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(Telegram)   Reporter waits at busy service area to interview E-85 buyers, leaves after three hours without spotting any   (telegram.com) divider line 106
    More: Fail, E-85, service areas, Massachusetts Turnpike, state Department of Transportation, cellulosic ethanol, Cumberland Farms, clean air laws, flex fuel  
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11454 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Jan 2013 at 6:02 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-01-05 05:17:42 PM  
My car ('12 Chevy Malibu) is a "Flex Fuel" car that can handle E-85.  I have yet to even find a station that sells it, much less have heard a compelling reason to switch from regular unleaded.

Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that...
 
2013-01-05 06:06:19 PM  

Winterlight: My car ('12 Chevy Malibu) is a "Flex Fuel" car that can handle E-85.  I have yet to even find a station that sells it, much less have heard a compelling reason to switch from regular unleaded.


You find a stash of hand sanitizer.
 
2013-01-05 06:07:25 PM  

Winterlight: My car ('12 Chevy Malibu) is a "Flex Fuel" car that can handle E-85.  I have yet to even find a station that sells it, much less have heard a compelling reason to switch from regular unleaded.

Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that...


A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh
 
2013-01-05 06:07:50 PM  
e85 and regular no-lead were the same price the last time i got gas (2 days ago) in West Michigan. I think of a compelling reason to use it if it is not significantly cheaper than unleaded gas. Even then, i'm not fond of the idea... Corn is food, not fuel...
 
2013-01-05 06:07:51 PM  
I have a '11 Holden Commodore SSV Redline, it uses flex fuel. Luckily I live around 10 minutes from one of the two petrol stations in Canberra that sell it. It gives me less mileage (less energy in ethanol) but its a lot cheaper to compensate. However I still buy it, as it gives me more midrange power. Can really feel it when pushing hard out of a corner. Give it a try.
 
2013-01-05 06:09:57 PM  
I'm no science talking dude, but depending on model, you get 15-30% less mpg with it. The cost is never 15-30% less so it's kinda worthless. But try getting a rental car that takes it, makes the fuel up before returning it cheaper.
 
2013-01-05 06:10:30 PM  

Mark Ratner: A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh


Cheaper if you suck at math, maybe.
 
2013-01-05 06:10:41 PM  
Less energy per volume than gasoline means significantly less miles per gallon and higher cost to the end user (even at the cheaper pump price). Edmunds test.
 
2013-01-05 06:11:21 PM  

Mark Ratner: Winterlight: My car ('12 Chevy Malibu) is a "Flex Fuel" car that can handle E-85.  I have yet to even find a station that sells it, much less have heard a compelling reason to switch from regular unleaded.

Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that...

A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh


Since Ethanol releases less energy then petrol when it's burned it's not necessarily cheaper per mile to use.
 
2013-01-05 06:12:52 PM  
I just bought a new car and if I see it I'll try it.
 
2013-01-05 06:13:40 PM  

twistofsin: Mark Ratner: Winterlight: My car ('12 Chevy Malibu) is a "Flex Fuel" car that can handle E-85.  I have yet to even find a station that sells it, much less have heard a compelling reason to switch from regular unleaded.

Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that...

A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh

Since Ethanol releases less energy then petrol when it's burned it's not necessarily cheaper per mile to use.


I'm pretty sure it's not in fact cheaper per mile (no sources, sorry). Also, ethanol from corn is a terrible idea that should be abandoned immediately.
 
2013-01-05 06:13:52 PM  

Mark Ratner: A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh


The closest station to me that sells E85 is two hours away. So, not really cheaper to drive that far for a tank of liquid corn.  And my car is just as compatible with regular unleaded.
 
2013-01-05 06:14:47 PM  
That.

Article had.

Far too.

Many para.

Graphs.
 
2013-01-05 06:14:47 PM  
Winterlight:
"Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that..."


I just got handicap plates. Same result.

/But I did have to have a double hip joint replacement first.
//That hurt a little bit
 
2013-01-05 06:16:40 PM  

Raithun: Mark Ratner: A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh

Cheaper if you suck at math, maybe.


Well, the article says it was cheaper at that particular gas station. I didn't know you'd get less mpg, as others are saying.
 
2013-01-05 06:16:55 PM  

whipbambucket: Corn is food, not fuel...


Genetically modified corn may not be suitable as food...
 
2013-01-05 06:17:09 PM  
this stuff is for liberal prius drivers who suck at math and science (global warmers)
 
2013-01-05 06:18:28 PM  
Ethanol contains water and has a significantly lower energy density than real gasoline, therefore any mixture of it in internal combustion engine fuel sucks ass.
 
2013-01-05 06:18:53 PM  

Mark Ratner: Winterlight: My car ('12 Chevy Malibu) is a "Flex Fuel" car that can handle E-85.  I have yet to even find a station that sells it, much less have heard a compelling reason to switch from regular unleaded.

Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that...

A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh


Except that generally it's not cheaper. Because you only get 80% to 85% the mileage with e85 it needs to be 80% to 85% the price for it to be worth buying.
 
2013-01-05 06:19:06 PM  
I'm pretty sure it's not in fact cheaper per mile (no sources, sorry). Also, ethanol from corn is a terrible idea that should be abandoned immediately.

This, the production of the corn needed for distillery wastes more energy in fertilizer production (Haber Bosch) than does regular gasoline harvest, transport, and refinement. It also wastes water, land, and transport that would be better used for food purposes (if agricultural at all). The only reason it's becoming common is because of the corn lobby.
 
2013-01-05 06:19:09 PM  

HumanBeingsSuck: whipbambucket: Corn is food, not fuel...

Genetically modified corn may not be suitable as food...


Corn is horrible crop that wrecks havoc on the soil.
 
2013-01-05 06:19:36 PM  

Winterlight: Mark Ratner: A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh

The closest station to me that sells E85 is two hours away. So, not really cheaper to drive that far for a tank of liquid corn.  And my car is just as compatible with regular unleaded.


I have yet to see any gas stations around me that sell it either.
 
2013-01-05 06:20:17 PM  
IIRC, the reduced energy content is something like a third less energy than regular gasoline.

My Grand Cherokee is E85 compatible, there's even a few places where I can buy it nearby. I've never once done it. It would need to be at least a third cheaper (it's not... last time I noticed, it was MORE expensive), and even then I'd be stopping for fuel more often.

So yeah, not too interested.
 
2013-01-05 06:23:08 PM  

Strangerarranger: Winterlight:
"Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that..."

I just got handicap plates. Same result.

/But I did have to have a double hip joint replacement first.
//That hurt a little bit


Yeesh. The lengths some people will go, just to get a good parking space.
 
2013-01-05 06:24:06 PM  

juvandy: I'm pretty sure it's not in fact cheaper per mile (no sources, sorry). Also, ethanol from corn is a terrible idea that should be abandoned immediately.

This, the production of the corn needed for distillery wastes more energy in fertilizer production (Haber Bosch) than does regular gasoline harvest, transport, and refinement. It also wastes water, land, and transport that would be better used for food purposes (if agricultural at all). The only reason it's becoming common is because of the corn lobby.


I think this needs to be repeated.

It won't affect anything, but whatever - the more people think about what we as a country are subsidizing and endorsing, the better.
 
2013-01-05 06:24:20 PM  
FTA : It is also less expensive than traditional gasoline. E-85 fuel was $3.29 per gallon on the turnpike Friday, compared to $3.53 per gallon for regular unleaded gas

I'm going to assume that the mileage achieved is exactly the same with either fuel and that there are no taxpayer subsidies bieng thrown at the cost of production of E-85, because neither of those things were mentioned in TFA.
 
2013-01-05 06:27:21 PM  
Small town in Iowa here with 2 E-85 pumps. Don't own a flexfuel vehicle though.
 
2013-01-05 06:27:55 PM  
E85 is one of those ideas that seems really good to someone on some energy policy committee who doesn't actually have any personal interest in it.There's a whole "the public will buy this because we told them it's better" hubris aspect to it. Of course in practice, your average people are not going to spend more money on less gas mileage all while increasing their grocery bills just because some eco-zealot really really really wants them to.
 
2013-01-05 06:30:59 PM  
Single E-85 pumps are at the westbound service station in Charlton, which has sold 16,000 gallons to date; eastbound in Charlton, where 15,400 gallons have been sold; and westbound in Westboro, where 11,000 gallons have been sold, according to state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Sara Lavoie.


And is that a lot? A little? Some comparison to sales of normal gasoline would be nice for context, Mr. Journalist.
 
2013-01-05 06:33:04 PM  
10% cheaper vs 30% less fuel efficiency. Hmmmm....
 
2013-01-05 06:34:21 PM  

taurusowner: E85 is one of those ideas that seems really good to someone on some energy policy committee who doesn't actually have any personal interest in it.There's a whole "the public will buy this because we told them it's better" hubris aspect to it. Of course in practice, your average people are not going to spend more money on less gas mileage all while increasing their grocery bills just because some eco-zealot really really really wants them to.


It would be a better use of money to market some higher-mileage vehicles to people, actually.
 
2013-01-05 06:34:23 PM  

taurusowner: E85 is one of those ideas that seems really good to someone on some energy policy committee who doesn't actually have any personal interest in it.There's a whole "the public will buy this because we told them it's better" hubris aspect to it. Of course in practice, your average people are not going to spend more money on less gas mileage all while increasing their grocery bills just because some eco-zealot really really really wants them to.


