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Old 12-09-2005, 09:18 AM
BlueOval5.0 BlueOval5.0 is offline
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Ethanol

I'm not sure if this has already been discussed and I'm too lazy to do a search.

I've seen the commericals with Mr. Ford speaking about hybrids and ethanol vehicles being offered to the market in upcoming years.

I also am aware of a small portion of the Midwest has access to ethanol as a fuel and/or flex fuel vehicles that can use either ethanol or gasoline.

Also, I've read some internet stuff that 90% of the vehicles built in Brazil are flex fuel and that for most of the year, ethanol is a cheaper source of fuel while gasoline is cheaper for about 3 months. Since the cars run on both types, the price determines what type you'll buy.

This leads to less fossil fuel consumption. I don't know the difference in fuel economy but I'd venture a guess that ethanol is less efficient. Also, I don't know about the pollution aspect of ethanol.

What I am wondering is, why don't we push the ethanol over hybrids? We have the ability to use our corn as a fuel. It will help out the farmers as well and the economy. It seems like a no brainer to me (less dependence on oil, cheaper prices, less pollution?, better for the economy, etc.). Am I missing something here?

I'd love to hear what you all have to say.

Eric
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Old 12-09-2005, 09:22 AM
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I know in the ranger the EPA labeled it 22hwy for gas and like 18hwy for E85.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:18 AM
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check out the alternative fuels forum, been hashed out back and forth many times there... for a little promo info, check out E85fuels.net
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:25 AM
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Manufacture of ethanol costs more engery going in than we get out. It is a politically correct solution but energy efficiency wise, you loose. Several South American states have been doing this for decades. They import less oil but they get less energy for the energy put in than they would get if they used gas.

When you take into account the cost of farming the land(tractors use fuel), growing the corn(fertilizer etc), making the alcohol etc, you wind up using more energy like gasoline, electricity etc to make the ethanol than it costs us to get gasoline. Someday, if oil becomes expensive enough the equation will tilt in favor of ethanol, but even at $3/g gas, it is still too energy wasteful to use alcohol.

About the only advantage of using ethanol for now is that 1) farmers love it, it is essentially a huge subsidy and 2)At least it is locally produced 3) treehuggers love it.

Much as the tree huggers hate petroleum, it is still the most cost effective solution to personal transportation fuel, that is why the gasoline and diesel engies are stil the most popular motive source for over 100 years. So we will be using petroleum at least for now. Let's hope for Fusion energy to takeoff one of these days, then we can tell OPEC to kiss our hineys.

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Old 12-09-2005, 10:42 AM
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Thanks for the quick responses and insight. I didn't realize we had an "alternative fuels" section on FTE. I guess you learn something everyday.

I'll be checking out the links you sent and also the info on the proper board.

Thanks,
Eric
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:44 AM
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Jim, lets not forget that the first engines (were a diesel design) ran on vegetable oil. Petroleum wasn't even thought of as a fuel until some genius in the refinery realized that the "gasoline" (a by-product of refining kerosene) would burn really well in an internal combustion engine.
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Old 12-09-2005, 10:54 AM
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Something to consider that usually isn't, is that not ONLY ethanol comes from the corn, we still get sweeteners, starches, and livestock feed as well as the ethanol, as a byproduct. Too many times I see the cost of production exclusively put it on the ethanol production, but never adjust for the other products being sold as well, effectively lowering the cost of the production. Also, engines designed to capitalize on ethanol's burning quality have been shown to improve mileage over their gasoline versions.
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Old 12-09-2005, 02:24 PM
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I'm sure at some point when we are nearing the end of fossil fuel use because we run out, ethanol will not only become the major replacement for gasoline but the cost of producing it will be profitable. By then we will be paying more than 5 bucks a gallon. It sure would be nice if someone could find an alternative energy source before then. As the price of gasoline goes ever higher more and more people will be working toward an alternative...
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Old 12-09-2005, 02:52 PM
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Another thing that corn is used for is the MAKEUP for your wifes. Comes from corn cobs.
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Old 12-09-2005, 05:03 PM
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See here:

http://www.journeytoforever.org/ethanol_energy.html
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Old 12-09-2005, 05:21 PM
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Noone has mentioned one of the major reasons that we fail to use hybrids and other sources rather than oil.

MAJOR POLITICAL POWER.

Ever wonder exactly why Kalifornia and Texas have so much political power???? Its the oil industry in both.

How many electoral votes do those two states contain?

That answer would be 89 between them. Thats a pretty big slug, when 270 is all that is needed.

Remember electoral votes are based on number of legislators. Every state has 2 senators, so the remainder of the 85 are congressional seats. Thats alot of political clout that the oil industry can try to buy.
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Old 12-10-2005, 04:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim henderson
Manufacture of ethanol costs more engery going in than we get out.
I may be incorrect, but doesn't the discovery of oil, transporting and refinement consume as much energy as what we get out of it?

I know pretty much all foods require more energy to be injected into them in various forms (as you mentioned fertilizers, transport etc.) than what you get out of it by eating.
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Old 12-10-2005, 06:31 AM
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One thing about this conversation that hasn't been mentioned is that ethanol is a renewable resourse where as gas one used is gone forever. No matter what you do - if it can't be renewed is is flat out gone. No matter that you may use more of the renewable resourse it is still using less dino fuel which won't run out in our lifetime but I'm looking at the futrure generations.
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigredtruckmi
One thing about this conversation that hasn't been mentioned is that ethanol is a renewable resourse where as gas one used is gone forever. No matter what you do - if it can't be renewed is flat out gone. No matter that you may use more of the renewable resourse it is still using less dino fuel which won't run out in our lifetime but I'm looking at the futrure generations.
That's a big thing, and it never seems to get enough emphasis in any of the ethanol debates (pro vs. con) I've ever come across.

Regarding the cost of producing ethanol from scratch, it has been steadily declining in recent years because of more and better R&D stemming from greater investment (both public and private) in it. This trend should continue.

And to expand on what whowey said about ethanol and politics, the biggest attraction of ethanol IMO is its genuine ability to help reduce the United States's gross reliance on foreign oil. I've stated it many times before: the US is a weaker nation, both home and abroad, because of our addiction to oil. I think that, aside from weapons of mass destruction, the biggest threat(s) to the liberty and democracy we cherish can be traced to this addiction. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that the more self-reliant we can become regarding the sources of our energy, the less we will have to be subjected to the whims and fanaticism of the rest of the oil-producing world..
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:47 AM
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You've got that one very right. If for some reason, our overseas imports of oil were to suddenly stop, we would have reserves here in the states, true, but not enough of it ready to go for use, and it would deplete faster than we can come up with something to replace it. Part of the strategy of our not using our own local oil is to wait out the tothers, so htat when the oil getts low, we still have some, but I say why wiat? Let's do it now, so that we have no way of getting cut off. Japan is in the same boat, if their importsd were to stop, they would be crippled. The reason I know there is oil still in these lands is from those who drilled the wells, found oil, and capped it. The oil is out there, but we aren't using it trying to play a waiting game. In the meantime, our government kisses the behinds of those who would love nothing more than to watch us die, but are making too much money off of us to let it happen yet.
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Old 12-10-2005, 09:47 AM
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