E10, The Fools Fuel?

Posted: 23/01/2009 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

I’ve been off for a few days, but I’ve still been tracking some of the happenings around Maine. Particularly the issue of E10 as we now have it available state-wide, or pretty darn close to it by now. I had mentioned a price hike of 5% by the end of the second week of January, and pretty near hit it dead on for a change. I fill up at the same location every Friday, and the price from when I made the prediction went from $1.639 per gallon for 87 octane up to $1.759 per gallon, a .12 cent increase, or about 7.5%, rounding off to the nearest penny.

But that’s OK because the drop in mileage helps to take the bite out of the pricing increase. I’ve lost about 2 ½ miles per gallon on average. But what makes it even easier to bear is that fuel blended with alcohol isn’t even mandatory in Maine. Figger that one out, pardner! So why the hell are we even getting stuck with this water as gas fuel product?

Ostensibly, the reasoning behind blended fuel use is to introduce an oxygenate into the fire and reduce noxious and toxic emissions from your tailpipe. I’m all for that, but really, this isn’t the way to go at all. If just adding an oxygenate to your gas would do the trick, why then do they not eliminate 87 octane fuel, and just allow the hi-test to be sold, which has a higher octane rating of 89 or so? But that’s not really the true reason for watering down the whiskey now, is it?

You see, we’ve all been scammed by the UN and their favorite global catastrophe mouthpiece, comrade Gore. We have had the myth that global warming is caused by mans needless use of fossil fuels, and the only way to reduce the nasty CO2 emissions is to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels. Not gonna happen anytime soon folks. We need oil and coal, whether we like it or not. And petroleum based fuels are the most efficient fuels on this planet to date. Except maybe for nuclear power, but who wants to drive around with a nuclear reactor under the hood?

There are some basic problems with using a blended fuel at the current ratio allowed, which is the E10 blend, or ten percent alcohol and ninety percent gasoline. Actually, the problems are so severe that while some aircraft are allowed to operate on automobile grade fuel, all aircraft are prohibited from using fuels with alcohol as a blending agent. A sputtering car on the turnpike is bad enough, but just imagine a sputtering airplane at 10,000 feet! And sputter they do. Newer cars are of course engineered for alcohol blended fuel, but older ones, like mine are not. So I either have to plunk down a huge wad of lucre for a newer model, or be punished for not being able to afford to do so.

I have lost a lot of the oomph when starting from a dead start, especially on the really cold days. It’s that noticeable. But let’s take a look at a document that tells us exactly what kinds of problems to expect;

  1. The addition of alcohol to automobile gasoline adversely affects the volatility of the fuel, which could cause vapor lock.
  2. ·Alcohol present in automobile gasoline is corrosive and not compatible with the rubber seals and other materials used in aircraft, which could lead to fuel system deterioration and malfunction.
  3. ·Alcohol present in automobile gasoline is subject to phase separation, which happens when the fuel is cooled as a result of the aircraft’s climbing to higher altitude. When the alcohol separates from the gasoline, it may carry water that has been held in solution and that cannot be handled by the sediment bowl.
This is from the FAA’s bulletin CE-07-06 titled Special Airworthiness information Bulletin. Again, alcohol blended auto fuel is prohibited from use in aircraft. So why is it OK for your car? The stuff is corrosive, decreases volatility, causes phase separation in increasing severity as the temperature decreases, (perfect for when it gets below zero) and has a hard time being handled by the filters on your car. Are we that stupid as a nation that we let these political flunkies tell us what to do? Apparently so.

The biggest reason we are forced to use E10 in Maine is due to the passage in 2005 of the Energy Policy Act which mandated an increase in renewable fuels. Sort of a fools fuel, because once you consume a fuel, how can you renew it? You can’t, so what they are really talking about is not actually a renewable fuel, but a renewable source for that fuel. Enter the bio-fuel market, stage left. The nation met this mandate by introducing 4 billion gallons of ethanol into the stream in 2006, and another 9 billion gallons in 2007. But like I said, Maine is not required to use ethanol, so why are we?

We are using ethanol because we are under a federal mandate to add an oxygenate to our gasoline, which ethanol does, and is. We had banned MBTE as an additive as we discovered that it does not get consumed in our motors, and was found in increasing levels in some groundwater sources in Maine. Question here is since MBTE is a known carcinogen, why was it used in the first place? goes back to the are we that stupid question, I guess.

Why is it so important to use ethanol? Check this out from the state of Maine webpage here; Maine Public Law 650 provides a state fuel tax incentive of 1 cent per gallon of E-10. A federal tax incentive for refiners and distributors exists for certain gasoline blends of ethanol (in the case of E-10 the “blenders credit is 5.1 ¢ per gallon of ethanol) , and has created an industry incentive to use higher volumes of ethanol;…

So to bring this discussion home, we find that overall, E10 has 3% fewer BTUs or so, which reduces our mileage and performance by a like amount. Hence the lower number of miles per gallon. If you have a gasoline powered engine from before 1980 you should seriously think about changing your plans for running it with blended fuel. It will cause some damage to your rubber O rings, gaskets and so on. It will also cause corrosion in steel, and especially aluminum tanks and fuel lines. Don’t even think about putting it into a fiberglass tank from what I have heard. Also plan on frequent fuel filter changes.

All that adds to the cost of running your engine, thanks to special interests in Washington getting preferential treatment. And tax breaks to boot. The problems are in fact bad enough that the state of Maine requires storage tank owners to inspect and replace their equipment if it is not compatible for use with ethanol. Adds to the cost of saving us from global warming that isn’t, doesn’t it? We give the producers of ethanol tax breaks and subsidize their operations, and they make us pay more for the use of that fuel. Makes a whole lot of sense to someone, but not to me.


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