It looks really good to someone that doesn't actively think about it. "Green" and "renewable" aren't necessarily automatically better. One needs to consider what goes into production, how it's funded, and what can be redeemed from its purchase. Basically, it doesn't make sense and is a terrible idea, financially and environmentally. People that endorse it are easily led morons that can't logically think through what's presented to them.

Caveat: I'm about as eco-zealot as they come. I compost, garden, reuse plastic bags, hypermile in my compact manual, keep the heat low, don't use AC, etc. I still think this corn based ethanol is a stupidly terrible idea - it's an accident of history, derived from the subsidies the US government has given the corn industry. It makes no scientific sense

What has been done in Brazil, with cane ethanol, is a much better idea
 
2013-01-05 06:35:25 PM  

Uranus Is Huge!: 10% cheaper vs 30% less fuel efficiency. Hmmmm....


But... but... saving the planet!
 
2013-01-05 06:37:06 PM  
just because some eco-zealot really really really wants them to.

That's the hypocrisy here- E85 and other ethanol fuels waste more fossil fuel energy than they replace. Even though they technically burn "cleaner" (whatever that means because they still produce CO2, and due to being less efficient than gas could produce more CO2 per mile than gas), they still require the consumption of fossil fuel energy to produce because the fertilizer used is produced via artificial means that is very energy-intensive (haber bosch). As I said before, ethanol fuels also ruin millions of acres of habitat that have to be maintained for corn agriculture.

E85 and other ethanol fuels HURT the environment, and do so far more than burning gasoline. The eco folks who promote it are either completely misinformed idiots (which is possible), or are in the pockets of the corn lobby, like Monsanto, who are making a killing through government subsidies and the push to switch to corn as a means to get off mid-east oil (which, again, is BS because you need fossil fuels to produce the fertilizers).

Ethanol fuels are a massive SCAM. Nothing more, nothing less. Even if you have an E85 vehicle, NEVER buy this stuff.
 
2013-01-05 06:39:20 PM  
we decided to turn the test into a 667-mile round trip between San Diego and Las Vegas, the next closest E85 source.

Fail, test invalidated.

The elevation of San Diego is 72-400 feet, the elevation of Vegas is around 2000 feet.

Your trip to Vegas is overall an uphill climb, your trip to San Diego, downhill.

To do an accurate test, you have to drive to Vegas and back TWICE!

Our preliminary E85 fuel economy estimates came out 20-25 percent lower than the Tahoe's 15 mpg city/21 mpg highway rating on gasoline. Reaching Las Vegas on a single tank of E85 looked doubtful. To avoid being stranded in the desert, we took along six gallons of E85 in plastic gas cans.

Hell, it's hard to find a REGULAR gas station between here and Vegas. I forgot to fill up once before driving back to SD (distracted by woman drama) and almost ran out on the way. Had my warning light on, pulled into a what looked like a gas station/convenience store then noticed that the pumps had no hoses, the convenience store had no products, and it just had a slack jawed yokel sitting around. Had to go a few more miles to get to a legit station (that was charging a $2 over premium for gas), I threw in a $40, got back to San Diego, then had to go get more gas the following day.

// WTF, if your gas station isn't operational, how about you cover your damn signs?
 
2013-01-05 06:40:45 PM  

TomD9938: FTA : It is also less expensive than traditional gasoline. E-85 fuel was $3.29 per gallon on the turnpike Friday, compared to $3.53 per gallon for regular unleaded gas

I'm going to assume that the mileage achieved is exactly the same with either fuel and that there are no taxpayer subsidies bieng thrown at the cost of production of E-85, because neither of those things were mentioned in TFA.


Yeah, that was a pretty bad omission by the author.
 
2013-01-05 06:40:48 PM  
We had a chain in Wisconsin that emphasized selling E-85. It's closed. ("Renew," it was called.) I had a flex-fuel Taurus; it actually ran pretty well although the mileage wasn't as good. Another chain has e-85 at about a third of its newer stores.
 
2013-01-05 06:41:35 PM  
NoboruWatanabe : What has been done in Brazil, with cane ethanol, is a much better idea

Cane doesn't grow well up here, so they used corn instead.

The way I see it, there's no point to this now, but as gas becomes scarce, the price difference will change a lot and the E85 will then be worth it. And by then, the infrastructure will be in place for it.
 
2013-01-05 06:41:52 PM  
Why the heck would you put it at the Charlton rest stops... I could maybe see the Westboro one, right as people get on the Pike after getting off of 495. But the Charlton ones are relatively dead. Why not put it at a busier one, like the westbound Framingham one, or the eastbound Natick one?
 
2013-01-05 06:42:50 PM  

juvandy: Ethanol fuels are a massive SCAM. Nothing more, nothing less. Even if you have an E85 vehicle, NEVER buy this stuff.


