a campaign going to push their flex fuel vehicles (those that can run on either 87 octane or E85 - they apparently have 9 such) but nowhere do they tell potential buyers that their fuel economy will drop 25-30% if they run E85. And with the cost of E85 moving closer and closer to 87 octane, it just doesn't make any sense, economically, to use the E85.
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Old 12 Jul 2006, 09:04 am
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I read that Car & Driver article, and I should've looked for it online. The fact is that ethanol has less energy than gasoline - whether the fact is cited by business week or whomever - it is a FACT.
Consequently, to push a car that requires a certain amount of energy, you need more ethanol to do it than you would gasoline, so you get fewer miles per gallon on ethanol. I would think a car that was designed to run on 10% ethanol might actually do better if it had a higher compression ratio to take advantage to the octane boost ethanol provides.
Ethanol is being pushed by agricultural interests and politicians in corn states - if you don't believe me, then why are there high tariffs on ethanol from Brazil? I agree ethanol has benefits in reducing emissions, but so does Methanol (wood alcohol).
I would think excess corn would be better made into biodiesel, as diesels have higher efficiency to start with, and less energy is needed to make the corn oil than the further processing to make ethanol.
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Old 12 Jul 2006, 09:58 pm
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Totally agree with you QSD on the E85 issue, Ethanol does generate less power compared to Gasoline. This is why you see more Big Rig manufacturers like Volvo developing more bio diesel engines, Bio Diesel can be used immediately where the Ethanol market and technologies need to be developed and matured. It's only a matter of time until Ethanol becomes mainstream since the industry is moving in that direction already.

In the long view gasoline prices will still continue to climb (currently $75 a barrel). Market value puts gasoline in the $4.00 gallon range, the US gasoline market continues to be cheaper than other countries due to non sustainable government subsidies, price caps and oil market manipulation. When gas prices level out to meet world market prices that's when American's will really be shocked. Just look at the rate of increase gas prices have sky rocketed in the past three years. $2 in 2004, $2.50 2005, $3.00 2006. The US government can dump reserves on to the market to try to attempt to cap prices at the pump, but for how long? It's only time until the US oil market reaches world norm, and it's not big oil market manipulation, and it's not unrest in the middle east, it's just plain supply and demand. And demand worldwide for fossil fuels is growing.

Flex Fuel vehicles is just a reaction to that, weather these vehicles are powered by Ethanol derived from corn, sugarcane, soybean, wheat or corn husks etc. it really doesn't matter since vehicles in the near future are going to have to rely on alternatives to power them. As the Ethanol industry matures so will the technology and efficiencies mature. The flex fuel vehicles we see now are the transition technology from Gasoline to Ethanol, so it's expected that comparing mature gasoline combustion engines to the very first ethanol combustion engines is like comparing an adult to a baby. Right now it's easy to see the drawbacks of the Ethanol industry since it's so new to the scene. If we can let it mature like the Oil industry has, than in 5 years time the average person won't even be able to tell the difference between what they are using to fill their tank. And in five years time production of Ethanol will have streamlined to cost less than oil production. In the long run do you want your dollar going to an oil cartel like OPEC or would you rather your dollar help a farming industry in our own backyard? Every farming State in the US stands to benefit from increased Ethanol production, rail systems, smaller refiners, the list goes on. We as country need to see past the early shortcomings of Ethanol and see the long view of how this will benefit the entire country. Energy independence isn't just a catch phrase it's a necessity
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Old 14 Jul 2006, 09:32 am
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Brazil has become independent of foreign oil imports thru use of alcohol - but they had a government policy to do that. We need government that does what's right, not what they're paid to do.

There are 2 issues - use of petroleum and global warming - alcohol is a part of the solution to both of those.

Most experts now agree that petroleum production has peaked but demand keeps going up. Couple that with the fact that our importing oil sends money to some areas that hate us, and we clearly should be doing something to reduce our addiction to oil.
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nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."
Isaac Asimov"

'05 Limited Turbo Lite, (Silver, of course)4-wheel ABS, Sunroof, Spoiler. Mods: E&G Classic grill, K&N FIPK, BTG duals, rear lowered 1.5", LED washer lights, $20 catch can, Aoogah horn, Weatherflectors, Sunroof Deflector, Fuzzy Dice, rear logo flames, rear pinstripe graphic, Gen3 Taillights, rear sway bar, hood struts, Strut bar.
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Old 24 Jul 2006, 02:23 pm
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Just to reopen this topic.

Is it Morally Appropriate to use food crops (corn) to create fuels?
Shell doesn't think so:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20060706/...apore_shell_dc

http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006..._draws_a_b.php

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