Every point you make is very true, but I'm not sure I'd call it a scam. It's much less sinister, but no less damaging. Corn subsidy in this country has been huge since before ethanol production. The corn lobby is staggeringly massive. What better way to continue receiving subsidy than to promote yourself as the solution to the environment's problems?
 
2013-01-05 06:47:31 PM  
Pffft... ethanol is for suckers.

Best way to save money is putting the dyed agricultural gas in your car.
 
2013-01-05 06:48:41 PM  
A product no one wants, I thought the new cars had really low emissions now.
Kick this can down the road for another fifty years.
 
2013-01-05 06:51:42 PM  

lordargent: NoboruWatanabe : What has been done in Brazil, with cane ethanol, is a much better idea

Cane doesn't grow well up here, so they used corn instead.

The way I see it, there's no point to this now, but as gas becomes scarce, the price difference will change a lot and the E85 will then be worth it. And by then, the infrastructure will be in place for it.


The infrastructure for corn ethanol will be in place, yes. As fossil fuels become scarce, the necessary resources for corn production on that scale will also deplete. In this situation one needs to consider the energy input and output rather than the physical supply input and output.

I'm not saying that E-85 is a bad idea, I'm saying E-85 from corn is a bad idea. A very bad idea. The energy balance doesn't work - it exists because of the US governments previous subsidies of the corn industry, not because it's a good idea based on scientific principles.
 
2013-01-05 06:51:50 PM  

Mark Ratner: Winterlight: My car ('12 Chevy Malibu) is a "Flex Fuel" car that can handle E-85.  I have yet to even find a station that sells it, much less have heard a compelling reason to switch from regular unleaded.

Though it does mean I can park in the "LEV" spaces at Whole Foods. So there's that...

A compelling reason could be it's cheaper and compatible with your car. Duh


Not really when you factor in that the vehicle gets worse mpg while using E85. Not to mention the damage that can be done to fuel systems over long uses. The local Chevy dealer Service Manager and multiple technicians strongly urged me to to put it in my truck when I asked if it was true that E85 netted a little higher Horsepower (I tow a large camper). They did say you get a little extra Horsepower but it isn't worth it.
 
2013-01-05 06:53:20 PM  

Pray 4 Mojo: Pffft... ethanol is for suckers.

Best way to save money is putting the dyed agricultural gas in your car.


That's about as helpful as going #1 in your gas tank.
 
2013-01-05 06:57:07 PM  
Isn't the real story here that a reporter left the office?
 
2013-01-05 06:58:19 PM  

Britney Spear's Speculum: Pray 4 Mojo: Pffft... ethanol is for suckers.

Best way to save money is putting the dyed agricultural gas in your car.

That's about as helpful as going #1 in your gas tank.


Why's that? It's just regular gas... but cheaper!
 
2013-01-05 07:00:39 PM  
rlv.zcache.com
 
2013-01-05 07:01:31 PM  

lordargent: we decided to turn the test into a 667-mile round trip between San Diego and Las Vegas, the next closest E85 source.

Fail, test invalidated.The elevation of San Diego is 72-400 feet, the elevation of Vegas is around 2000 feet.Your trip to Vegas is overall an uphill climb, your trip to San Diego, downhill.To do an accurate test, you have to drive to Vegas and back TWICE!


It then says:

"The drive from San Diego to Las Vegas (a popular destination for many Southern Californians) was just over 333 miles one-way - within easy reach for the Tahoe running on gasoline with its 24-gallon tank. We would drive there and back on gasoline, then repeat the journey the next day on E85. "
 
2013-01-05 07:01:39 PM  
In this situation one needs to consider the energy input and output rather than the physical supply input and output.

This is where the scam comes in- it's easy for proponents to say "corn gets its energy from the sun", and therefore promote that it is a renewable resource. To be clear, the energy that goes into corn production is not to produce corn itself, but to produce the nitrogenous fertilizer necessary for corn plant growth. Like all plants, corn gets energy from the sun via photosynthesis, which is basically CO2 + water + sun = carbohydrates, which can then be distilled into ethanol. However, like all plants, corn also requires other nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorous, for the production of other organic chemicals, especially proteins and nucleic acids. Corn itself is a very greedy crop, and takes nitrogen out of soil very rapidly. Thus, the nitrogen is replaced with nitrogen-based fertilizers, which microbes break down into inorganic form (ammonium), that the plants can take up and turn into protein.

While nitrogen is a very common element (makes up about 70% of the atmosphere), fixing it into fertilizer form artificially (many microbes do it naturally, but slowly) is an energy-intensive process. I don't remember the exact figures, but the fossil fuel energy needed to produce enough fertilizer to produce one gallon of ethanol-based fuel is greater than the fossil fuel energy needed to produce one gallon of gasoline.
 
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